After the disappearance of Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī, Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī went to Vṛndāvana.
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Vrndavana (CC Madhya, chapters 1 to 16)
In a temple of jewels in Vṛndāvana, underneath a desire tree, Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Govinda, served by Their most confidential associates, sit upon an effulgent throne. I offer my humble obeisances unto Them.
For six years of the last twenty-four, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu traveled all over India, from Jagannātha Purī to Bengal and from Cape Comorin to Vṛndāvana.
Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu then sent the two brothers Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī to Vraja. By His order, they went to Śrī Vṛndāvana-dhāma.
After going to Vṛndāvana, the brothers preached devotional service and discovered many places of pilgrimage. They specifically initiated the service of Madana-mohana and Govindajī.
Both Rūpa Gosvāmī and Sanātana Gosvāmī brought various scriptures to Vṛndāvana and collected the essence of these by compiling many scriptures on devotional service. In this way they delivered all rascals and fallen souls.
The Gosvāmīs carried out the preaching work of devotional service on the basis of an analytical study of all confidential Vedic literatures. This was in compliance with the order of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Thus one can understand the most confidential devotional service of Vṛndāvana.
This proves that bona fide devotional service is based on the conclusions of the Vedic literature. It is not based on the type of sentiment exhibited by the prākṛta-sahajiyās. The prākṛta-sahajiyās do not consult the Vedic literatures, and they are debauchees, woman-hunters and smokers of gañjā. Sometimes they give a theatrical performance and cry for the Lord with tears in their eyes. Of course, all scriptural conclusions are washed off by these tears. The prākṛta-sahajiyās do not realize that they are violating the orders of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who specifically said that to understand Vṛndāvana and the pastimes of Vṛndāvana one must have sufficient knowledge of the śāstras (Vedic literatures).
I shall therefore enumerate the chief books compiled by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. He has described the pastimes of Vṛndāvana in 100,000 verses.
Who can count the rest of the books (headed by the Laghu-bhāgavatāmṛta) written by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī? He has described the pastimes of Vṛndāvana in all of them.
The Vidagdha-mādhava is a drama of Lord Kṛṣṇa's pastimes in Vṛndāvana. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī finished this book in the year 1454 Śakābda (A.D. 1532). The first part of this drama is called veṇu-nāda-vilāsa, the second part manmatha-lekha, the third part rādhā-saṅga, the fourth part veṇu-haraṇa, the fifth part rādhā-prasādana, the sixth part śarad-vihāra, and the seventh and last part gaurī-vihāra.
Similarly, the Lalita-mādhava is a description of Kṛṣṇa's pastimes in Dvārakā. These pastimes were made into a drama, and the work was finished in the year 1459 Śakābda. The first part deals with festivities in the evening, the second with the killing of the Śaṅkhacūḍa, the third with maddened Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, the fourth with Rādhārāṇī’s proceeding toward Kṛṣṇa, the fifth with the achievement of Candrāvalī, the sixth with the achievement of Lalitā, the seventh with the meeting in Nava-vṛndāvana, the eighth with the enjoyment in Nava-vṛndāvana, the ninth with looking over pictures, and the tenth with complete satisfaction of the mind. Thus the entire drama is divided into ten parts.
Kṛṣṇa's pastimes are divided into two parts—manifest and unmanifest. For example, when Kṛṣṇa takes His birth within this material world, His pastimes are considered to be manifest. However, when He disappears, one should not think that He is finished, for His pastimes are going on in an unmanifest form. Varieties of humors, however, are enjoyed by the devotees and Lord Kṛṣṇa during His manifest pastimes. After all, His pastimes in Mathurā, Vṛndāvana and Dvārakā are eternal and are going on perpetually somewhere in some part of the universe.
The fourth Sandarbha is called Kṛṣṇa-sandarbha, and in this book Kṛṣṇa is proved to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There are discussions of Kṛṣṇa's pastimes and qualities, His superintendence of the puruṣa-avatāras, and so forth. The opinions of Śrīdhara Svāmī are corroborated. In each and every scripture, the supremacy of Kṛṣṇa is stressed. Baladeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa and other expansions of Kṛṣṇa are emanations of Mahā-Saṅkarṣaṇa. All the incarnations and expansions exist simultaneously in the body of Kṛṣṇa, who is described as two-handed. There are also descriptions of the Goloka planet, Vṛndāvana (the eternal place of Kṛṣṇa), the identity of Goloka and Vṛndāvana, the Yādavas and the cowherd boys (both eternal associates of Kṛṣṇa), the equality of the manifest and unmanifest pastimes, Śrī Kṛṣṇa's manifestation in Gokula, the queens of Dvārakā as expansions of the internal potency, and, superior to them, the superexcellent gopīs. There is also a list of the gopīs' names and a discussion of the topmost position of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.
The most famous and formidable transcendental literature is the book named Gopāla-campū. In this book the eternal pastimes of the Lord are established, and the transcendental mellows enjoyed in Vṛndāvana are completely described.
In his Anubhāṣya, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura gives the following information about the Gopāla-campū. The Gopāla-campū is divided into two parts. The first part is called the eastern wave, and the second part is called the northern wave. In the first part there are thirty-three supplications and in the second part thirty-seven supplications. In the first part, completed in 1510 Śakābda (A.D. 1588), the following subject matters are discussed: (1) Vṛndāvana and Goloka; (2) the killing of the Pūtanā demon, the gopīs' returning home under the instructions of mother Yaśodā, the bathing of Lord Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, snigdha-kaṇṭha and madhu-kaṇṭha; (3) the dream of mother Yaśodā; (4) the Janmāṣṭamī ceremony; (5) the meeting between Nanda Mahārāja and Vasudeva, and the killing of the Pūtanā demon; (6) the pastimes of awakening from bed, the deliverance of the demon Śakaṭa, and the name-giving ceremony; (7) the killing of the Tṛṇāvarta demon, Lord Kṛṣṇa's eating dirt, Lord Kṛṣṇa's childish naughtiness, and Lord Kṛṣṇa as a thief; (8) churning of the yogurt, Kṛṣṇa's drinking from the breast of mother Yaśodā, the breaking of the yogurt pot, Kṛṣṇa bound with ropes, the deliverance of the two brothers (Yamalārjuna) and the lamentation of mother Yaśodā; (9) entering Śrī Vṛndāvana; (10) the killing of Vatsāsura, Bakāsura and Vyomāsura; (11) the killing of Aghāsura and the bewilderment of Lord Brahmā; (12) the tending of the cows in the forest; (13) taking care of the cows and chastising the Kāliya serpent; (14) the killing of Gardabhāsura (the ass demon), and the praise of Kṛṣṇa; (15) the previous attraction of the gopīs; (16) the killing of Pralambāsura and the eating of the forest fire; (17) the gopīs' attempt to approach Kṛṣṇa; (18) the lifting of Govardhana Hill; (19) bathing Kṛṣṇa with milk; (20) the return of Nanda Mahārāja from the custody of Varuṇa and the vision of Goloka Vṛndāvana by the gopas; (21) the performance of the rituals in Kātyāyanī-vrata and the worship of the goddess Durgā; (22) the begging of food from the wives of the brāhmaṇas performing sacrifices; (23) the meeting of Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs; (24) Kṛṣṇa's enjoying the company of the gopīs, the disappearance of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa from the scene, and the search for Them by the gopīs; (25) the reappearance of Kṛṣṇa; (26) the determination of the gopīs; (27) pastimes in the waters of the Yamunā; (28) the deliverance of Nanda Mahārāja from the clutches of the serpent; (29) various pastimes in solitary places; (30) the killing of Śaṅkhacūḍa and the Hori; (31) the killing of Ariṣṭāsura; (32) the killing of the Keśī demon; (33) the appearance of Śrī Nārada Muni and a description of the year in which the book was completed.
In the second part, known as Uttara-campū, the following subject matters are discussed: (1) attraction for Vrajabhūmi; (2) the cruel activities of Akrūra; (3) Kṛṣṇa's departure for Mathurā; (4) a description of the city of Mathurā; (5) the killing of Kaṁsa; (6) Nanda Mahārāja's separation from Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma; (7) Nanda Mahārāja's entrance into Vṛndāvana without Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma; (8) the studies of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma; (9) how the son of the teacher of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma was returned; (10) Uddhava's visit to Vṛndāvana; (11) Rādhārāṇī’s talking with the messenger bumblebee; (12) the return of Uddhava from Vṛndāvana; (13) the binding of Jarāsandha; (14) the killing of the yavana Jarāsandha; (15) the marriage of Balarāma; (16) the marriage of Rukmiṇī; (17) seven marriages; (18) the killing of Narakāsura, the taking of the pārijāta flower from heaven and Kṛṣṇa's marriage to 16,000 princesses; (19) victory over Bāṇāsura; (20) a description of Balarāma's return to Vraja; (21) the killing of Pauṇḍraka (the imitation Viṣṇu); (22) the killing of Dvivida and thoughts of Hastināpura; (23) departure for Kurukṣetra; (24) how the residents of Vṛndāvana and Dvārakā met at Kurukṣetra; (25) Kṛṣṇa's consultation with Uddhava; (26) the deliverance of the king; (27) the performance of the Rājasūya sacrifice; (28) the killing of Śālva; (29) Kṛṣṇa's considering returning to Vṛndāvana; (30) Kṛṣṇa's revisiting Vṛndāvana; (31) the adjustment of obstructions by Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and others; (32) everything completed; (33) the residence of Rādhā and Mādhava; (34) decorating Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and Kṛṣṇa; (35) the marriage ceremony of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and Kṛṣṇa; (36) the meeting of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and Kṛṣṇa; and (37) entering Goloka.
Thus Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, Sanātana Gosvāmī and their nephew Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, as well as practically all of their family members, lived in Vṛndāvana and published important books on devotional service.
When Kṛṣṇa was performing yajña (sacrifice) at Kurukṣetra, He invited all the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana to come see Him. Lord Caitanya's heart was always filled with separation from Kṛṣṇa, but as soon as He had the opportunity to visit the Jagannātha temple, He became fully absorbed in the thoughts of the gopīs who came to see Kṛṣṇa at Kurukṣetra.
Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu used to sing this song (seita parāṇa-nātha) especially during the latter part of the day, and He would think, "Let Me take Kṛṣṇa and go back to Vṛndāvana." This ecstasy was always filling His heart.
Being always absorbed in the ecstasy of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu felt the same separation from Kṛṣṇa that Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī felt when Kṛṣṇa left Vṛndāvana and went to Mathurā. This ecstatic feeling is very helpful in attaining love of God in separation. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has taught everyone that one should not be overly anxious to see the Lord, but should rather feel separation from Him in ecstasy. It is actually better to feel separation from Him than to desire to see Him face to face. When the gopīs of Vṛndāvana, the residents of Gokula, met Kṛṣṇa at Kurukṣetra during the solar eclipse, they wanted to take Kṛṣṇa back to Vṛndāvana. Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu also felt the same ecstasy as soon as He saw Jagannātha in the temple or on the Ratha-yātrā car. The gopīs of Vṛndāvana did not like the opulence of Dvārakā. They wanted to take Kṛṣṇa to the village of Vṛndāvana and enjoy His company in the groves. This desire was also felt by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and He danced in ecstasy before the Ratha-yātrā festival when Lord Jagannātha went to Guṇḍicā.
(This is a verse spoken by Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.) "My dear friend, now I have met My very old and dear friend Kṛṣṇa on this field of Kurukṣetra. I am the same Rādhārāṇī, and now We are meeting together. It is very pleasant, but still I would like to go to the bank of the Yamunā beneath the trees of the forest there. I wish to hear the vibration of His sweet flute playing the fifth note within that forest of Vṛndāvana."
She thought of Him in the calm and quiet atmosphere of Vṛndāvana, dressed as a cowherd boy. But at Kurukṣetra He was in a royal dress and was accompanied by elephants, horses and crowds of men. Thus the atmosphere was not congenial for Their meeting.
Thus meeting with Kṛṣṇa and thinking of the Vṛndāvana atmosphere, Rādhārāṇī longed for Kṛṣṇa to take Her to Vṛndāvana again to fulfill Her desire in that calm atmosphere.
The gopīs thought, "Dear Lord, if Your lotus feet again come to our home in Vṛndāvana, our desires will be fulfilled."
The gopīs continued, "Dear Kṛṣṇa, the fragrance of the mellows of Your pastimes is spread throughout the forests of the glorious land of Vṛndāvana, which is surrounded by the sweetness of the district of Mathurā. In the congenial atmosphere of that wonderful land, You may enjoy Your pastimes, with Your flute dancing on Your lips, and surrounded by us, the gopīs, whose hearts are always enchanted by unpredictable ecstatic emotions."
Absorbed in the ecstasy of the gopīs, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu wished to see Lord Jagannātha in His original form as Kṛṣṇa, the son of Nanda Mahārāja, standing in Vṛndāvana and appearing very beautiful, His body curved in three places. His desire to see that form was always increasing.
This is the first synopsis: After accepting the sannyāsa order, Caitanya Mahāprabhu proceeded toward Vṛndāvana.
Clearly these statements are a real account of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's acceptance of the renounced order of life. His acceptance of this renounced order is not at all comparable to the acceptance of sannyāsa by Māyāvādīs. After accepting sannyāsa, Caitanya Mahāprabhu wanted to reach Vṛndāvana.
When proceeding toward Vṛndāvana, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was overwhelmed with ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa, and He lost all remembrance of the external world. In this way He traveled continuously for three days in Rāḍha-deśa, the country where the Ganges River does not flow.
It appears that in His transcendental ecstasy, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu forgot to eat for three continuous days. He was then misled by Nityānanda Prabhu, who said that the river Ganges was the Yamunā. Because the Lord was in the ecstasy of going to Vṛndāvana, He was engladdened to see the Yamunā, although in actuality the river was the Ganges. In this way the Lord was brought to the house of Advaita Prabhu at Śāntipura after three days, and He accepted food there. As long as the Lord remained there, He saw His mother, Śacīdevī, and every night executed congregational chanting with all the devotees.
Once the Lord mistook the forest on the bank of the river Godāvarī to be Vṛndāvana. In that place He happened to meet Rāmānanda Rāya.
To visit Vṛndāvana, the Lord went to Gauḍa-deśa (Bengal). On the way, King Pratāparudra performed a variety of services to please the Lord.
On the way to Vṛndāvana via Bengal, there was an incident wherein some cloth was exchanged with Purī Gosāñi. Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya accompanied the Lord as far as the city of Bhadraka.
When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu reached Vidyānagara, Bengal, on the way to Vṛndāvana, He stopped at the house of Vidyā-vācaspati, who was the brother of Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya. When Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu suddenly arrived at his house, great crowds of people gathered.
When Śrī Nṛsiṁhānanda Brahmacārī heard that Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu would go to Vṛndāvana, he became very pleased and mentally began decorating the way there.
With great assurance he then told the devotees that Lord Caitanya would not go to Vṛndāvana at that time.
Śrīla Nṛsiṁhānanda Brahmacārī was a great devotee of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu; therefore when he heard that from Kuliyā Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was going to Vṛndāvana, although he had no material wealth he began to construct within his mind a very attractive path or road for Caitanya Mahāprabhu to traverse. Some of the description of this path is given above. But even mentally he could not construct the road beyond Kānāi Nāṭaśālā. Therefore he concluded that Caitanya Mahāprabhu would not go to Vṛndāvana at that time.
When Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu began to proceed from Kuliyā toward Vṛndāvana, thousands of men were with Him, and all of them were devotees.
“Although the King is respectful toward You, he still belongs to the yavana class and should not be believed. We think that there is no need for such a great crowd to accompany You on Your pilgrimage to Vṛndāvana.
"Dear Lord, You are going to Vṛndāvana with hundreds and thousands of people following You, and this is not a fitting way to go on a pilgrimage."
Sometimes, for business purposes, large crowds of men are taken to different places of pilgrimage, and money is collected from them. That is a very lucrative business, but Rūpa and Sanātana Gosvāmīs, expressing their opinion in the presence of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, disapproved of such crowded pilgrimages. Actually when Lord Caitanya visited Vṛndāvana, He visited it alone and accepted a servant only at His devotees' request. He never visited Vṛndāvana with crowds of people for a commercial purpose.
That night the Lord considered Sanātana Gosvāmī’s proposal that He should not go to Vṛndāvana followed by so many people.
The Lord thought, "If I go to Mathurā with such crowds behind Me, it would not be a very happy situation, for the atmosphere would be disturbed."
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu confirms that visiting a holy place like Vṛndāvana with so many people is simply disturbing. He would not find the happiness He desired by visiting such holy places in that way.
The Lord concluded that He would go alone to Vṛndāvana or, at most, would take only one person as His companion. In that way, going to Vṛndāvana would be very pleasant.
After remaining at Jagannātha Purī for a few days, the Lord secretly started for Vṛndāvana at night. He did this without anyone's knowledge.
When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu left Jagannātha Purī for Vṛndāvana, only Balabhadra Bhaṭṭācārya was with Him. Thus He traveled on the path through Jhārikhaṇḍa and arrived in Benares (Vārāṇasī) with great delight.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu stayed at Benares only four days and then left for Vṛndāvana. After seeing the town of Mathurā, He visited the twelve forests.
Those who visit the Vṛndāvana area today also generally visit twelve places, known as the twelve forests. They start at Mathurā, where there is Kāmyavana. From there they go to Tālavana, Tamālavana, Madhuvana, Kusumavana, Bhāṇḍīravana, Bilvavana, Bhadravana, Khadiravana, Lohavana, Kumudavana and Gokulamahāvana.
After instructing Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī at Prayāga, at the Daśāśvamedha-ghāṭa, Caitanya Mahāprabhu ordered him to go to Vṛndāvana. The Lord then returned to Vārāṇasī.
When the Lord returned to Jagannātha Purī from Vṛndāvana, He remained there and did not go anywhere else for eighteen years.
Being pleased, the Lord sent Sanātana Gosvāmī back to Vṛndāvana. After that, He was fed wonderfully by the hands of Śrī Advaita Ācārya.
After sending Sanātana Gosvāmī back to Vṛndāvana, the Lord privately consulted with Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu. He then sent Him to Bengal to preach love of Godhead.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's state of mind, day and night, was practically identical to Rādhārāṇī’s state of mind when Uddhava came to Vṛndāvana to see the gopīs.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu would also run very fast across the sand dunes, mistaking them for Govardhana. As He ran, He would wail and cry loudly.
Because of the winds of the sea, sometimes the sand would form dunes. Such sand dunes are called caṭaka parvata. Instead of seeing these sand dunes simply as hills of sand, the Lord would take them to be Govardhana Hill. Sometimes He would run toward these dunes at high speed, crying very loudly, expressing the state of mind exhibited by Rādhārāṇī. Thus Caitanya Mahāprabhu was absorbed in thoughts of Kṛṣṇa and His pastimes. His state of mind brought Him the atmosphere of Vṛndāvana and Govardhana Hill, and thus He enjoyed the transcendental bliss of separation and meeting.
Sometimes Caitanya Mahāprabhu mistook the small parks of the city for Vṛndāvana. Sometimes He would go there, dance and chant and sometimes fall unconscious in spiritual ecstasy.
When coming from the Jagannātha temple to return to His house, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu used to sit on the ground and mark it with His nails. At such times He would be greatly morose and would cry, "Alas, where is Vṛndāvana? Where is Kṛṣṇa, the son of the King of the cowherd men? Where is that person who plays the flute?"
“My dear Lord, You are the master and the life and soul of Vṛndāvana. Kindly arrange for the deliverance of Vṛndāvana. We have no leisure hours away from our many activities. Actually, You are My enjoyer. You have appeared just to give Me happiness, and this is one of Your expert activities.
Paramānanda Purī is said to have been Uddhava in Vṛndāvana.
During His previous pastimes in Vṛndāvana, Lord Kṛṣṇa desired to enjoy the three different types of ecstasy, but despite great endeavor, He could not taste them. Such ecstasies are the monopoly of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Therefore, in order to taste them, Śrī Kṛṣṇa accepted the position of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī in the form of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
If one does not understand in the beginning but continues to hear again and again, the wonderful effects of Lord Caitanya's pastimes will bring love for Kṛṣṇa. Gradually one will come to understand the loving affairs between Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs and other associates of Vṛndāvana. Everyone is advised to continue to hear over and over again in order to greatly benefit.
Receiving orders from the above authorities and the Vaiṣṇavas of Vṛndāvana, especially from Haridāsa, the priest of Govindajī, I, Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī, have tried to describe one small particle of one drop of one wave of the ocean of the pastimes of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
After accepting the sannyāsa order of life, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, out of intense love for Kṛṣṇa, wanted to go to Vṛndāvana, but apparently by mistake He wandered in the Rāḍha-deśa. Later He arrived at Śāntipura and enjoyed Himself there with His devotees. I offer my respectful obeisances to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
After accepting the sannyāsa order, Caitanya Mahāprabhu, out of intense love for Kṛṣṇa, started for Vṛndāvana. However, He mistakenly wandered about in a trance continuously for three days in the tract of land known as Rāḍha-deśa.
After accepting the sannyāsa order, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu decided to go to Vṛndāvana and engage Himself wholly and solely in the service of Mukunda in a solitary place.
As Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was en route to Vṛndāvana, all the ecstatic symptoms became manifest, and He did not know in which direction He was going, nor did He know whether it was day or night.
When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu went toward Vṛndāvana, Nityānanda Prabhu, Candraśekhara and Prabhu Mukunda followed Him.
"If Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu asks you about the path to Vṛndāvana, please show Him the path on the bank of the Ganges instead."
When the cowherd boys were questioned by Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu about the path to Vṛndāvana, the boys showed Him the path on the bank of the Ganges, and the Lord went that way in ecstasy.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was in ecstasy, and He asked where Nityānanda Prabhu was going. Nityānanda replied that He was going with Him toward Vṛndāvana.
When the Lord asked Nityānanda Prabhu how far it was to Vṛndāvana, Nityānanda replied, "Just see! Here is the river Yamunā."
Still in His ecstasy, the Lord asked Advaita Ācārya, "Why did You come here? How did You know that I was in Vṛndāvana?"
Advaita Ācārya disclosed the whole situation, telling Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, "Wherever You are, that is Vṛndāvana. Now it is My great fortune that You have come to the bank of the Ganges."
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu informed them all, “Without your order, I tried to go to Vṛndāvana. There was some obstacle, however, and I had to return.
Once, Śrī Mādhavendra Purī traveled to Vṛndāvana, where he came upon the hill known as Govardhana.
Formerly, at the end of Dvāpara-yuga, all the cowherd men of Vṛndāvana had arranged to worship King Indra, but they gave this worship up, following the advice of Kṛṣṇa. Instead, they performed a ceremony whereby they worshiped the cows, brāhmaṇas and Govardhana Hill. At that time Kṛṣṇa expanded Himself and declared, "I am Govardhana Hill." In this way He accepted all the paraphernalia and food offered to Govardhana Hill.
"The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, therefore advised the cowherd men to stop the Indra-yajña and begin the Govardhana-pūjā to chastise Indra, who was very much puffed up at being the supreme controller of the heavenly planets. The honest and simple cowherd men, headed by Nanda Mahārāja, accepted Kṛṣṇa's proposal and executed in detail everything He advised. They performed Govardhana worship and circumambulation of the hill. According to the instruction of Lord Kṛṣṇa, Nanda Mahārāja and the cowherd men called in learned brāhmaṇas and began to worship Govardhana Hill by chanting Vedic hymns and offering prasādam. The inhabitants of Vṛndāvana assembled together, decorated their cows and gave them grass. Keeping the cows in front, they began to circumambulate Govardhana Hill."
The ideal place to execute Kṛṣṇa consciousness is Vrajabhūmi, or Vṛndāvana, where the people are naturally inclined to love Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa is naturally inclined to love them.
All the villages in neighboring Vrajabhūmi (Vṛndāvana) became aware of the appearance of Gopāla, and all the people from these villages came to see Him. Day after day they all performed the Annakūṭa ceremony.
Eventually two brāhmaṇas in the renounced order arrived from Bengal, and Mādhavendra Purī, who liked them very much, kept them in Vṛndāvana and gave them all kinds of comforts.
In this way Mādhavendra Purī started for Vṛndāvana with the burden of sandalwood, and after some days he again reached the village of Remuṇā and the Gopīnātha temple there.
“There is no difference between My body and Gopīnātha's body. They are one and the same. Therefore if you smear the sandalwood pulp on the body of Gopīnātha, you will naturally also smear it on My body. Thus the temperature of My body will be reduced.
Gopāla was situated in Vṛndāvana, which was far from Remuṇā. In those days, one had to pass through provinces governed by the Muslims, who sometimes hindered travelers.
Mādhavendra Purī said, “Smear the body of Gopīnātha with this camphor and sandalwood I have brought for Gopāla in Vṛndāvana. Do this regularly every day.
“Mādhavendra Purī was not at all anxious during the long journey to Vṛndāvana through the provinces governed by the Muslims and filled with unlimited numbers of watchmen.
“Although Mādhavendra Purī did not have a farthing with him, he was not afraid to pass by the toll officers. His only enjoyment was in carrying the load of sandalwood to Vṛndāvana for Gopāla.
When Śrī Kṛṣṇa left Vṛndāvana and accepted the kingdom of Mathurā, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, out of ecstatic feelings of separation, expressed how Kṛṣṇa can be loved in separation. Thus devotional service in separation is central to this verse. Worship in separation is considered by the Gauḍīya-Mādhva-sampradāya to be the topmost level of devotional service. According to this conception, the devotee thinks of himself as very poor and neglected by the Lord. Thus he addresses the Lord as dīna-dayārdra nātha, as did Mādhavendra Purī. Such an ecstatic feeling is the highest form of devotional service. Because Kṛṣṇa had gone to Mathurā, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī was very much affected, and She expressed Herself thus: "My dear Lord, because of Your separation My mind has become overly agitated. Now tell Me, what can I do? I am very poor and You are very merciful, so kindly have compassion upon Me and let Me know when I shall see You." Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was always expressing the ecstatic emotions of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī that She exhibited when She saw Uddhava at Vṛndāvana. Similar feelings, experienced by Mādhavendra Purī, are expressed in this verse. Therefore, Vaiṣṇavas in the Gauḍīya-Mādhva-sampradāya say that the ecstatic feelings experienced by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu during His appearance came from Śrī Mādhavendra Purī through Īśvara Purī. All the devotees in the line of the Gauḍīya-Mādhva-sampradāya accept these principles of devotional service.
Once there were two brāhmaṇas, one elderly and the other young, who were inhabitants of a place known as Vidyānagara. After touring many places of pilgrimage, the two brāhmaṇas finally reached Vṛndāvana. The elderly brāhmaṇa was very satisfied with the service of the young brāhmaṇa, and he wanted to offer him his youngest daughter in marriage. The young brāhmaṇa received the promise of his elder before the Gopāla Deity of Vṛndāvana. Thus the Gopāla Deity acted as a witness. When the two brāhmaṇas returned to Vidyānagara, the younger brāhmaṇa raised the question of this marriage, but the elderly brāhmaṇa, due to obligations to his friends and wife, answered that he could not remember his promise. Because of this, the younger brāhmaṇa returned to Vṛndāvana and narrated the whole story to Gopālajī. Thus Gopālajī, being obliged by the young man's devotional service, accompanied him to southern India.
After reaching Mathurā, they started visiting the different forests of Vṛndāvana and came to Govardhana Hill. They visited all twelve forests (vanas) and at last came to the town of Vṛndāvana.
The five forests situated on the eastern side of the river Yamunā are Bhadra, Bilva, Loha, Bhāṇḍīra and Mahāvana. The seven forests situated on the western side of the Yamunā are Madhu, Tāla, Kumuda, Bahulā, Kāmya, Khadira and Vṛndāvana. After visiting all these forests, these pilgrims went to a place known as Pañcakrośī Vṛndāvana. Out of the twelve forests, the Vṛndāvana forest extends from the town of Vṛndāvana up to Nanda-grāma and Varṣāṇā, a distance of thirty-two miles, within which the Pañcakrośī Vṛndāvana town is situated.
In the village of Pañcakrośī Vṛndāvana, at the site where the Govinda temple is now situated, there was a great temple where gorgeous worship of Gopāla was performed.
After the meeting, the young brāhmaṇa started for Vṛndāvana. Upon arriving there, he first offered his respectful obeisances to the Deity and then narrated everything in full detail.
It was not at all the intention of the young brāhmaṇa to get the daughter of the elderly brāhmaṇa in marriage and thus enjoy material happiness and sense gratification. It was not for that reason that the young brāhmaṇa went to Vṛndāvana to ask the Supreme Personality of Godhead to act as a witness. His only concern was that the elderly brāhmaṇa had promised something, and if Gopāla did not bear witness to that transaction, then the older brāhmaṇa would incur a spiritual blemish.
One who accepts the associates of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu as nitya-siddhas is certain to be elevated to the spiritual kingdom to become an associate of the Supreme Lord. One should also know that Gauḍa-maṇḍala-bhūmi—those places in Bengal where Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu stayed—are equal to Vrajabhūmi, or Vṛndāvana. There is no difference between the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana and those of Gauḍa-maṇḍala-bhūmi, or Śrīdhāma Māyāpur.
In the Bhagavad-gītā (10.8), Kṛṣṇa says, ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate: "I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me." Therefore Kṛṣṇa is the original Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Again, Kṛṣṇa states in the Bhagavad-gītā (9.4), mayā tatam idaṁ sarvaṁ jagad avyakta-mūrtinā: "By Me, in My unmanifested form, this entire universe is pervaded." And as confirmed in the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.37), goloka eva nivasaty akhilātma-bhūtaḥ: "Although the Lord always stays in His abode, Goloka Vṛndāvana, He is still all-pervading."
One may aspire to elevate himself to a heavenly planet within the material world, such as the moon, the sun or Venus, but if one is spiritually advanced in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he does not wish to remain within the material universe, even in a higher planetary system. Rather, he prefers to penetrate the covering of the universe and attain the spiritual world. He can then be situated in one of the Vaikuṇṭha planets there. However, the devotees under the guidance of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu aspire to reach the topmost spiritual planet, known as Goloka Vṛndāvana, the residence of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa and His eternal associates.
“After accepting the sannyāsa order, I decided to go to Vṛndāvana, but You took Me instead to the house of Advaita Prabhu.
Whenever a householder glorifies the Supreme Lord in his home, his activities are immediately transformed into the activities of Goloka Vṛndāvana, spiritual activities taking place in the Goloka Vṛndāvana planet of Kṛṣṇa. Activities exhibited by Kṛṣṇa Himself at Bhauma Vṛndāvana, the Vṛndāvana-dhāma existing on this planet, are not different from His activities on the planet Goloka Vṛndāvana. This is proper realization of Vṛndāvana anywhere. In our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement we inaugurated the New Vṛndāvana activities, wherein devotees are always engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, and this is not different from Goloka Vṛndāvana.
According to the Vedic way of civilization, one should leave his family after attaining fifty years of age and go to the forest of Vṛndāvana to devote the rest of his life to the service of the Lord.
It does not matter whether one lives in a holy place like Vṛndāvana, Navadvīpa or Jagannātha Purī or in the midst of European cities, where the materialistic way of life is very prominent. If a devotee follows the instructions of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, he lives in the company of the Lord. Wherever he lives, he converts that place into Vṛndāvana and Navadvīpa. This means that materialism cannot touch him. This is the secret of success for one advancing in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Śrīla Rāmānanda Rāya also explained that all stages of conjugal love can be attained through the mercy of the residents of Vṛndāvana, especially by the mercy of the gopīs.
When He saw the river Godāvarī, the Lord remembered the river Yamunā, and when He saw the forest on the banks of the river, He remembered Śrī Vṛndāvana-dhāma.
The word rahaḥ-sthāne, "in a secluded place," is very significant. Talks about Kṛṣṇa and His pastimes—especially His pastimes in Vṛndāvana and His dealings with the gopīs—are all very confidential. They are not subject matter for public discussion because those who have no understanding of the transcendental nature of Kṛṣṇa's pastimes always commit great offenses, thinking Kṛṣṇa to be an ordinary human being and the gopīs ordinary girls. Following the principle of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who never discussed the dealings between Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs publicly, devotees in the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement are enjoined not to discuss the pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana in public.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu belongs to the spiritual world, and His methods for propagating the saṅkīrtana movement are also imported from the spiritual world. Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura has sung: golokera prema-dhana, hari-nāma-saṅkīrtana, rati na janmila kene tāya. This states that the saṅkīrtana movement has nothing to do with this material world. It is imported from the spiritual world, Goloka Vṛndāvana.
“"When Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa was dancing with the gopīs in the rāsa-līlā, the gopīs were embraced around the neck by the Lord"s arms. This transcendental favor was never bestowed upon the goddess of fortune or the other consorts in the spiritual world. Nor was such a thing ever imagined by the most beautiful girls in the heavenly planets, girls whose bodily luster and aroma resemble the beauty and fragrance of lotus flowers. And what to speak of worldly women, who may be very, very beautiful according to material estimation?’
This verse (SB 10.47.60) was spoken by Uddhava when he visited Śrī Vṛndāvana to deliver a message from Kṛṣṇa to the gopīs. Uddhava remained in Vṛndāvana to observe the activities of the gopīs there.
Kṛṣṇa's devotees in Vṛndāvana address Him as Rādhāramaṇa, Nandanandana and Yaśodānandana, but not as Vasudeva-nandana or Devakī-nandana. Although according to the material conception Nārāyaṇa, Rukmiṇī-ramaṇa and Kṛṣṇa are one and the same, in the spiritual world one cannot use the name Rukmiṇī-ramaṇa or Nārāyaṇa in place of the name Kṛṣṇa. If one does so out of a poor fund of knowledge, his mellow with the Lord becomes spiritually faulty and is called rasābhāsa, an overlapping of transcendental mellows.
“"Being afflicted by the arrow of Cupid and unhappily regretting His mistreating Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, Mādhava, Lord Kṛṣṇa, began to search for Her along the banks of the Yamunā River. When He failed to find Her, He entered the bushes of Vṛndāvana and began to lament."
“In the spiritual realm of Vṛndāvana, Kṛṣṇa is the spiritual, ever-fresh Cupid. He is worshiped by the chanting of the Kāma-gāyatrī mantra, with the spiritual seed klīm.
Vṛndāvana is described in the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.56) in this way:
- śriyaḥ kāntāḥ kāntaḥ parama-puruṣaḥ kalpa-taravo
- drumā bhūmiś cintāmaṇi-gaṇa-mayī toyam amṛtam
- kathā gānaṁ nāṭyaṁ gamanam api vaṁśī priya-sakhī
- cid-ānandaṁ jyotiḥ param api tad āsvādyam api ca
- sa yatra kṣīrābdhiḥ sravati surabhībhyaś ca su-mahān
- nimeṣārdhākhyo vā vrajati na hi yatrāpi samayaḥ
- bhaje śvetadvīpaṁ tam aham iha golokam iti yaṁ
- vidantas te santaḥ kṣiti-virala-cārāḥ katipaye
The spiritual realm of Vṛndāvana is always spiritual. The goddess of fortune and the gopīs are always present there. They are Kṛṣṇa's beloveds, and all of them are as spiritual as Kṛṣṇa. In Vṛndāvana, Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Person and is the husband of all the gopīs and the goddess of fortune. The trees in Vṛndāvana are wish-fulfilling trees. The land is made of touchstone, and the water is nectar. Words are musical vibrations, and all movements are dancing. The flute is the Lord's constant companion. The planet Goloka Vṛndāvana is self-luminous like the sun and is full of spiritual bliss. The perfection of life lies in tasting that spiritual existence; therefore everyone should cultivate its knowledge. In Vṛndāvana, spiritual cows are always supplying spiritual milk. Not a single moment is wasted there—in other words, there is no past, present or future. Not a single particle of time is wasted. Within this material universe, the devotees worship that transcendental abode as Goloka Vṛndāvana. Lord Brahmā himself said, "Let me worship that spiritual land where Kṛṣṇa is present." This transcendental Vṛndāvana is not appreciated by those who are not devotees or self-realized souls because this Vṛndāvana-dhāma is all spiritual. The pastimes of the Lord there are also spiritual. None are material.
According to a prayer by Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura (Prārthanā 1):
- āra kabe nitāi-cāṅdera karuṇā karibe
- saṁsāra-vāsanā mora kabe tuccha ha’be
"When will Lord Nityānanda have mercy upon me so that I can realize the uselessness of material pleasure?"
- viṣaya chāḍiyā kabe śuddha ha’be mana
- kabe hāma heraba śrī-vṛndāvana
"When will my mind be cleansed of all material dirt so that I will be able to feel the presence of spiritual Vṛndāvana?"
- rūpa-raghunātha-pade haibe ākuti
- kabe hāma bujhaba se yugala-pirīti
"When will I be attracted to the instructions of the Gosvāmīs so that I will be able to understand what is Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa and what is Vṛndāvana?"
These verses indicate that one first has to be purified of all material desires and all attraction for fruitive activity and speculative knowledge if one wishes to understand Vṛndāvana.
Thus there is another nature, which is superior to material nature. The word bhāva or svabhāva refers to nature. The spiritual nature is eternal, and even when all the material universes are destroyed, the planets in the spiritual world abide. They remain exactly as the spirit soul remains even after the annihilation of the material body. That spiritual world is called the aprākṛta (antimaterial) world. In this transcendental, spiritual world or universe, the highest planetary system is known as Goloka Vṛndāvana.
Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura considers the brahma-bhūta stage in two divisions—svarūpa-gata and vastu-gata. One who has understood Kṛṣṇa in truth but is still maintaining some material connection is known to be situated in his svarūpa, his original consciousness. When that original consciousness is completely spiritual, it is called Kṛṣṇa consciousness. One who lives in such consciousness is actually living in Vṛndāvana. He may live anywhere; material location doesn’t matter. When by the grace of Kṛṣṇa one thus advances, he becomes completely uncontaminated by the material body and mind and at that time factually lives in Vṛndāvana. That stage is called vastu-gata.
“"Among the gopīs of Vṛndāvana, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and another gopī are considered chief. But when we compare the gopīs, it appears that Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is most important because Her real feature expresses the highest ecstasy of love. The ecstasy of love experienced by the other gopīs cannot be compared to that of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī."
“Day and night Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa enjoys the company of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī in the bushes of Vṛndāvana. Thus His pre-youthful age is fulfilled through His affairs with Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.
“Without the help of the gopī:s, one cannot enter into these pastimes. Only one who worships the Lord in the ecstasy of the gopīs, following in their footsteps, can engage in the service of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa in the bushes of Vṛndāvana. Only then can one understand the conjugal love between Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. There is no other procedure for understanding.
One should not be misled by mental concoctions, supposing his material body to be perfect and deeming oneself a sakhī. This is something like ahaṅgrahopāsanā, that is, a Māyāvādī’s worship of his own body as the Supreme. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī has cautioned mundaners to abstain from such conceptions. He also warns that thinking oneself one of the associates of the Supreme without following in the footsteps of the gopīs is as offensive as thinking oneself the Supreme. Such thinking is an aparādha. One has to practice living in Vṛndāvana by hearing about the talks of the gopīs with Kṛṣṇa. However, one should not consider himself a gopī, for this is offensive.
“If one worships the Lord on the path of spontaneous love and goes to Vṛndāvana, he receives the shelter of Vrajendra-nandana, the son of Nanda Mahārāja.
“In his liberated stage the devotee is attracted by one of the five humors in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. As he continues to serve the Lord in that transcendental mood, he attains a spiritual body to serve Kṛṣṇa in Goloka Vṛndāvana.
“Those saintly persons who represent the Upaniṣads are vivid examples of this. By worshiping the Lord on the path of spontaneous love, they attained the lotus feet of Vrajendra-nandana, the son of Nanda Mahārāja.
In the Goloka Vṛndāvana planet, Kṛṣṇa's servants are headed by Raktaka and Patraka. Kṛṣṇa's friends are headed by Śrīdāmā, Subala and others. There are also elderly gopīs and the cowherd men, headed by Nanda Mahārāja, mother Yaśodā and others. All of these personalities are eternally engaged in the loving service of the Lord in accordance with their specific attachments for Kṛṣṇa.
“The word "aṅghri-padma-sudhā" means "associating intimately with Kṛṣṇa." One can attain such perfection only by spontaneous love of God. One cannot obtain Kṛṣṇa in Goloka Vṛndāvana simply by serving the Lord according to regulative principles.
One is elevated to the spiritual world by the spiritual body and is situated either in Goloka Vṛndāvana or in another Vaikuṇṭha planet. In the spiritual body there are no longer material desires, and one is fully satisfied by rendering service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. This is the platform of bhakti (hṛṣīkeṇa hṛṣīkeśa-sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate (CC Madhya 19.170)). When the spiritual body, mind and senses are completely purified, one can render service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His consort. In Vaikuṇṭha the consort is Lakṣmī, and in Goloka Vṛndāvana the consort is Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. In the spiritual body, free from material contamination, one can serve Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa.
The dealings between Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs are devoid of the opulences of Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa. The process of vidhi-mārga, following the regulative principles, is utilized in the worship of Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa, whereas the process of spontaneous service—following in the footsteps of the gopīs, who are the denizens of Vṛndāvana—is transcendentally more advanced and is the process whereby Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are worshiped. One cannot attain this elevated position while worshiping the Lord in His opulence. Those attracted by the conjugal love between Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa must follow in the footsteps of the gopīs. Only then is it possible to enter into the Lord's service in Goloka Vṛndāvana and directly associate with Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.
“The unspoken example in this connection is the goddess of fortune, who worshiped Lord Kṛṣṇa in order to attain His pastimes in Vṛndāvana. But due to her opulent life-style, she could not attain the service of Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana.
"Lord Kṛṣṇa descends apparently as a human being, and He exhibits His transcendental pastimes in Vṛndāvana so that the conditioned soul may be attracted to hearing His transcendental activities."
Rāmānanda Rāya replied, "He should live in the holy place known as Vṛndāvana or Vrajabhūmi, where the Lord performed His rāsa dance."
According to Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.47.61):
- āsām aho caraṇa-reṇu-juṣām ahaṁ syāṁ
- vṛndāvane kim api gulma-latauṣadhīnām
- yā dustyajaṁ sva-janam ārya-pathaṁ ca hitvā
- bhejur mukunda-padavīṁ śrutibhir vimṛgyām
Uddhava said, "Let me become one of Vṛndāvana's herbs and plants that are trampled by the gopīs, who gave up all connections with family and friends and decided to worship the lotus feet of Mukunda. Those lotus feet are sought by all great saintly persons expert in the study of Vedic literature."
""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.""
sThe conversations between Rāmānanda Rāya and Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu contain the most confidential subject matters, touching the conjugal love between Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana (Vrajabhūmi). Although they talked at great length about these pastimes, they could not reach the limit of discussion.
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura points out that in Vrajabhūmi there is the Yamunā River with its sandy banks. There are kadamba trees, cows, Kṛṣṇa's sticks with which He herds cows, and Kṛṣṇa's flute. All of these belong to śānta-rasa, the mellow of neutrality in devotional service. There are also the direct servants of Kṛṣṇa, such as Citraka, Patraka and Raktaka, and these are the embodiments of service in the mellow of servitude. There are also friends like Śrīdāmā and Sudāmā, who embody service in fraternity. Nanda Mahārāja and mother Yaśodā are the embodiments of parental love. Above all of these are Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and Her assistants, the gopīs Lalitā, Viśākhā and others, who embody conjugal love. In this way all five mellows—śānta, dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya and mādhurya—exist eternally in Vrajabhūmi. They are also compared, respectively, to copper, bell metal, silver, gold and touchstone, the basis of all metals. Śrīla Kavirāja Gosvāmī therefore refers to a mine eternally existing in Vṛndāvana, Vrajabhūmi.
In almost all the cities and towns of India there are temples of Hanumānjī, the eternal servant of Lord Rāmacandra. There is even a temple of Hanumān near Govindajī temple in Vṛndāvana. Formerly this temple was in front of the Gopālajī temple, but the Gopālajī Deity went to Orissa to remain as Sākṣi-gopāla.
The son of Veṅkaṭa Bhaṭṭa was later known in the Gauḍīya-sampradāya as Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī, and he established the Rādhāramaṇa temple in Vṛndāvana. More information about him may be found in a book known as the Bhakti-ratnākara, by Narahari Cakravartī.
“By following in the footsteps of the inhabitants of the planet known as Vrajaloka or Goloka Vṛndāvana, one can attain the shelter of the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. However, in that planet the inhabitants do not know that Lord Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The inhabitants of Vrajabhūmi, or Goloka Vṛndāvana, know Kṛṣṇa as the son of Mahārāja Nanda. They do not accept Him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as people in general do. The Lord is the supreme maintainer of everyone and the chief personality among all personalities. In Vrajabhūmi Kṛṣṇa is certainly the central point of love, but no one knows Him there as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Rather, a person may know Him as a friend, son, lover or master. In any case, the center is Kṛṣṇa. The inhabitants of Vrajabhūmi are related to the Lord in servitude, friendship, parental love and conjugal love.
The Brahma-saṁhitā is a very important scripture. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu acquired the Fifth Chapter from the Ādi-keśava temple. In that Fifth Chapter, the philosophical conclusion of acintya-bhedābheda-tattva (simultaneous oneness and difference) is presented. The chapter also presents methods of devotional service, the eighteen-syllable Vedic hymn, discourses on the soul, the Supersoul and fruitive activity, an explanation of Kāma-gāyatrī, kāma-bīja and the original Mahā-Viṣṇu, and a detailed description of the spiritual world, specifically Goloka Vṛndāvana.
There were six great Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvana—Śrīla Rūpa, Sanātana, Bhaṭṭa Raghunātha, Śrī Jīva, Gopāla Bhaṭṭa and Dāsa Raghunātha—and none of them inherited the title of gosvāmī. All the Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvana were bona fide spiritual masters situated on the highest platform of devotional service, and for that reason they were called gosvāmīs. All the temples of Vṛndāvana were certainly started by the six Gosvāmīs. Later the worship in the temples was entrusted to some householder disciples of the Gosvāmīs, and since then the hereditary title of gosvāmī has been used.
Preaching work is meant for advanced devotees, and when an advanced devotee is further elevated on the devotional scale, he may retire to chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra in a solitary place. However, if one simply imitates advanced spiritual life, he will fall down, just like the sahajiyās in Vṛndāvana.
The duty of a pure devotee or a servant of the Lord is to carry out the order of the Lord. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu asked Nityānanda Prabhu to go to Bengal and preach, and He asked the Gosvāmīs, Rūpa and Sanātana, to go to Vṛndāvana and excavate the lost places of pilgrimage.
In His own pastimes in Vṛndāvana, when Kṛṣṇa used to eat on the bank of the Yamunā and sit in the center of His friends, every one of the cowherd boys would perceive that Kṛṣṇa was looking at him. In the same way, when Caitanya Mahāprabhu observed the dancing, everyone saw that Caitanya Mahāprabhu was facing him.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu instructs us that just as Kṛṣṇa is worshipable, Kṛṣṇa's place, Vṛndāvana, is also worshipable. And as Vṛndāvana is worshipable, similarly the paraphernalia in Vṛndāvana—the trees, roads, river, everything—is worshipable. A pure devotee thus sings, jaya jaya vṛndāvana-vāsī yata jana: "All glories to the residents of Vṛndāvana!"
The Lord enjoys Himself in two ways, known as svakīya and parakīya. The Lord's conjugal love in the svakīya-rasa relates to the regulative principles observed in Dvārakā, where the Lord has many married queens. But in Vṛndāvana the conjugal love of the Lord is not with His married wives but with His girlfriends, the gopīs. Conjugal love with the gopīs is called parakīya-rasa. Lord Jagannātha leaves the secluded place where He enjoys the company of the supreme goddess of fortune in svakīya-rasa, and He goes to Vṛndāvana, where He enjoys the parakīya-rasa.
The fine, white sand spread all over the path resembled the bank of the Yamunā, and the small gardens on both sides looked just like those in Vṛndāvana.
Just as Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa formerly performed the rāsa-līlā dance and other pastimes at Vṛndāvana, Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu performed uncommon pastimes moment after moment.
“"Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is He who is known as jana-nivāsa, the ultimate resort of all living entities, and who is also known as Devakī-nandana or Yaśodā-nandana, the son of Devakī and Yaśodā. He is the guide of the Yadu dynasty, and with His mighty arms He kills everything inauspicious, as well as every man who is impious. By His presence He destroys all things inauspicious for all living entities, moving and inert. His blissful smiling face always increases the lusty desires of the gopīs of Vṛndāvana. May He be all-glorious and happy!"
""Now I have gained the Lord of My life, in the absence of whom I was being burned by Cupid and was withering away.""
This song refers to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s meeting with Kṛṣṇa at the holy place of Kurukṣetra, where Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa and His brother and sister came to visit when there was a solar eclipse. It is a song of separation from Kṛṣṇa. When Rādhārāṇī met Kṛṣṇa at Kurukṣetra, She remembered His intimate association in Vṛndāvana, and She thought, "Now I have gained the Lord of My life. In His absence I was being burned by the arrow of Cupid, and thus I was withering away. Now I have My life again."
After giving up the company of the gopīs in Vṛndāvana, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the son of Mahārāja Nanda, engaged in His pastimes at Dvārakā. When Kṛṣṇa went to Kurukṣetra with His brother and sister and others from Dvārakā, He again met the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is rādhā-bhāva-dyuti-suvalita, that is, Kṛṣṇa Himself assuming the part of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī in order to understand Kṛṣṇa. Lord Jagannātha-deva is Kṛṣṇa, and Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu is Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Caitanya Mahāprabhu's leading Lord Jagannātha toward the Guṇḍicā temple corresponded to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s leading Kṛṣṇa toward Vṛndāvana. Śrī Kṣetra, Jagannātha Purī, was taken as the kingdom of Dvārakā, the place where Kṛṣṇa enjoys supreme opulence. But He was being led by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu to Vṛndāvana, the simple village where all the inhabitants are filled with ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa. Śrī Kṣetra is a place of aiśvarya-līlā, just as Vṛndāvana is the place of mādhurya-līlā. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's following at the rear of the ratha indicated that Lord Jagannātha, Kṛṣṇa, was forgetting the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana. Although Kṛṣṇa neglected the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana, He could not forget them. Thus in His opulent Ratha-yātrā, He was returning to Vṛndāvana. In the role of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was examining whether the Lord still remembered the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana.
Formerly, all the gopīs of Vṛndāvana were very pleased when they met with Kṛṣṇa in the holy place Kurukṣetra.
“Although We are both the same, My mind is still attracted to Vṛndāvana-dhāma. I wish that You will please again appear with Your lotus feet in Vṛndāvana.
“In Kurukṣetra there are crowds of people, elephants and horses, and also the rattling of chariots. But in Vṛndāvana there are flower gardens, and the humming of the bees and chirping of the birds can be heard.
“Here at Kurukṣetra You are dressed like a royal prince, accompanied by great warriors, but in Vṛndāvana You appeared just like an ordinary cowherd boy, accompanied only by Your beautiful flute.
“Here there is not even a drop of the ocean of transcendental happiness that I enjoyed with You in Vṛndāvana.
"I therefore request You to come to Vṛndāvana and enjoy pastimes with Me. If You do so, My ambition will be fulfilled."
"(The gopīs spoke thus:) "Dear Lord, whose navel is just like a lotus flower, Your lotus feet are the only shelter for those who have fallen into the deep well of material existence. Your feet are worshiped and meditated upon by great mystic yogīs and highly learned philosophers. We wish that these lotus feet may also be awakened within our hearts, although we are only ordinary persons engaged in household affairs.""
This is a quotation from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.82.48). The gopīs were never interested in karma-yoga, jñāna-yoga or dhyāna-yoga. They were simply interested in bhakti-yoga. Unless they were forced, they never liked to meditate on the lotus feet of the Lord. Rather, they preferred to take the lotus feet of the Lord and place them on their breasts. Sometimes they regretted that their breasts were so hard, fearing that Kṛṣṇa might not be very pleased to keep His soft lotus feet there. When those lotus feet were pricked by the grains of sand in the Vṛndāvana pasturing ground, the gopīs were pained and began to cry. The gopīs wanted to keep Kṛṣṇa at home always, and in this way their minds were absorbed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Such pure Kṛṣṇa consciousness can arise only in Vṛndāvana. Thus Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu began to explain His own mind, which was saturated in the ecstasy of the gopīs.
Speaking in the mood of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, “For most people, the mind and heart are one, but because My mind is never separated from Vṛndāvana, I consider My mind and Vṛndāvana to be one. My mind is already Vṛndāvana, and since You like Vṛndāvana, will You please place Your lotus feet there? I would deem that Your full mercy.
The mind's activities are thinking, feeling and willing, by which the mind accepts materially favorable things and rejects the unfavorable. This is the consciousness of people in general. But when one's mind does not accept and reject but simply becomes fixed on the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, then one's mind becomes as good as Vṛndāvana. Wherever Kṛṣṇa is, there also are Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, the gopīs, the cowherd boys and all the other inhabitants of Vṛndāvana. Thus as soon as one fixes Kṛṣṇa in his mind, his mind becomes identical with Vṛndāvana. In other words, when one's mind is completely free from all material desires and is engaged only in the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then one always lives in Vṛndāvana, and nowhere else.
“My dear Lord, kindly hear My true submission. My home is Vṛndāvana, and I wish Your association there. But if I do not get it, then it will be very difficult for Me to keep My life.
In Vṛndāvana, the gopīs, cowherd boys and even the calves, cows, trees and water are fully conscious of Kṛṣṇa. They are never satisfied with anything but Kṛṣṇa.
“It is amazing that You have forgotten the land of Vṛndāvana. And how is it that You have forgotten Your father, mother and friends? How have You forgotten Govardhana Hill, the bank of the Yamunā and the forest where You enjoyed the rāsa-līlā dance?
“Kṛṣṇa, You are certainly a refined gentleman with all good qualities. You are well-behaved, softhearted and merciful. I know that there is not even a tinge of fault to be found in You. Yet Your mind does not even remember the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana. This is only My misfortune, and nothing else.
“I do not care for My personal unhappiness, but when I see the morose face of mother Yaśodā and the hearts of all the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana breaking because of You, I wonder whether You want to kill them all. Or do You want to enliven them by coming there? Why are You simply keeping them alive in a state of suffering?
“The inhabitants of Vṛndāvana do not want You dressed like a prince, nor do they want You to associate with great warriors in a different country. They cannot leave the land of Vṛndāvana, and without Your presence, they are all dying. What is their condition to be?
"My dear Kṛṣṇa, You are the life and soul of Vṛndāvana-dhāma. You are especially the life of Nanda Mahārāja. You are the only opulence in the land of Vṛndāvana, and You are very merciful. Please come and let all the residents of Vṛndāvana live. Kindly keep Your lotus feet again in Vṛndāvana."
Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī did not express Her personal unhappiness at being separated from Kṛṣṇa. She wanted to evoke Kṛṣṇa's feelings for the condition of all the others in Vṛndāvana-dhāma—mother Yaśodā, Mahārāja Nanda, the cowherd boys, the gopīs, the birds and bees on the banks of the Yamunā, the water of the Yamunā, the trees, the forests and all the other paraphernalia associated with Kṛṣṇa before He left Vṛndāvana for Mathurā. These feelings of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī were manifested by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and therefore He invited Lord Jagannātha, Kṛṣṇa, to return to Vṛndāvana. That is the purport of the Ratha-yātrā car's going from Jagannātha Purī to the Guṇḍicā temple.
After hearing Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s statements, Lord Kṛṣṇa's love for the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana was evoked, and His body and mind became very much perturbed. After hearing of their love for Him, He immediately thought Himself to be always indebted to the residents of Vṛndāvana. Then Kṛṣṇa began to pacify Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī as follows.
"My dearest Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, please hear Me. I am speaking the truth. I cry day and night simply upon remembering all you inhabitants of Vṛndāvana. No one knows how unhappy this makes Me."
It is said: vṛndāvanaṁ parityajya padam ekaṁ na gacchati. In one sense, Kṛṣṇa, the original Personality of Godhead (īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ (Bs. 5.1)), does not even take one step away from Vṛndāvana. However, in order to take care of various duties, Kṛṣṇa had to leave Vṛndāvana. He had to go to Mathurā to kill Kaṁsa, and then He was taken by His father to Dvārakā, where He was busy with state affairs and disturbances created by demons. Kṛṣṇa was away from Vṛndāvana, and He was not at all happy, as He plainly disclosed to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. She is the dearmost life and soul of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and He expressed His mind to Her as follows.
Śrī Kṛṣṇa continued: “All the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana-dhāma—My mother, father, cowherd boyfriends and everything else—are like My life and soul. And among all the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana, the gopīs are My very life and soul. And among the gopīs, You, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, are the chief. Therefore You are the very life of My life.
Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is the center of all Vṛndāvana's activities. In Vṛndāvana, Kṛṣṇa is the instrument of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī; therefore all the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana still chant "Jaya Rādhe!" From Kṛṣṇa's own statement given herein, it appears that Rādhārāṇī is the Queen of Vṛndāvana and that Kṛṣṇa is simply Her decoration. Kṛṣṇa is known as Madana-mohana, the enchanter of Cupid, but Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is the enchanter of Kṛṣṇa. Consequently Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is called Madana-mohana-mohinī, the enchanter of the enchanter of Cupid.
“You are My most dear, and I know that in My absence You cannot live for a moment. Just to keep You living, I worship Lord Nārāyaṇa. By His merciful potency, I come to Vṛndāvana every day to enjoy pastimes with You. I then return to Dvārakā-dhāma. Thus You can always feel My presence there in Vṛndāvana.
Due to his intense love, the pure devotee always sees Lord Kṛṣṇa present within his heart. All glories to Govinda, the primeval Personality of Godhead! When Kṛṣṇa is not manifest before the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana, they are always absorbed in thoughts of Him. Therefore even though at that time Kṛṣṇa was living in Dvārakā, He was simultaneously present before all the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana. This was His aprakaṭa presence. Devotees who are always absorbed in thoughts of Kṛṣṇa will soon see Kṛṣṇa face to face without a doubt. In other words, devotees who are always engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and are fully absorbed in thoughts of Kṛṣṇa certainly return home, back to Godhead. They then see Kṛṣṇa directly, face to face, talk with Him and enjoy His company. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā (4.9): tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti so ’rjuna.
Because during his lifetime a pure devotee is always speaking of Kṛṣṇa and engaging in His service, as soon as he gives up his body he immediately returns to Goloka Vṛndāvana, where Kṛṣṇa is personally present. He then meets Kṛṣṇa directly. This is successful human life. This is the meaning of prakaṭeha ānibe satvara: The pure devotee will soon see the personal manifestation of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
“I have already killed all the mischievous demons who are enemies of the Yadu dynasty, and I have also killed Kaṁsa and his allies. But there are two or four demons still living. I want to kill them, and after doing so I shall very soon return to Vṛndāvana. Please know this for certain.
Just as Kṛṣṇa does not take a step away from Vṛndāvana, Kṛṣṇa's devotee also does not like to leave Vṛndāvana. However, when he has to tend to Kṛṣṇa's business, he leaves Vṛndāvana. After finishing his mission, a pure devotee returns home, back to Vṛndāvana, back to Godhead. Kṛṣṇa assured Rādhārāṇī that after killing the demons outside Vṛndāvana, He would return. "I am coming back very soon," He promised, "as soon as I have killed the few remaining demons."
“I wish to protect the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana from the attacks of My enemies. That is why I remain in My kingdom; otherwise I am indifferent to My royal position. Whatever wives, sons and wealth I maintain in the kingdom are only for the satisfaction of the Yadus.
"Your loving qualities always attract Me to Vṛndāvana. Indeed, they will bring Me back within ten or twenty days, and when I return I shall enjoy both day and night with You and all the damsels of Vrajabhūmi."
While speaking to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, Kṛṣṇa became very anxious to return to Vṛndāvana. He made Her listen to a verse which banished all Her difficulties and which assured Her that She would again attain Kṛṣṇa.
On the left side, Lord Jagannātha saw a neighborhood of brāhmaṇas and a coconut-tree grove. On the right side, He saw nice flower gardens resembling those in the holy place Vṛndāvana.
When Lord Jagannātha was seated at Sundarācala, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu saw it as Vṛndāvana.
At this time Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu felt that Lord Kṛṣṇa had returned to Vṛndāvana. Thinking this, His feelings of separation from Kṛṣṇa subsided.
There were many gardens near the Guṇḍicā temple, and Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His devotees used to perform the pastimes of Vṛndāvana in each of them. In the lake named Indradyumna, He sported in the water.
Accompanied by His devotees, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu then went into the garden and enjoyed the pastimes of Vṛndāvana.
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura has pointed out that this vṛndāvana-vihāra—the pastimes of Vṛndāvana—does not refer to Kṛṣṇa's mixing with the gopīs or the transcendental mellow of parakīya-rasa. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's vṛndāvana-līlā in the garden of Jagannātha Purī did not involve association with women or with other people's wives in the fashion transcendentally demonstrated by Śrī Kṛṣṇa. In His vṛndāvana-līlā, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu conceived of Himself as the assistant of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. When Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī enjoyed the company of Kṛṣṇa, Her maidservants were very pleased. One should not compare Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's vṛndāvana-vihāra in the garden of Jagannātha with the activities of the gaurāṅga-nāgarīs.
The Herā-pañcamī festival takes place five days after the Ratha-yātrā festival. Lord Jagannātha has left His wife, the goddess of fortune, and gone to Vṛndāvana, which is the Guṇḍicā temple.
"Although Lord Jagannātha enjoys His pastimes at Dvārakā-dhāma and naturally manifests sublime liberality there, still, once a year He becomes unlimitedly eager to see Vṛndāvana."
Pointing out the neighboring gardens, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, “All these gardens exactly resemble Vṛndāvana; therefore Lord Jagannātha is very eager to see them again.
“Externally He gives the excuse that He wants to participate in the Ratha-yātrā festival, but actually He wants to leave Jagannātha Purī to go to Sundarācala, the Guṇḍicā temple, a replica of Vṛndāvana.
Svarūpa Dāmodara replied, “My dear Lord, please hear the reason for this. Lakṣmīdevī, the goddess of fortune, cannot be admitted to the pastimes of Vṛndāvana.
"In the pastimes of Vṛndāvana, the only assistants are the gopīs. But for the gopīs, no one can attract the mind of Kṛṣṇa."
“I have heard of this kind of pride in Satyabhāmā, Kṛṣṇa's proudest queen, and I have also heard of it in the gopīs of Vṛndāvana, who are the reservoirs of all transcendental mellows.
After seeing the impudence of the goddess of fortune, Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī wanted to inform Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu about the superexcellence of the gopīs' loving affairs. He therefore said, "My Lord, I have never experienced anything like the behavior of the goddess of fortune. We sometimes see a beloved wife becoming proud of her position and then frustrated due to some neglect. She then gives up caring for her appearance, accepts dirty clothes and morosely sits on the ground and draws lines with her nails. We have heard of such egoistic pride in Satyabhāmā and the gopīs of Vṛndāvana, but what we see in the goddess of fortune here at Jagannātha Purī is completely different. She becomes very angry with her husband and attacks Him with her great opulence."
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, "Please tell me of the varieties of egoistic pride manifested in Vṛndāvana."
Svarūpa Dāmodara replied, “The pride of the gopīs is like a river flowing with hundreds of tributaries.
“"Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is the Absolute Truth, enjoyed His rāsa dance every night during the autumn season. He performed this dance in the moonlight and with full transcendental mellows. He used poetic words and surrounded Himself with women who were very much attracted to Him."
This verse is a quotation from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.33.25). The gopīs are all transcendental spirit souls. One should never think that the gopīs and Kṛṣṇa have material bodies. Vṛndāvana-dhāma is also a spiritual abode, and there the days and nights, the trees, flowers and water, and everything else are spiritual.
“Sometimes when Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is sitting or when She is going to Vṛndāvana, She sees Kṛṣṇa.
“As far as Vṛndāvana's opulence is concerned, it consists of a few flowers and twigs, some minerals from the hills, a few peacock feathers and the plant known as guñjā.
“When Jagannātha decided to see Vṛndāvana, He went there, and upon hearing this, the goddess of fortune experienced restlessness and jealousy.
“She wondered, "Why did Lord Jagannātha give up so much opulence and go to Vṛndāvana?" To make Him a laughingstock, the goddess of fortune made arrangements for much decoration.
"Svarūpa Dāmodara is a pure devotee of Vṛndāvana. He does not even know what opulence is, for he is simply absorbed in pure devotional service."
Svarūpa Dāmodara then retorted, “My dear Śrīvāsa, please hear me with attention. You have forgotten the transcendental opulence of Vṛndāvana.
“The natural opulence of Vṛndāvana is just like an ocean. The opulence of Dvārakā and Vaikuṇṭha is not even to be compared to a drop.
“Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, full of all opulences, and His complete opulences are exhibited only in Vṛndāvana-dhāma.
“Vṛndāvana-dhāma is made of transcendental touchstone. Its entire surface is the source of all valuable jewels, and the cintāmaṇi stone is used to decorate the lotus feet of the maidservants of Vṛndāvana.
“Vṛndāvana is a natural forest of desire trees and creepers, and the inhabitants do not want anything but the fruits and flowers of those desire trees.
“In Vṛndāvana there are cows that fulfill all desires (kāma-dhenus), and their number is unlimited. They graze from forest to forest and deliver only milk. The people want nothing else.
“In Vṛndāvana, the natural speech of the people sounds like music, and their natural motion resembles a dance.
“The water in Vṛndāvana is nectar, and the brahmajyoti effulgence, which is full of transcendental bliss, is directly perceived there in its form.
“The gopīs there are also goddesses of fortune, and they surpass the goddess of fortune who abides in Vaikuṇṭha. In Vṛndāvana, Lord Kṛṣṇa is always playing His transcendental flute, which is His dear companion.
“"The damsels of Vṛndāvana, the gopīs, are super goddesses of fortune. The enjoyer in Vṛndāvana is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa. The trees there are all wish-fulfilling trees, and the land is made of transcendental touchstone. The water is all nectar, the talking is singing, the walking is dancing, and the constant companion of Kṛṣṇa is His flute. The effulgence of transcendental bliss is experienced everywhere. Therefore Vṛndāvana-dhāma is the only relishable abode."
“"The anklets on the damsels of Vraja-bhūmi are made of cintāmaṇi stone. The trees are wish-fulfilling trees, and they produce flowers with which the gopīs decorate themselves. There are also wish-fulfilling cows (kāma-dhenus), which deliver unlimited quantities of milk. These cows constitute the wealth of Vṛndāvana. Thus Vṛndāvana"s opulence is blissfully exhibited.’”
Thus Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's ecstatic love was awakened by hearing the songs of Vṛndāvana. In this way He inundated Puruṣottama, Jagannātha Purī, with love of Godhead.
Thus Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu showed the Ratha-yātrā ceremony to His devotees and performed the Vṛndāvana pastimes with them.
“In Vṛndāvana You also have Your father's elder brothers, Your father's younger brothers, maternal uncles, husbands of Your father's sisters and many cowherd men. There are also cowherd boyfriends, and You eat twice a day, morning and evening, in the house of each and every one.
In Dvārakā, Lord Kṛṣṇa had eighteen mothers—Devakī, Rohiṇī and others. Besides these was His foster mother, Yaśodā, in Vṛndāvana. Lord Kṛṣṇa also had many uncles.
Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura gives the following summary of this chapter in his Amṛta-pravāha-bhāṣya. When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu wanted to go to Vṛndāvana, Rāmānanda Rāya and Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya indirectly presented many obstructions. In due course of time, all the devotees of Bengal visited Jagannātha Purī for the third year. This time, all the wives of the Vaiṣṇavas brought many types of food, intending to extend invitations to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu at Jagannātha Purī. When the devotees arrived, Caitanya Mahāprabhu sent His blessings in the form of garlands. In that year also, the Guṇḍicā temple was cleansed, and when the Cāturmāsya period was over, all the devotees returned to their homes in Bengal. Caitanya Mahāprabhu forbade Nityānanda to visit Nīlācala every year. Questioned by the inhabitants of Kulīna-grāma, Caitanya Mahāprabhu again repeated the symptoms of a Vaiṣṇava. Vidyānidhi also came to Jagannātha Purī and saw the festival of Oḍana-ṣaṣṭhī. When the devotees bade farewell to the Lord, the Lord was determined to go to Vṛndāvana, and on the day of Vijaya-daśamī, He departed. Mahārāja Pratāparudra made various arrangements for Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's trip to Vṛndāvana.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu decided to go to Vṛndāvana, and Mahārāja Pratāparudra became very morose upon hearing this news.
After this, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu Himself consulted Rāmānanda Rāya and Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, saying, "I shall go to Vṛndāvana."
Rāmānanda Rāya and Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya requested the Lord to first observe the Ratha-yātrā festival. Then when the month of Kārtika arrived, He could go to Vṛndāvana.
In this way they both presented many impediments, indirectly not granting the Lord permission to go to Vṛndāvana. They did this because they were afraid of separation from Him.
Preaching Caitanya Mahāprabhu's cult throughout the world is more important than staying in Vṛndāvana or Jagannātha Purī for one's own personal satisfaction.
The other two years, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu wanted to go to Vṛndāvana, but He could not leave Jagannātha Purī because of Rāmānanda Rāya's tricks.
Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, “My desire to go to Vṛndāvana has very much increased. Because of your tricks, I have not been able to go there for the past two years.
"I shall go to Vṛndāvana through Bengal and see both My mother and the river Ganges. Now would you two be pleased to give Me permission?"
They both said, "Now that the rainy season is here, it will be difficult for You to travel. It is better to wait for Vijayā-daśamī before departing for Vṛndāvana."
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was very pleased to thus receive their permission. He waited until the rainy season passed, and when the day of Vijayā-daśamī arrived, He departed for Vṛndāvana.
“You may see me at Nīlācala, Jagannātha Purī, when I return after visiting Vṛndāvana. By that time you can think of some trick to escape.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, "I shall certainly go to Vṛndāvana from Jagannātha Purī. If all of you give Me permission, I shall return here again without difficulty."
Clasping the feet of His mother, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu very humbly requested her permission. Thus she gave Him leave to go to Vṛndāvana.
“It was My decision to go to Vṛndāvana through Bengal in order to see My mother and the river Ganges.
“After speaking to them in this way, I bade them farewell. As I was leaving, Sanātana told Me, "It is not appropriate for one to be followed by a crowd of thousands when going to Vṛndāvana."
“I then began to consider that Vṛndāvana is a very solitary place. It is invincible and very difficult to attain. I therefore decided to go there alone or, at the utmost, with only one person.
“Mādhavendra Purī went to Vṛndāvana alone, and Kṛṣṇa, on the pretext of giving him milk, granted him an audience.
“I then understood that I was going to Vṛndāvana like a magician with his show, and this is certainly not good. No one should go to Vṛndāvana with so many men.
“I have therefore resolved to go alone or, at the utmost, with one servant. In this way, My journey to Vṛndāvana will be beautiful.
“I thought, "Instead of going to Vṛndāvana alone, I am going with soldiers and the beating of drums."
“Now I wish that you all will be pleased with Me and give Me good consultation. Tell Me how I shall be able to go to Vṛndāvana without impediments.
"I left Gadādhara Paṇḍita here, and he became very unhappy. For this reason I could not go to Vṛndāvana."
Gadādhara Paṇḍita said, “Wherever You stay is Vṛndāvana, as well as the river Yamunā, the river Ganges and all other places of pilgrimage.
"Although wherever You stay is Vṛndāvana, You will still go to Vṛndāvana just to instruct people. Otherwise, You will do whatever You think best."
It was not essential for Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu to go to Vṛndāvana, for wherever He stayed was immediately converted to Vṛndāvana. Indeed, at that place were also the river Ganges, the river Yamunā and all other places of pilgrimage. This was also expressed by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu Himself when He danced in the Ratha-yātrā. At that time He said that His very mind was Vṛndāvana (mora-mana—vṛndāvana). Because His mind was Vṛndāvana, all the pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa were taking place within Himself. Nonetheless, just to teach people, He visited bhauma-vṛndāvana, Vṛndāvana-dhāma in this material world. In this way the Lord instructed everyone to visit Vṛndāvana-dhāma, which is a very holy place.
Materialists consider Vṛndāvana-dhāma an unclean city because there are many monkeys and dogs there, and along the bank of the Yamunā there is refuse. Some time ago, a materialistic man asked me, "Why are you living in Vṛndāvana? Why have you selected such a dirty place to live after retiring?" Such a person cannot understand that the earthly Vṛndāvana-dhāma is always a representation of the original Vṛndāvana-dhāma. Consequently Vṛndāvana-dhāma is as worshipable as Lord Kṛṣṇa. Ārādhyo bhagavān vrajeśa-tanayas tad-dhāma vṛndāvanam: according to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's philosophy, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa and His abode, Vṛndāvana, are equally worshipable. Sometimes materialistic people who have no spiritual understanding go to Vṛndāvana as tourists. One who goes to Vṛndāvana with such materialistic vision cannot derive any spiritual benefit. Such a person is not convinced that Kṛṣṇa and Vṛndāvana are identical. Since they are identical, Vṛndāvana is as worshipable as Lord Kṛṣṇa. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's vision (mora-mana—vṛndāvana) is different from the vision of an ordinary materialistic person. At the Ratha-yātrā festival, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, absorbed in the ecstasy of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, dragged Lord Kṛṣṇa back to Vṛndāvana-dhāma.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu personally renovated Vṛndāvana-dhāma and advised His chief disciples, Rūpa and Sanātana, to develop it and open it to attract the spiritual vision of the general populace. At present there are about five thousand temples in Vṛndāvana, and still our society, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, is constructing a huge, magnificent temple for the worship of Lord Kṛṣṇa and Lord Balarāma, along with Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and Guru-Gaurāṅga. Since there is no prominent Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma temple in Vṛndāvana, we are attempting to construct one so that people will be attracted to Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma, or Nitāi-Gauracandra. Vrajendra-nandana yei, śacī suta haila sei. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura says that Balarāma and the son of Mahārāja Nanda have advented Themselves as Gaura-Nitāi. To propagate this fundamental principle, we are establishing a Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma temple to broadcast to the world that worship of Gaura-Nitāi is the same as worship of Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma.
Although it is very difficult to enter into the Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa pastimes, most of the devotees of Vṛndāvana are attracted to the rādhā-kṛṣṇa-līlā. However, since Nitāi-Gauracandra are direct incarnations of Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa, we can be directly in touch with Lord Balarāma and Lord Kṛṣṇa through Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Nityānanda Prabhu. Those who are highly elevated in Kṛṣṇa consciousness can enter into the pastimes of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa through the mercy of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. It is said, śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya rādhā-kṛṣṇa nahe anya: "Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu is a combination of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa."
Sometimes materialists, forgetting the pastimes of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma, go to Vṛndāvana, accept the land's spiritual facilities and engage in material activity. This is against the teachings of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. The prākṛta-sahajiyās proclaim themselves vraja-vāsīs or dhāma-vāsīs, but they are mainly engaged in sense gratification. Thus they become more and more implicated in the materialistic way of life. Those who are pure devotees in Kṛṣṇa consciousness condemn their activities. The eternal vraja-vāsīs like Svarūpa Dāmodara did not even come to Vṛndāvana-dhāma. Śrī Puṇḍarīka Vidyānidhi, Śrī Haridāsa Ṭhākura, Śrīvāsa Paṇḍita, Śivānanda Sena, Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya, Śrī Śikhi Māhiti, Śrī Mādhavīdevī and Śrī Gadādhara Paṇḍita Gosvāmī never visited Vṛndāvana-dhāma. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura points out that we have no authorized documents stating that these exalted personalities visited Vṛndāvana. Nonetheless, we find many nondevotees, Māyāvādī sannyāsīs, prākṛta-sahajiyās, fruitive workers, mental speculators and many others with material motives going to Vṛndāvana to live. Many of these people go there to solve their economic problems by becoming beggars. Although anyone living in Vṛndāvana somehow or other is benefited, the real Vṛndāvana is appreciated only by a pure devotee. As stated in the Brahma-saṁhitā, premāñjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena (Bs. 5.38). When one has purified eyes, he can see that Śrī Vṛndāvana and the original Goloka Vṛndāvana planet in the spiritual sky are identical.
Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, Śrīnivāsa Ācārya, Śrīla Jagannātha dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, Śrī Bhagavān dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja and Śrīla Gaurakiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, and later Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura of Calcutta, always engaged in nāma-bhajana and certainly did not live anywhere but Vṛndāvana. Presently, the members of the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement throughout the world live in materially opulent cities, such as London, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Moscow, Zurich and Stockholm. However, we are satisfied with following in the footsteps of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and other ācāryas. Because we live in the temples of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and continuously hold hari-nāma-saṅkīrtana—the chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa—we consequently live in Vṛndāvana and nowhere else. We are also following in the footsteps of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu by attempting to construct a temple in Vṛndāvana for our disciples throughout the world to visit.