Sri Garga Samhita, The Worship of Sri
Srila Rupa Gosvami`s SRI HAMSADUTA
Canto Three, Chapter One
The Worship of Sri Giriraj
Text 1 Sri Bahulasva asked Narada: Why did Lord Krishna
lift Govardhan Hill as a child playfully lifts a mushroom.
Text 2 O best of sages, please tell that wonderful and glorious transcendental pastime of Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Text 3 Sri Narada said: As citizens pay an annual tax to their king, so the gopas, farmers all, at the end of each monsoon season offered a tribute to Indra.
Text 4 Noticing the arrangements for the indra-yajna, as the gopas listened, Krishna asked a question of King Nanda.
Text 5 Sri Krishna said: What is the result of this worship of Indra? Do they say it brings a material result or a spiritual result?
Text 6 Sri Nanda said: Worship of Indra brings both sense gratification and liberation. Without it a person cannot be happy in this world.
Text 7 Sri Krishna said: Indra and the other demigods enjoy living in Svargaloka because of their past karma. When their good karma is exhausted they again enter the world of humans. Please understand that worshiping them does not bring liberation.
Text 8 Even the demigod Brahma is afraid of that, so what may be said of fruitive workers on the earth? They are are actually wise say that endless time is the most powerful, the supreme.
Text 9 With all their heart renouncing all material pious results, the wise take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and worship Him with the best of pious deeds. They, and not others, attain final liberation.
Text 10 The cows, saintly persons, fire-gods, demigods, Vedas, and principles of religion are all potencies of Lord Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They who, instead of worshiping the demigods, worship Lord Hari, attain happiness in this life and the next.
Text 11 The hill named Govardhan is the king of the kings of the kings of mountains. It was born from Lord Hari's own chest. It has come here by the power of Pulastya Muni. By seeing it one becomes free from having to take birth again in this world.
Text 12 First worship the cows, brahmanas, and demigods, and then make a great offering to Govardhan Hill. That offering is the king of yajnas and it is very dear to Me. If you do not desire to make that offering, then do whatever you wish.
Text 13 Sri Narada said: Among them the elderly gopa Sannanda, who throughly knew the real principles of religion, became very pleased. As bewildered Nanda listened, Sannanda spoke to Lord Krishna.
Text 14 Sri Sannanda said: Dear son of Nanda, You are wealthy with a great treasury of transcendental knowledge. How should the hill be worshiped? Please truthfully tell.
Text 15 Sri Krishna said: A person who controls his senses and engages in devotional service should collect the ingredients for the worship, anoint Govardhan Hill with cow-dung, . . .
Text 16 . . . and, as he chants the mantras for the thousand-headed Purusa, with other brahmanas bathe the hill with Ganga water and Yamuna water.
Text 17 Then he should bathe the hill with streams of white milk, panamrta, fragrant flowers, and then Yamuna water again.
Text 18 Then he should offer splendid garments, food, a great throne, many garlands and ornaments, and many lamps.
Text 19 Then he should circumambulate the hill, offer obeisances, and with folded hands recite this mantra:
Text 20 namo vrndavanakaya tubhyam goloka-mauline purna-brahmatapatraya namo govardhanaya ca
Obeisances to you, who are Goloka's crown and the lap where Vrndavana forest grows! Obeisances to Govardhan Hill, the Supreme Personality of Godhead's parasol!
Text 21 Then he should offer a handful of flowers and then, as mrdangas, karatalas and other musical instruments make sweet sounds, he should offer arati to Govardhan Hill.
Text 22 Then he should chant the mantra that begins with "vedaham", and then he should throw a shower of grains. In this way he should worship the hill. Then with great faith he should place a hill of food near Govardhan Hill.
Note: The mantra here is Sri Svetasvatara Upanisad 3.8:
vedaham etam purusam mahantam aditya-varnam tamasah purastat
tam eva viditvati-mrtyum eti nanyah pantha vidyate 'yanaya
"I know that Supreme Personality of Godhead who is transcendental to all material conceptions of darkness. Only he who knows Him can transcend the bonds of birth and death. There is no way for liberation other than this knowledge of the Supreme Person."
Text 23 Then he should offer four, six, and five cups of Ganga and Yamuna water mixed with tulasi leaves.
Text 24 Then, with a peaceful heart, he should serve Govardhan Hill by offering it a feast of fifty-six kinds of food. Then with fragrant flowers he should worship the fire-gods, brahmanas, cows, and demigods.
Text 25 After feeding the exalted brahmanas with fragrant and delicious foods, he should also give excellent foods to the others, even down to the dogeaters.
Text 26 Then he should have the gopas and gopis dance among the cows and call out "Victory!" In this way he should perform a festival to worship Govardhan Hill.
Text 27 Now please hear how this worship should be performed when one is not near Govardhan Hill. One should make from cow-dung a model of Govardhan Hill.
Text 28 Human beings on this earth should decorate thet model with many flowers, blades of grass, and a network of vines, and regularly offer worship to it.
Text 29 A person who has a mountain of gold but does not use it to worship a stone he has taken from Govardhan Hill, goes to a terrible hell.
Text 30 A person who regularly worships the Lord's form as Salagrama-sila is not touched by hell as a lotus leaf is not touched by water.
Text 31 An exalted brahmana who reularly serves a stone from Govardhan Hill attains the result of having bathed in all the holy rivers and lakes in the seven worlds.
Text 32 A person who year after year elaborately worships Govardhan Hill attains all happiness in this life and liberation in the next.
Canto Three, Chapter Two
The Great Festival of Sri Giriraj
Text 1 Sri Narada said: Hearing Sri Krishna's words, Nanda, Sannanda, and the other rulers of Vraja were filled with wonder. Abandoning what they had done, they performed the worship of Govardhan Hill.
Text 2 O king of Mithila, taking many offerings, King Nanda, Yasoda, their two sons Krishna and Balarama, and Garga Muni, all eager and joyful, went to worship Govardhan Hill.
Text 3 Quickly climbing on a wonderfully decorated great elephant chained with golden shackles, Nanda went, with the many cows and with the wealth of the autumn harvest, to the edge of Govardhan Hill. He looked like Indra Himself, accompanied by his beloved.
Text 4 Bringing the ingredients for the performing the yajna, the Nandas, Upanandas, and Vrsabhanus, along with their wives, children, and grandchildren, went to Govardhan Hill.
Text 5 Dressed in splendid garments and jewel ornaments, and eager as a cakori bird or a bumblebee, as She rode in a palanquin with Her friends, Radha looked like Saci herself.
Text 6 O king, nicely decorated, gracefully moving two beautiful camaras, accompanied by millions of gopi friends, and their faces splendid as two moons, Radha's best friends, Lalita and Visakha, gloriously stood by Her side.
Text 7 Then Rama, Viraja, Madhavi, Maya, Yamuna, and Ganga, accompanied by thirty-two, eight, and sixteen groups of gopis, arrived.
Text 8 In their previous births these gopis had been the women of Mithila, the women of Kosala, the personified Vedas, the great sages, the women of Ayodhya, the Yajna-Sitas, the women of the forest, . . .
Text 9 . . . the women of Vaikuntha, who have Rama as their leader, the women of the highest Vaikuntha realm, the women of various effulgent realms, the women of Dhruvaloka and Lokacala, . . .
Text 10 . . . Laksmi's friends splendid with three transcendental virtues, the women riding in airplanes, vines and plants, jalandharis, the daughters of the ocean, the daughters of King Barhismati, the women of Sutalaloka, . . .
Text 11 . . . the apsaras, and all the serpent king's daughters. Now, as girls of Vraja, nicely decorated, and their hands splendid with many offerings, they approached Govardhan Hill.
Text 12 Then the gopa men, adolescents, and boys, dressed in yellow garments, wearing turbans crowned with peacock feathers, decorated with beautiful necklaces, gunja, and forest garlands, and holding new flutes and sticks, came.
Text 13 Hearing of the Govardhan festival from my mouth, carrying the Ganga in his matted locks, wearing a necklace of skulls, his body anointed with the powder of bones, decorated with a necklace and bracelets of many snakes, . . .
Text 14 . . . reeling from having drunk dhattura poison, acompanied by Parvati and his many associates, and riding on his carrier Nandi, Lord Siva came to the circle of Govardhan Hill.
Text 15 Many thousands of rajarsis, viprarsis, surarsis, siddhesas, yogesvaras, paramahamsas, and brahmanas came to see Govardhan Hill.
Text 16 O king, its stones jewels, its many peaks golden, and its form splendid with intoxicated bees, beautiful caves,and swiftly-flowing streams, Govardhan Hill was like a great elephant.
Text 17 Then, manifesting humanlike forms and bearing auspicious gifts in their hands, the mountain kings, headed by Mount Meru and Mount Himalaya, offered their respectful obeisances, bowing down to the humanlike form of Govardhan Hill.
Text 18 Following Krishna's instruction, Nanda, the king of Vraja, had many brahmanas worship Govardhan Hill. Then Nanda worshiped the brahmanas, fire-gods, and cows, and then gave a very opulent offering to Govardhan Hill.
Text 19 Pleased by the earnestly singing Nandas, Upanandas, Vrsabhanus, gopas, and gopis, Lord Krishna circumambulated Govardhan Hill, the king of mountains.
Text 20 As the demigods showered flowers and the Vrajavasis showered grains, Govardhan Hill, the great king of the kings of the kings of mountains, glistened with great glory, as if it were a great monarch in the midst of a yajna.
Text 21 Manifesting a gigantic form different from His own, Lord Krishna appeared from the midst of Govardhan Hill. Declaring, I am this hill," He ate the entire hill of food that was offered.
Text 22 Seeing Govardhan Hill's great power and opulence, and their hearts full of joy and wonder, the gopas and gopis asked the hill to grant them a benediction.
Text 23 They said, "The gopas know that You are the Deity worshiped by the kings of mountains. Nanda's son Krishna has shown Your true nature to us. Please grant that day after day our relatives, friends, and cows may prosper."
Text 24 Manifesting a handsome divine form decorated with crown and armlets, Govardhan Hill, the king of the kings of mountains, said, "So be it," and suddenly disappeared.
Texts 25/26 The Nandas, Upanandas, Vrsabhanus, Balarama, Sucandra, King Vrsabhanu, King Nanda, Krishna, all the gopas, gopis, and cows, the brahmanas, the siddhas and yogesvaras headed by Lord Siva, as well as everyone else bowed down and worshiped Govardhan Hill. Then, happy at heart, and all their desires fulfilled, they returned to their own homes.
Text 27 In this way I have described to you Sri Krishnacandra's transcendental pastime of offering a great festival to worship Govardhan Hill, the king of the kings of mountains. This wonderful and purifying narration frees the people from the greatest sins.
Canto Three, Chapter Three
The Lifting of Sri Govardhan
Text 1 Sri Narada said: When from my mouth he heard that his sacrifice had been stopped and a festival for Govardhan Hill performed in its place, Indra became furious.
Text 2 Unleashing the samvartaka clouds used at the time of cosmic destruction, Indra sent them to destroy Vraja.
Text 3 The clouds thundered with anger. They were many wonderful colors, some black, some yellow, some green, . . .
Text 4 . . . some the color of an indragopa insect, some the color of camphor, and some the color of blue lotuses.
Text 5 Furious, they showered raindrops as big as elephants and thunderbolts as big as elephants' trunks.
Text 6 Big as mountain peaks, millions of rocks fell. The wind threw away many trees and houses.
Text 7 O king of Mithila, the earth was filled with ferocious, terrifying, and devastating sounds of thunder.
Text 8 The entire universe, with the seven planetary systems and the expanses of outer space, echoed with the sounds of thunder. The elephants holding the directions trembled. The stars fell to the circle of the earth.
Text 9 Wishing to save themselves, the gopas and their families, with the children in front, ran to Nanda's palace.
Text 10 Terrified, the people of Vraja bowed down before the two Supreme Lords, Krishna and Balarama, surrendered to Them, and took shelter of Them.
Text 11 The gopas said: Balarama! Balarama! O mighty-armed! Krishna! Krishna! O master of Vraja! Save, save Your people from these calamities brought by Indra!
Text 12 By Your word we stopped the indra-yajna and offered a festival for Govardhan Hill. Now Indra is angry. What should we do? Please tell us!
Text 13 Seeing the gopas, gopis, cows, calves, and all of Gokula very upset, calm and peaceful Krishna spoke to the gopas.
Text 14 Sri Krishna said: Don't be afraid. With your dependents go to Govardhan Hill. He accepted our worship. He will protect us.
Text 15 Sri Narada said: After speaking these words, Lord Krishna went, with His own people, to Govardhan Hill. Lifting the hill, Krishna playfully held it aloft with one hand.
Text 16 As a child effortlessly holds a mushroom, or as an elephant holds a lotus in its tongue, so Sri Krishna, the prince of Vraja, the kind Supreme Personality of Godhead, held Govardhan Hill.
Text 17 Lord Krishna said to the gopas: Father, mother, kings of the gopas, take your relatives, associates, household paraphernalia, wealth, and cows, and go beneath the hill. There you need not fear Indra.
Text 18 When they heard Lord Krishna word's, the gopas took their families, cows, and household paraphernalia, and went under the hill.
Text 19 O king, when Krishna asked, Balarama and all the boys His age steadied the the hill with their sticks.
Text 20 Seeing a great flood of water coming, in His mind Lord Krishna ordered Lord Sesa and the Sudarsana-cakra to come under the hill.
Text 21 Brilliant as ten million suns, the Sudarsana-cakra hovered above the hill and drank up the falling streams of water as Agastya Muni drank up the ocean.
Text 22 Coiling Himself around the hill, Sesa stopped the incoming flood as a shoreline stops the waters of an ocean.
Text 23 For seven days Lord Krishna steadily held Govardhan Hill. As if they had become cakora birds, the stunned gopas gazed at Lord Krishnacandra.
Text 24 Mounting his maddened elephant Airavata, and accompanied by his armies, furious Indra went to the circle of Vraja.
Text 25 Wishing to destroy Nanda's village, Indra threw his thunderbolt from far away. Krishna suddenly paralyzed both the thunderbolt and the arm that threw it.
Text 26 Terrified, Indra fled with the demigods and samvartaka clouds as if he were an elephant wounded by a lion.
Text 27 Suddenly the sun rose. The clouds were gone, the winds stopped, and the streams carried very little water.
Text 28 The ground dried up, the sky became clear, and the animals and birds became happy.
Text 29 By Krishna's order the gopas, taking their wealth and cows with them, slowly emerged from under the hill.
Text 30 Then Krishna, the lifter of Govardhan Hill, said to His friends, "Go out." They said to Him, "You go first. We will hold the hill with our own strength."
Text 31 Then Lord Krishna, the lifter of Govardhan Hill, shifted half of the hill's weight to the talkative gopa boys.
Text 32 That burden made the gopa boys fall, devastated, to the ground.
Text 33 With one hand Krishna picked them all up. Then, as everyone watched, with a playful flourish Krishna set the hill down where it was before.
Text 34 O king, the gopas and gopis, now understanding that Nanda's son Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, worshiped Him, showered Him with unbroken grains of rice, offered Him many foods made with milk and yogurt, and humbly bowed down before Him.
Text 35 O king, then Nanda, Yasoda, Rohini, and the gopa elders headed by Sannanda, embraced Krishna, gave Him great wealth, and, filled with kindness and love, spoke many benedictions blessing Him.
Text 36 O king, singing, dancing, and playing musical instruments, the people of Vraja approached Lord Krishna and worshiped Him. In this way all their desires were fulfilled.
Text 37 Then the jubilant demigods showered beautiful flowers grown in the beautiful Nandana gardens, and the Gandharvas and Siddhas in the higher planets sang the glories of Sri Krishna, the lifter of Govardhan Hill.
Canto Three, Chapter Four
The Coronation-Bathing of Sri Krishna
Text 1 Sri Narada said: Then, accompanied by the demigods, Indra went to a secluded place on Govardhan Hill and bowed down before Lord Krishna.
Text 2 Sri Indra said: You are the master of the demigods, the supreme controller, the Lord who is perfect and complete, the oldest, the supreme person greater than the greatest and above the material energy, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Hari. O master of the spiritual sky, O master of the universes, please save me! Please save me!
Text 3 You are the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, perfect and complete, who descends as the ten avataras. Desiring to protect the Vedic scriptures and the cows of piety, and desiring also to kill the demons headed by Kamsa, You have taken birth in this world.
Text 4 O master of the spiritual sky, as a father forgives his son, please forgive me, a proud fool bewildered by Your illusory potency, a fool who has become a great reservoir of offenses to You. O master of the demigods, O home where the universes dwell, please be kind to me.
om namo govardhanoddharanaya govindaya gokula-nivasaya gopalaya gopala-pataye gopi-jana-bhartre giri-gajoddhartre karuna-nidhaye jagad-vidhaye jagan-mangalaya jagan-nivasaya jagan-mohanaya koti-manmatha-manmathaya vrsabhanu-suta-varaya sri-nanda-raja-kula-pradipaya sri-Krishnaya paripurnatamaya te 'sankhya-brahmanda-pataye goloka-dhama-dhisanadhipataye svayam-bhagavate sa-balaya namas te namas te.
Om. Obeisances! Obeisances to You! Obeisances to You, the lifter of Govardhan Hill, the pleasure of the cows, land, and senses, the Lord who resides in Gokula as the protector of the cows, the master of the gopas, the husband of the gopis, the lifter of the elephant among mountains, an ocean of mercy, the creator of the universes, the auspiciousness of the universes, the home where the universes dwell, the enchanter of the universes, the enchanter of many millions of Kamadevas, the lover of King Vrsabhanu's daughter, a lamp shining in King Nanda's family, all-attractive Sri Krishna, the perfect and complete original Supreme Personality of Godhead, the master of countless universes, the master of the transcendental abode of Goloka, the companion of Balarama!
Text 6 Sri Narada said: A person who, rising in the morning, recites these prayers of Indra attains all perfections. Dangers will not make him fear.
Text 7 After offering these prayers, Indra folded his hands and, accompanied by all the demigods, bowed down before Lord Krishna.
Text 8 Then, on beautiful Govardhan Hill, the surabhi cow born from the milk-ocean bathed the gopa-king Krishna with great streams of milk.
Text 9 Its four trunks filled with celestial Ganga water, the intoxicated elephant Airavata bathed Lord Krishna.
Text 10 Then the joyful devas, kinnaras, gandharvas, rsis, and personified Vedas offered prayers to Lord Krishna and showered HIm with flowers.
Text 11 When the coronation bathing of Sri Krishna was completed noble Govardhan Hill became to melt with joy.
Text 12 Pleased, the Lord left the mark of His lotus hand on the melting hill. O king, even today that handprint can be seen on Govardhan Hill.
Text 13 O king of Mithila, know that the footprints Krishna left there are a great holy place that destroys the people's sins.
Text 14 O king of Mithila, next to Lord Krishna footprints were the surabhi cow's hoofprints.
Text 15 O king of Mithila, the celestial Ganga water that bathed Lord Krishna on Govardhan Hill became the Manasa-ganga lake, which destroys all sins.
Text 16 O king, the streams of the surabhi cow's milk that bathed Lord Krishna on Govardhan Hill became the Govinda-kunda lake, which destroys the greatest sins.
Text 17 Sometimes the water in that lake tastes like delicious milk. One who bathes there attains Lord Krishna's feet.
Text 18 Circumambulating Lord Krishna, bowing down, making many offerings, calling out, "All glories!" and showering Him with flowers, the happy demigods returned to their celestial abode.
Text 19 A person who hears this narration of Sri Krishna's ceremonial bathing attains a result much greater than the result of ten asvamedha-yajnas. He attains the supreme creator's transcendental abode.
Let my heart become the abode of that eternal delightful Lord Sri Krishna Who is attired in garments more lustruosly yellow than orpiment, the bottoms of Whose feet are comparable only to the crimson jaba flower and Whose lotus face perpetually radiates indescribable and extraordinary beauty through a graceful smile.
Since the day Hari left His father King Nanda’s house and started for Mathura in the accompaniment of Gandhini’s son Akrura, Srimati Radharani has been thrown into a fathomless river of reminiscence which is filled with waters of suffering and is distinguished by whirlpool of dizziness.
One day Srimati Radharani went to the bank of the Yamuna with her dearest friends being desirous of extinguishing the fire of separation in which she was burning. However, upon seeing a cottage which was the site of her many meetings with Krishna, she again became intensely absorbed in those memories. At that time her friend Susupti(1) came and rendered her unconscious to protect her from the agony of remembrance.
Radharani’s sakhis lay her motionless body on a bed of soft lotus stems and surrounding her began to fan her with lotus leaves. Due to their intense love for her they began to fear that some great adversity was imminent and they began to cry with such intensity that the waves of the Yamuna began to break higher and higher with their tears.
Lalita then held the quiet Radha against her breast and sprinkled her with the Yamuna’s water from the lotus leaf with which she was fanning. Radha’s throat quivered with the faintest signs of breathing at which sight the sakhis, relieved, rejoiced loudly.
Lalita again put Srimati Radharani down to lie on the lotus bed and rose to bring water for her from the river. As she stepped forward she saw a beautiful, dazzling white swan moving towards her most gracefully while making a sweet sound.
Lalita became a little encouraged at the sight of the charming bird and welcomed it respectfully. Stepping lightly toward it out of curiosity she became more and more eagerly hopeful and began to believe that this bird was a suitable qualified messenger to convey the depressed state of their minds to Krishna in Mathura.
Thinking of Krishna’s cruel departure to Mathura and abandonment of Radha and the other cowherd girls, Lalita felt intolerant. In this mood of loving enviousness she began to explain her heartfelt wishes to the swan. One should not think that there is any fault in her appealing to a dumb animal like this for the nature of Krishna-prem is that it makes the soul innocent and thus seeing Krishna everywhere the devotee has faith in everyone in the whole universe.
Lalita then addressed the swan, saying, "Oh king of the birds! You reside in the pure water of the holy site of pilgrimage and you take pleasure in feeding upon the stems of the lotuses and are hardly interested in the ephemeral things of this world. Thus, we recognize you to be a great soul. With this belief in mind and considering your magnanimity, I seek your help for I am a very distressed and weak woman. Kindly oblige me for I know that one who seeks the shelter of a noble person is never disappointed.
Krishna is famous for His romantic nature but we know that this is His deception. He has thrown us into oblivion so long ago and gone to live happily in the city of Mathura while we are being constantly scorched by the fire of separation. Please take pity on us and immediately rush to Mathura and narrate the condition of our pained hearts to Him.
Oh dear swan, I bless you that your journey to Mathura will be safe and God speed your way. Kindly have compassion on us and don’t delay a moment. Spread your wings in the sky with a joyous heart and let the playful children of the cowherd men run beneath you with their eyes cast at you flying above.
Oh, king of the birds! Please give me your attention as I shall explain to you the route to be traversed. Follow the universally famous road to Mathura along which the merciless Akrura speedily led the most beautiful youth Who is the master of our lives.
Oh bird! Go along that path upon which you see the gopis whose cheeks are be-drenched in the tears gushing from their doe-like eyes. Even now they are suffering from intense absorption in the desire to be reunited with their lover. Follow that road marked with the wheels of the chariot which exulted at the touch of His lotus feet.
Oh friend, please drink the fragrant waters of the Yamuna which are as blue as the jambu fruit and satisfy yourself with some tender lotus stem which are soft and as cooling as camphor. Then rest a while under the deep shadows of this large-branched tree before starting for Mathura.
Oh feathered friend! when Akrura charioted away the master of our hearts, the gopis followed to a great distance grieving loudly. Follow the path they took on that day and I guarantee you that your achievement of the highest perfection of spiritual life will be assured, you shall truly become worthy of the name "parama hamsa".
Oh dear swan! One day Krishna suddenly stole our garments while we were bathing in the Yamuna and climbed up a kadamba-tree Then he made us reveal our theretofore secret love for Him. You may enjoy resting on the branches of that tree whose thick foliage prevents the sun’s scorching rays from penetrating therein.
In this place Krishna distributed the loveliness of His form in the ten directions as He began the Rasa dance by playing sweetly on the simple flute which kissed His lips, expanding waves of supreme joy. He wore His peacock-feathered head-dress and a most precious silk cloth which glowed like gold; His body was a glossy black like the tamal-tree. How sweet was He and the sound of His flute on that day!
That site of Hari’s rasa-lila is decorated by the black of the musk which dripped from the bodies of the cowherd maidens as they danced, engrossed in those loving pastimes with their Lord. That place where the gopis danced in circles is still shining with pulverized malati flowers. Oh swan! When you see this Rasa-sthali you will experience divine beatitude.
Nearby to the rasa playground stands Govinda’s passion pavilion, shaded with creepers of madhavi flowers. I forewarn you, do not cast your eyes at that retreat of Hari’s lest your heart should erupt in celestial joy - for then you will become rooted to the spot and shall never be able to proceed to Mathura. If that should happen, we gopis shall surely die.
No, no, never mind. Take a look at that place of Krishna’s most intimate pastimes because such a vision will purify your heart. Even though your being delayed will interfere with the speedy fulfillment of our desire, still it will not go in vain, for anything, any quality, is only of value if it helps one to remain conscious of Krishna always.
Upon hearing the irresistible sounds of His melodious flute only once the gopis used to hastily rush towards Govardhan Hill to meet with Krishna. There many flowered cottages cover the hill just for Krishna’s enjoyment of the intimate loving companionship of the gopis and thus Govardhan is an eye-witness of all these goings-on.
Krishna used to lie on the large stones of the hill when taking the cows out to pasture there, for Govardhan is the well-wisher of the cows. Feast your eyes on that mount for it will arouse great delight in you at a single glance.
Govardhan became a knower of rasa due to having received the touch of Krishna’s hand. We believe that Govardhan Hill is the greatest of all the mountains on the earth. He established the truth of his own name when he vanquished the enemy of his own clan, Indra2.
At the foot of Govardhan is a tamal-tree upon seeing which the tribal women have become agitated; their bodies have become empassonied due to constantly remembering Govinda. When you fly past them the wind stirred by your wings moistened with Yamuna water will instantly soothe them, even if only for a moment.
Not far from there is another grove of kadamba trees where Radha’s lover displayed His expertise in the arrangement of exciting ways of dealing with women by demanding taxes from the gopis in a spirit of amorous altercation. If you rest under those kadamba trees for even a moment you will experience rapturous bliss. If not, then your reputation as an enjoyer of rasas will all be in vain.
On the outskirts of Vrindavan you will see the dried skull of the Aristasura demon, as white as the clouds of the autumn season. These decaying bones are often mistaken for the mountain Kailash by the servants of Kuvera and companions of Siva who try to ascend to its peak.
The condition of the gopis has become extremely acute due to their separation from their Lord - seeing them one would not think that they are still alive. I humbly request you to proceed to Mathura quacking sonorously as that sound will pass for the sound of Hari’s ankle bells which when heard by the gopis will cause the return of the life airs which have now all but deserted their bodies.
Dear messenger! I request you to dwell for sometimes upon the deep-blue colored branches of the Bhandira tree which looks so brilliantly beautiful in the bright sunshine. While you sit there inundated by the sun’s rays it will appear as if Narayan has appeared holding the conch and disc and is about to cover the sky in His form as Trivikram3.
Oh most clever one! If you go to the place where the grasses were sprinkled with the pure tears of love which flowed from Brahma’s eyes as he sang Krishna’s praises, then the forest sylphs will assume that Brahma himself has returned on his swan carrier.
On the occasion of Krishna’s fight with the serpent Kaliya, the gopis rushed anxiously to the Yamuna to see what was going on, but the path became so slippery from the tears which spurted in stream from their eyes that they became unable to proceed steadily as they stumbled and fell. Thus delayed, their anxiety increased so much that the state of their minds became quite indescribable.
But Murari was simply dancing on the heads of that monstrous serpent Kaliya, displaying His superhuman talents as well as heroism. At that time the ruby-red jewels from the snake’s foreheads fell into the Yamuna’s bluish waters producing a beautiful violet effect. Oh dear one, please taste the holy waters of that lake which is scented by the fragrant pollen of the kadamba trees which stand on its banks.
In a spot near Kaliya lake you will come across the goddess Vrinda Devi who lives there in the shape of a tulasi plant. Her body is wilting due to the fire of separation from Krishna; her lamentation increases when she sees the new flowerbuds appearing on her branches4. Only she can really appreciate the anguish of the gopis and therefore you must honour her with all humility and reverence.
Thus you will traverse the eleven groves of Sri Krishna where the peacocks melodies are echoing and you shall reach the twelfth forest known as Madhuvana which is densely shaded by mango trees. There stands gloriously the capital of the Yadu dynasty whose fame purify the earth.
There in that city you shall find innumerable grand mansions as tall and glorious as Mount Kailash adorned pleasingly with colourful stone pillars. The gardens there are resplendent with flowering trees and you will derive great delight when you see this pleasing abode of the Yadus beautifying the banks of the Yamuna.
At some place in that city of Mathura you will see the bull on whom Lord Siva mounts, Nandisvara, grazing on tender grasses. Elsewhere, Lord Brahma’s swan carrier is eating the stems of lotus flowers. Somewhere you will find the peacock mount of Kartikeya grappling venomous serpents and in another place again you will be able to see the elephant carrier of Lord Indra, Airavata, happily munching the leaves of the sallaki tree.
When Krishna first entered Mathura, the ladies of the town were heard to speak in the following way: "Oh dear one, can’t you feel that your apparel has loosened? Aren’t you aware that the jewels from your necklace are sliding off one by one and falling on the road? The litany of Govinda’s glorious acts has inebriated you so much that even the town-harlots will mock at your hardearned reputation of chastity."
Another Mathura beauty said, "Oh foolish one, there is no more need of dressing-up now! Stop, I know that my left foot has not been painted with vermilion, even so I must go right away. I can hear the loud hubbub of the crowds of women out in the street as they come out to look at Vrindavan’s personified Cupid come passing by.
Looking at Krishna one maiden said: "When the destroyer of Kamsa adorned with lustrous Ashoka flowers rides His chariot, the avenues of the town are flooded with ecstasy by His glances." Hearing her, her girlfriends said, "Oh dearest friend! Why are you pushing us aside to occupy the entire window alone gazing with fixed eyes? Won’t you allow us to also have a glance at what you see?"
"Dear friend, what are your eager eyes searching for in the void? What are you absorbed in. sitting here alone? You don’t heed the hundreds of messages spoken to you by your friends. Oh lotus-eyed one, from such gestures we surmise that youthful Syamasundar who is the colour of a beautiful new black cloud has crossed the field of your vision.
"Dear friend! Don’t allow the helpless tears to roll down your cheeks any more - Krishna will shortly come to accept your affectionate glances." In this way the ladies of Mathura talked amongst themselves when Krishna came into the town on the first day He arrived there.
"Oh dear swan, the women of Mathura can always see the eternally delightful form of Hari and thus enjoy heavenly bliss, little caring that they have placed the burden of endless calamities squarely on the heads of the cowherd maidens of Vrindavan. A view of these women is sure to make you happy, giving all satisfaction to your eyes.
"Oh dear swan, passing by the palace of the Vrisnis you will find your way into the interior of Krishna’s house so famous for the complexities of its construction. Its glamour is increased by the countless banners atop it fluttering in the wind and decorating the sky.
Along the pinnacles of the turrets on that splendid palace are a great number of crystal swans whose beaks and feet are beset with gems. When Brahma comes to town, his swan carrier takes them to be his brothers and offers them the proper greetings and respects.
The gopis gave a pair of parrots to Uddhava to be presented to Krishna to remind Him of them. That parrot couple can still be heard in the streets of Mathura plaintively repeating this conversation from Vrindavan.
"When will I see that killer of the Mura demon again? He couldn’t be found by the continuously searching gopis in the forests on the Yamuna’s banks where He surely went to hide. Oh friend, when will He who upon seeing me would break into a smile which would sway the whole universe with joy appear before me again?"
Oh Radhe! Shake off your mood of depression! Krishna promised that He would be coming back - He wouldn’t lie to us. Very shortly the light of your heart is sure to be reunited with you, sporting a new peacock feather in His hair."
On the top of Hari’s palace you will see the whirling vine-like clouds of incense smoke, so dark and blue that the peacocks mistake them for rain clouds and greet them heartily. Oh prudent swan! If by this sight you become fearful of the imminent thunderbolts of the rainy season and wish to fly off to Manasarovar like all swans do at that time, then I’ll be able to understand that you have been living in the association of dull-brained persons.
Thus you should proceed to the inner portion of the palace where you will find Krishna’s private pleasure chambers. The windows are bedecked with swaying locks of pearls and there are white crystal pillars; around the edges of the walls descriptions of Krishna’s own pastimes from the tenth canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam have been engraved in gold.
At one end of the veranda to his private quarter is a perch made of emeralds meant for the peacocks who sleep away the night on it. Free from anxiety, and thus resting, wait for a suitable opportunity to speak with the Lord of the Yadus.
Oh dear swan, there you will notice Hari, the fountainhead of all beautiful things in the universe, sitting on a bed with sublime and sparkling white cotton sheets. He is relaxing there, leaning slightly to the left with both elbows resting on the moon like pillows before Him. Charming jewelled earrings in the shape of dolphins are gracing His cheeks; the splendour of His silken dress eclipses the lustre of gold and His blackish bodily hue is as pleasing as the black waters of the Kalindi. Should you chance to see all this beauty of Mukunda’s, an ecstatically maddening ambrosia will flood your eyes.
There you will find Bikadru, one of the elders of the family, sitting near Him singing many amusing things from the Puranas. By the side of a dazzling pillar you will see the hard-hearted Akrura (the very utterance of whose name sends a shiver of fear through the breasts of the gopis) elaborately chanting the history of the Kurus.
You will also see Satyaki, the most glorious of the Sini clan of Yadu fighters, as well as the renowned Kritavarma fanning Krishna gracefully on either side with royal yak tail fans.
Brihaspati’s disciple Uddhava will surely be seen massaging Krishna’s lotus feet as he knees on the golden floor before Him.
There you will find Garuda with folded hands and a heart brimming with love and veneration, awaiting the order to go off somewhere quickly. When that great bird flies on his missions the students of the town desert their arguments on the correct pronunciation of Vedic mantras upon hearing the sound of his flapping wings.
When even one as clever as Brahma finds himself unable to properly depict the magnificence and beauty of even a single toenail of Damodar’s foot, then how could an ordinary woman like myself ever hope to portray it? It is only because my intelligence has been addled by His transcendental charms that I venture to do it.
Hari’s feet are gleaming gracefully. Lord Brahma himself fell before the tips of those toes covering them with the upper part of his crowns when he was plagued with guilt over the act of purloining the cowherd children and calves. The discreet sage Narada laments for those poor souls who have attained liberation but have been deprived of the great ecstasy which is derived by looking at those lotus feet for just a moment.
The lotus flowers are envious of the rosy hue of Krishna’s beautiful lotus feet and so have taken the vow of performing austerities living in the water. All glories to the winter season which comes every year and punishes them for their improper attachments by causing them to wilt until finally they lose their lives.
The glaze of Hari’s legs outshines the glamour of emerald colored banana trees destroying their pride in their own beauty. The hearts of the gopis are bound to them, though intensely restless, in the same way that the powerful and restless wild elephants are bound by force to a stout pillar.
Oh dearest of birds! The lake of Madhusudan’s navel is the prime source of life for the gopi’s minnow-like eyes. Before creation of this universe a lotus grew in that lake; in that lotus’ stem the fourteen worlds have been accommodated and Brahma also took his birth in the whorl.
When mother Yasoda tied Krishna up with a piece of rope it left a mark of three lines which still beautify His belly. Within that belly she was twice favoured to have a look at the entire universe populated by men, gods and serpent when she looked into His mouth.
When the slender beauties of the creation gaze upon the chest of Krishna then Cupid immediately appears in their minds. The kaustubha jewel sits there and although it possesses a radiance equal to that of millions of suns, upon His brilliant chest it appears to be no brighter than a firefly.
His arms are more brilliant than two sapphire pillars set with precious gems - these arms remove the darkness of the whole world. It was with these arms that He annihilated the demon Keshi and the mark of that demon’s teeth still makes a decorative band around His biceps. With these arms He always used to embrace the necks of the gopis and they diffuse the perfume of musk.
His face conquers the empire of the most wonderful waves of nectarean loveliness which flow throughout the entire universe; His sweet smile is the abode of ever new ambrosial mellows and it unfolds a wreath of glittering pearl-like teeth. His eyebrows dance like a vine in the breeze and one can see He is happily absorbed in romantic thoughts. When you go to Mathura you will have the fortune to behold such a visage.
Oh friend, in short, the sum and substance of what I have to say here is this: you can understand that he whose slightest view instantaneously inundates your heart with supreme delight is none other than our Krishna, the defeater of Madhu.
Oh dear swan, you yourself are well acquainted with the intrigues of heart through your experiences with your sweet singing lady-swan friends. You may find Krishna similarly absorbed in such affairs with new women He has become involved with since arriving in Mathura. If so, you should narrate our suffering to Him because He will not be interested in us who are inexpert village girls. That person who has gotten a taste of nectar never wishes to give it up to drink whey.
Oh feathered friend, if on the other hand the cuckoos should have encircled Him singing melodiously and cool breezes blow gently carrying the fragrance of Govardhana’s flowers scenting the air, and if all these things remind Him of the sweetness of Vrindavan then only should you convey to Him the distress of our hearts.
This is my message, please repeat to Him exactly what I say to you now: "Oh Lord of the gopis! please lend Your ears to that is now being submitted to You by Lalita who is the dearest friend of that gopi whom You loved above all others when You resided here in Vrindavan. She pays You her respectful obeisances at Your feet.
Murari, that calf You so carefully reared by feeding her the fresh leaves and stems of lotus flowers has now given birth to her first calf and the wight of her udder is so great that the teats hang down below her knees. How beautiful she looks.
Do you remember that madhavi sapling You took from the kadamba grove and replanted by the mango tree as if to make it the mangos lifelong wife-like companion? It was only a little once a foot long with two or three leaves on it then. Now it has grown so big. Yet, in Your absence she sheds tears constantly in the shape of sap which gushes down her side; seeing her deplorable condition we are also pushed to the brink of tears.
There was once a child who took birth in the womb of Yasoda and who was to become the abode of the greatest happiness for the cowherds of Vrindavan. Another child was born in the stone like womb of Gandini who was to ... Oh Siva! Siva! ... put an end to the glory of the land of Gokula.
Oh Murari! The demons You killed seem to have returned one by one: Aristasura seems to have shaken the beautiful-eyed gopi girls and thrown them to the brink of calamity; Trinavarta has returned as the grasses covering the unused playgrounds of the Lord and Vyomasura has returned by making the whole area of Vrindavan seem as empty as outer space.
Oh Krishna, under no circumstance should You come to Vrindavan for its trees have become so dreadfully poisonous that the whole area is a danger area. If that were not so then why is it that the gopis seem to be falling unconscious just by breathing the perfumed air? It must be toxic fumes from the flowers, what else could it be?
Oh Yadunath! We are but ordinary country women and therefore You should not waste Your time thinking of us when the princesses of Mathura are at Your service. Gone is that time when You would wander in the forests at night, secretly making Your way into our houses to meet with us or even just to catch a glimpse of us.
1 Deep sleep.
2 Indra had cut off the wings of the mountains who were previously able to fly.
3 The tree here is being compared to Narayan, the swan to His conch and the sun to His disc.
4 For she knows that Krishna is not here to enjoy them.