Thursday, July 21, 2016

Bhajana Rahasya 7.21: The gopis only wish for Krishna to return home to Vrindavan

Bhajana Rahasya 7.21: The gopis only wish for Krishna to return home to Vrindavan

On meeting Krishna in Kurukshetra, Radha’s only prayer is that He return to Vraja—

āhuś ca te nalina-nābha padāravindaṁ
yogeśvarair hṛdi vicintyam agādha-bodhaiḥ
saṁsāra-kūpa-patitottaraṇāvalambaṁ
gehaṁ juṣām api manasy udiyāt sadā naḥ

O lotus-naveled Krishna! Brahma and other great yogis like him, who have unfathomable wisdom, meditate constantly on Your lotus feet in their hearts, for such meditation is said to be the best means for conditioned souls to climb out of the dark well of material existence. May those feet always manifest in our minds, for we are attached to our householder lives and families. (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam10.82.48)

Expanded translation: O lord of My life! Kindly hear My submission. Vrindavan is My home, and if I cannot have Your company there, I will not be able to survive.

O Krishna! For the materialistic person, the mind that accepts and rejects sense objects is considered to be the heart. My mind, however, is free from all such desires for material sense objects and knows nothing but the desire to please Your senses. It is thus a place that is fitting for You to conduct Your pastimes, for it is of the same nature as Your eternal abode, Vrindavan itself.

To give such a heart instructions in philosophy and mystical practice is a waste of time. Previously You gave us such instructions through Uddhava and now You are personally doing the same thing here in Kurukshetra. Our hearts are naturally full of love for You and so we need no such advice.

Yogis work hard to detach their minds from material sense objects and fix them on You in Your form as the indwelling Supersoul. We, on the other hand, have to work hard to forget You for even a moment so that we can fix our mind on our daily household duties. We try with great efforts to do so, but our minds are so imbued with thoughts of You that we cannot manage it. So when You instruct us to meditate on You, it makes us laugh.

We gopis have completely left bodily consciousness behind. This is our natural state. So how can the words “dark well of material existence” apply to us? In fact, our suffering comes of having fallen into the ocean of separation from You, where the great sea monster of desire to serve You is swallowing us up. If You want to save us, then save us from that monster’s gaping mouth. In other words, You must save us gopis from Your separation and not from material existence as such.

It is most surprising to us that in spite of being the pinnacle of virtue, You have forgotten Vrindavan, Govardhan, the banks of the Yamuna River and the forest bowers where we had our pastimes. Worse still, You seem to have forgotten all those who love You, including Your own father and mother, Your friends and the other people of Vraja, none of who can live a moment without You. You too seemed to love them once and yet, alas, You have forgotten them. Forget about us, we are not important. But we cannot comprehend how You could become indifferent to the people of Vraja, who suffer so much in Your absence.

Perhaps You have no sympathy for us and our distress. We do not ask for it, but think for a minute about Your mother, the queen of Vrindavan. When the people of the cowherd community see her suffering, their hearts break. Do You not feel the slightest twinge of remorse when You see her in this state?

I don’t want to blame You for all this. We can only say that Providence has treated us unkindly and that is why You have become indifferent to us all. It is simply our destiny. We Vrajavasis find absolutely no pleasure in seeing You in Your royal garb, living in a foreign land, and Your attachment to new companions. Even so, we cannot leave Vrindavan to follow You. That is impossible, even if we have to come face to face with death itself as a result of not seeing You. Can You come up with any solution for our predicament?

Sometimes You kill us with Your separation and then sometimes, like today, You revive us by giving us the hope that we may be reunited again. Why do You do this? You are keeping us alive simply to kill us by again destroying our hopes.

You are the very life of Vrindavan. You are Nanda Maharaj’s life’s treasure. You are the only wealth the people of Vrindavan cling to. You are compassionate by nature, so please come and revive the people of Vrindavan by placing Your feet in this land again. (Bhakti Promode Puri Maharaj’s summary of Caitanya-caritāmṛta 2.13.133-148)

Bhaktivinode Thakur—

kṛṣṇa he!
agādha bodha sampanna yogeśvara gaṇa dhanya
tava pada karuna cintana
saṁsāra patita jana dharu tava śrī-caraṇa
kūpa haite uddhāra kāraṇa
āmi vraja-gopa-nārī nahi yogī na saṁsārī
tomā lañā āmāra saṁsāra
mama mana vṛndāvana rākhi tathā o caraṇa
ei vāñchā purāo āmāra

O Krishna! May the fortunate masters of yoga with their fathomless spiritual understanding meditate on Your feet. May those fallen souls who are deep in the hole of material existence grab hold of those feet, which alone can pull them out of that hole.

I am a simple cowherd woman; I am neither a yogi nor am I a materialistic person absorbed in household life. My entire life is centered in You. My mind is really Vrindavan. Please fulfill My wish and place Your feet there.

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In the debate about union and separation, and the frequent assertions that the latter is "superior" to the former, I have never found the argument particular cogent. After all, it is clearly stated that separation serves to enhance the union.

Here in BR, BVT has named Ch. 7 "Love in Separation" while Ch 8 is "Love in Union." So the imperative of logic is that union is the highest. That is what we strive for. Separation is the price we pay for enhanced union. And whatever union comes to us as a byproduct of separation is considered inferior to "real" union, as the union of physical lovers in the real world.

This section appears at the end of Ch.7, so even the glorification of separation cannot be without praises and assurances of union. Vrindavan is the land of union.

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