Now we are Sakhi Sthali. This is the place of Chandravali. This is where she used to meet with Krishna and it is not far from Shyamakunda. Once a man wanted to give Raghunath das Goswami some curd to drink from a little leaflet. Raghunatha das asked the man from where did he get the curd from. The man replied, oh I have got it from Sakhi Sthali. Immediately Raghunatha dasa pulled back in horror exclaiming, I will not take. I will not take. Why do you offer me something from Sakhi Sthali? Don’t you know that it is the place of Chandravali? Furious with the man he went away. Raghunath Goswami is thinking, I am the servant of the servant of Srimati Radhika exclusively. It is not proper that I ever take anything from Chandravali, she is the rival of the one that I eternally worship and adore, so let me go far away from this person or else my bhajan will be spoiled. This is the mood that we must always have while performing our bhajan. We must never associate closely with the gross materialists unless the association is exclusively for the service of Krishna otherwise it can completely spoil our delicate creeper of devotional service.
The place where we are now is the place where Uddhava after meeting with the gopis and admiring and appreciating their exalted position desired to have a future birth as merely an insignificant clump of grass in Vraja Mandala. Then he would be able to have the dust of the gopis feet on his head. Uddhava was the cousin of Krishna and his best friend and being the disciple of Brhaspati who was the guru of the demigods it is clear to see that Uddhava was extremely qualified. Uddhava came and spent nine months in Vrindavan and when he came here he completely had forgotten where he was. When Uddhava was leaving Dwaraka he was thinking, how can I live in Vrindavan without the company of Krishna? How will I be able to do this? I think I shall surely die. Uddhava actually didn’t want to leave Krishna but because Krishna had instructed him to go and pacify the gopis in his place, he went. Krishna, being a loving friend of Uddhava really sent him to Vrindavan so he could study the highly elevated, ecstatic devotional standard of the gopis.
When Krishna sent Uddhava to Vrindavan, he gave him his yellow dhoti to wear, the fresh vaijayanti flower garland made from five different, fragrant flowers which he would wear each day, some of his jewellery and his gold turban. Krishna gave Uddhava all these things to wear because he wanted it to be absolutely clear that Uddhava was sent by him. Afterwards He took Uddhava to Balaram’s mother, Rohini to get her blessings. When they arrived, Krishna said to Rohini, mother, I am sending Uddhava to Vrindavan to find out all the news about my step-parents Nanda and Yashoda and all my cowherd friends and my dear gopis. Also Uddhava can go and pacify them for me telling them that I am all right and that I have not forgotten them. Mother Rohini looked at Krishna in astonishment saying, how can you send your servant in place of you and expect him to be able to pacify all those who love you more than their own lives? I do not understand this type of thinking at all. Instead of pacifying them, sending Uddhava will simply increase their mood of separation from you and agitate their extreme lamentation. Unless you go yourself they will never be pacified. Actually my son, I was thinking that you were a very kind-hearted person; but now I can see you are extremely hardhearted. You received so much love from Nanda and Yashoda. They sacrificed so much for you, they shed tears for you, they were harassed by demons because of you. For ten years they devoted their entire lives to you and now instead of you going yourself like a loving son should do, you are sending your servant. And all these years you didn’t even think to go to Vrindavan even once. How can you be so cruel? While Mother Rohini was speaking her son Lord Balaram came. Understanding the situation immediately He said, Mother Rohini is right my brother, how can you be so cruel? Don’t you know that Nanda Maharaja and Mother Yashoda have almost become blind from crying incessantly for so many years in separation from you? Your cowherd friends have almost shrivelled up and no longer laugh or play so distraught are they, and the gopis, they who have dedicated everything to you continue to walk around Vraja mandala like ghosts. They don’t eat, they don’t sleep, 24 hours a day they are doing nothing but lamenting and crying over you. This is the truth my brother, believe it. But still Krishna was not convinced and so he sent Uddhava in His place to Vrindavan.
When Uddhava arrived in Vrindavan he saw all its wonderful beauty in a pastoral panorama before him. He saw thousands and thousands of cows all mooing contentedly with their udders full of milk. He saw hundreds and hundreds of gopis going about their daily duties like in a dream. Some of the older gopis were sitting like statues and they were singing the glories of Krishna’s childhood lilas and his wonderful pastimes. As these gopis went about their daily duties, singing the glories of Krishna, tears of sadness ran down their faces in a never ending flow but what amazed Uddhava the most was that by just thinking and crying and singing about Krishna, Krishna was actually always present before them. Further contemplating Uddhava thought, I have just now left Krishna in Dwaraka and I don’t have this mood, this mood of the gopis is so full of potency that it allows them to always be with Krishna. In fact I now realize that Lord Krishna is only partially present in Mathura and Dwaraka and every other place; but here in Vrindavan he is fully manifest with all his beauty and all his attractiveness. Reflecting thus he opened his eyes and looked around. This time he noticed that everyone in Vraja Mandala was all dried up, everyone was sad and melancholy. No one seemed to have any life. Everyone moved around as if they were in a dream.
When Uddhava approached Vrindavan in Krishna’s chariot, from a distance all the gopis saw him. They started talking to themselves excitedly. Who is this coming in such a magnificent chariot? One of them said, it must be Akrura, another said, he already came once and took Krishna away from us why is he coming back? We don’t need any information about Mathura, we already know that Krishna killed Kamsa, Akrura doesn’t have to come and tell us that. Another one said, no, no, no you are all wrong. Can’t you see his colour and complexion? It is very dark and look, he is wearing a yellow dhoti and a yellow turban. Another one said, I can not mistake that garland that he is wearing, ever, that is Krishna’s garland. This must be a messenger from Krishna. He looks like Krishna, he dresses like Krishna, he is even wearing Krishna’s flower garland, look at the beautiful chariot he sent him in. Krishna is just a cowherd boy, but he is sending his servant in a golden chariot. Another gopi said, Krishna is just trying to show off. He just wants to show us how rich and powerful He is. Uddhava, hearing these things said to himself, why did I come here in this chariot showing so much pomp and grandeur? If I had a hole to crawl in I would crawl into it now. I feel ashamed, I have no devotion for Krishna in comparison to the gopis. Previously Uddhava had thought his devotion for Krishna was the best; but now after seeing and hearing the gopis he realised that their elevated position was actually more supreme. So instead of going directly to them he decided to approach Nanda Maharaja and Mother Yashoda first to try to pacify them.
When Nanda Maharaja heard the sound of the thundering hooves of the horses that were pulling Uddhava’s chariot he went out to have a look, he said to himself, O my Lord, is that Krishna? His heart skipped a beat; but no it was not Krishna. But who could this beautiful dark boy be and where has he come from? He is even dressed exactly like Krishna, ah it is Uddhava. Now, when Uddhava saw the state and condition of Nanda Maharaja and Yashoda mayi he was mortified, he could not believe his eyes. The whole royal courtyard was unkempt, the stoves for cooking were unused and spiders had made their webs there. He noticed that Mother Yashoda was lying in a corner in a catatonic stupor. Nanda Maharaja not even ask about Krishna, he is so emotionally disturbed. So instead he asked about his brother Vasudeva and his son Balaram; but the name of Krishna got stuck in his throat and he was unable to voice it. As soon as Nanda Maharaja would start to think about Krishna he would break down and start sobbing unbearably. Finally unable to contain his pain any longer he cried out, my Krishna; but he could not utter anymore before he broke down and sobbing fell to the ground Uddhava, his mind totally shocked by the state of affairs thought I have never seen anything like this before. I have never seen anyone show such intense feelings of love for another person. Then lifting Nanda Maharaja up from the ground he said, all glories to Sri Nanda Maharaja and Uddhava fell down and embraced his lotus feet. While he did this he was thinking, Krishna has sent me to pacify the residents of Vraja; but how can I pacify anyone seeing them in this condition. Uddhava was intelligent, he knew everything about psychology, he was an expert diplomat and he was able to quickly perceive the essence of a situation in a very short time. He was thinking that if he should try to pacify Nanda and Yashoda this would simply increase their mood of separation and cause them anguish so he decided to remain quiet. Rising to his feet he saw Nanda Maharaja crying in intense vatsalya rasa and Uddhava reflecting was astounded and felt ashamed a little because he realised that he could never bring himself to cry in this fashion in his mood of sakhya rasa to Krishna.
Uddhava unable to control his own emotions blurted out, O Nanda Maharaja, you are glorious. There is nobody else like you in all the worlds. Nanda Maharaja looked at Uddhava in astonishment thinking to himself, what is this dear boy babbling about? He said to Uddhava, you are telling me that I am fortunate. What do you mean and what facts do you have to support this conclusion? Can you please by logic show me this hypothetical analysis. Uddhava said, yes I can. You had the opportunity to have the Supreme Personality of Godhead in his original form as your son. You had the opportunity to take him on your lap, to laugh and play with him, to sometimes reprimand him, to take him in your arms and in every way to be a loving and devoted father to him. You, Nanda Maharaja had this most wonderful and precious opportunity and now you are crying so intensely in separation from the Lord. Truly you are the greatest of souls and the most fortunate.
Nanda Maharaja gravely composed himself and smiling a little sadly at Uddhava said, my dear Uddhava you are clearly very immature. I can now see that even your milk teeth have not come out yet and you still have all your baby fat. You still need time to ripen. Actually I am exactly the opposite of what you think. I am the most unfortunate of human beings because although I had constant association with the Supreme Lord, I thought he was just my son. Let me tell you a story that might give you a little wisdom.
Once there was a man who found a philosopher’s touch stone, a cintamani which grants all desires. That man was thinking, I found such a beautiful stone, let me keep it in some place safe somehow or other someone stole this cintamani from him. So naturally he started looking frantically everywhere for it. People noticing asked him, what have you lost? He replied, I just lost a most beautiful stone and I am trying to find it. The people told him that was not an ordinary stone you had; that was a cintamani and that could have fulfilled all your desires. The man was thunderstruck, he said, that was cintamani and I didn’t know! What have I done, what have I done? Now Uddhava, my dear boy, you mean to tell me that I am fortunate when I have this Supreme Lord in my home day after day and still I thought he was just my son. I am the most ignorant of foolish people, just like the man with the cintamani. Now he has gone away from here to Mathura and Dwaraka and I have no opportunity of serving him yet you want to call me fortunate. And even if I had known he was the Supreme Lord when he was here, why was I able to continue to live once he had gone. What kind of a father am I? When Lord Ramachandra’s father, Dasaratha found out that his son had gone into the forest in exile he was in so much pain and grief and lamentation that he cried out in anguish, Hare Rama, Hare Rama and left his body. Why didn’t I leave my body when my son left? No my dear Uddhava, please do not insult me again with your silly suppositions and infantile assumptions. I know what I am. I am the most unfortunate of human beings.
After this conversation Uddhava was very confused and upset. He couldn’t sleep that night. In the morning after taking bath and performing his duties he decided to approach the gopis.
When Uddhava approached the gopi’s he passed through beautiful kadamba forest. The meeting with Nanda Maharaja had given him a startling new revelation in the matter of devotional service and as a representative of Krishna he was determined no to appear as an immature devotee in front of the gopi’s also While immersed in thoughts like this he suddenly came upon hundreds and thousands of gopi’s just lying around on the ground in deep lamentation for Krishna. They were all in various groups and they were singing and talking about Krishna’s pastimes. They had no desire for eating or sleeping or even seeing their family members; the only thing that was sustaining their lives was thinking about Krishna, and sometimes one of the gopi’s would remember a particular pastime that was especially precious to all of them like Krishna’s pastime of dancing so wonderfully on Kaliya’s heads or Krishna’s lila of holding up Govardhana hill. Hearing this pastime one of them would start sobbing uncontrollably and then all the gopi’s would break down and start wailing and weeping. Then after some time they would compose themselves a little and begin glorifying Krishna all over again. In this way they were living day by day. Uddhava seeing this extraordinary display of mahabhava realised that he would not be able to pacify the gopi’s by his abilities alone, first he decided to read Krishna’s message to them. So approaching Srimati Radharani and offering his obeisances he humbly explained to Her that he had a message from Krishna for them and then receiving her permission he began to read it. The reason why Uddhava read the message was because when Krishna wrote it He was so pained that he was not able to write what he was feeling coherently. In this message Krishna told the gopi’s that separation from him was impossible and that to increase their super excellent love for him was the reason he had purposely separated himself from them. He further told them it was not possible for them to be replaced in His heart. Just by hearing the words of Krishna spoken by his bona fide representative, Uddhava cooled off the gopi’s burning fire of separation and saved them from certain death. From this point on they were able to adjust their deep lamentation within the boundaries of life and they were grateful to Uddhava for this. Uddhava was also grateful to the gopis and he realised that in every situation they were always worshipable because they were jivas completely attached to the lotus feet of Krishna. This understanding gave him the insight to totally reconstruct his views towards devotional service. After spending some time with the gopis he went to a place where we will go later called, Uddhava kyari and there he became inspired to have a future birth simply as a blade of grass in Vrindavan, so that the dust from the lotus feet of the gopis would fall upon him, because even though he was Krishna’s cousin and best friend he didn’t feel that he was qualified to take the gopis foot-dust in his present life. This should be a lesson to us all in regards to the humility of a Vaisnava. So let us all now give our humble obeisances to Uddhava and beg him to bestows upon us, even the semblance of this humility, then our lives can become successful. Hari! Haribol!