Vishrama Ghat

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Nanda Bag

This beautiful place that we see before us is called Nanda Bag. It was the garden of Nanda Maharaja and all the wonderful fruits, flowers and vegetables were used for the satisfaction of Krishna and Balaram. Their flower garlands were made from the flowers here and their meals were taken from the fruits and vegetables also. Hare Krishna!

Nanda Baitak

Now we are in Nanda Baitak. Nanda Baitak means the place where Nanda Maharaja calls for an assembly. Nanda Maharaja and Mother Yashoda did not have any children for a long time. This is where the leaders of the community would come and discuss how they could have a child. When there was any danger, difficulty, or natural calamity they would all assemble here and solve the problem figuring out the best course of action. If you look to your right you can see the direction of Nanda-kunda which is very close to here.

Now I will relate one of the many hundreds or thousands of incidents that occurred here in Nanda Baitak when an assembly would be called for.

Once Nanda Maharaja’s elder brother Upananda called for an assembly of all the Vrajavasis. When they arrived he explained to them that, “Krishna, the son of Nanda Maharaja is not an ordinary child. He is definitely something extraordinary. If he is not an expansion of Lord Vishnu or Lord Brahma or Lord Shiva, then he is some exalted demigod, or at the very least, a very great liberated yogi. Krishna has killed so many powerful demons that nobody else could kill, and He did this as a baby and as a child. At the age of seven He lifted Govardhana hill on His little finger. Whoever heard of such things? Gargacharya warned us that this child Krishna was an extraordinary and exceptional child, having all the symptoms of Lord Narayana himself. So remembering these things mother Yashoda should stop pulling His ears, should stop chastising Him, should stop chasing Him around with a stick, she should stop calling Him a thief, she should stop tying Him up with ropes, and she should allow Him to do whatever He wants.”

At that moment Nanda Maharaja interrupted him saying, “You can say all you want about what you think my son’s inconceivable potencies are, but I see Him only as my son. You are saying that He is so elevated and that He must be a demigod and so forth and so on. But we see in life that even ordinary people can control their senses, like anger, greed, and control their food habits. But Krishna, He has no control whatsoever. He will eat fifty times a day. And do not ever let the food be cold or not enough sugar put in the milksweets, unless you want to see Him have a colossal temper tantrum! And if anyone reports that any butter, curds, or milk was stolen from their house, you can be sure that my son is the culprit.

“There is no bigger thief in the whole of Vraja. I am of the opinion that your assessment of my son is grossly misjudged and miscalculated. Even if you use the argument that, because my son is an expansion of the Supreme Lord, He is able to act anyway He pleases. How do you explain that at night when it rains and there is loud thunder and lightning, He comes running into my room frightened as can be and jumps into my bed scared to death? And how do you explain that when He has a stomach ache He comes crying to Mother Yashoda and until she takes Him in her arms, cooing over Him and smothering Him with kisses, He will not be pacified. Please explain to me how such an extremely elevated demigod or yogi can act like this?

“And what about His lying? At every step He’s telling lies. You ask him did You eat mud? He will say, no He did not. You ask him did You steal butter? He will say, no He did not. If you ask Him was He harassing the gopis, He will say He was not even in the area. Tell me, is this the normal behavior of someone very elevated? No, no, no. You are mistaken, Krishna is just my son. Even the demons, like Hiranyaksa and Hiranyakasipu were able to control their senses and follow strict tapasya. But Krishna, He can not remain a single minute without eating, He is always greedy for sweets. He always answers back to His superiors and He is a first class thief.

“And to make matters worse He boasts about what He has not done and He lies about what He has done. How can this be? If this is how an elevated being acts then I see no reason to be elevated. I see Krishna just as my son, if He causes any mischief I will quickly chase Him with a stick and chastise Him, and if He causes more trouble I will tie Him up.” And looking around thinking of all the millions of pastimes he and all of them had shared with Krishna, Nanda Maharaja losing his gravity broke down and started laughing, “Saying, you don’t understand, you don’t understand. Krishna is such a mischievous fellow.” And then the Vrajavasis and the cowherds all began laughing. They laughed and laughed, and they laughed so hard that tears came to their eyes and their stomachs began to ache, then when the last bit of laughter had finally died down, they looked around at each other and began laughing all over again. They forgot all about Upananda’s proposal and what he had been talking about, and they even forgot why they were there. The only thing that they could not forget was their beloved Krishna, and in reality all these assembly’s were called for one reason and that was to make a decision that would ultimately benefit Krishna. That was they were really interested in and this is what we are really interested in also, only actions that praise, glorify, or serve the beloved Lord Krishna.

As has just been thoroughly illustrated Nanda Maharaja always considered Krishna, only as his son. He never saw Krishna any other way as long as Krishna was living with him. That is because Vrindavan is the place where the fullness of madhurya or the sweetness of conjugal love is expressed. The further one is from Vrindavan and Krishna, in varying degrees this mood reduces. Here in Nandagram it is reduced to vatsalya rasa, in other areas such as the ashram of Sandipani Muni, this mood is expressed as sakhya rasa. In Mathura this mood is modified even further as dasya rasa and in Dvaraka the mood of madhurya has decreased to aisvarya or awe and reverence. In Vrindavan there is so much awe and reverence, more than anywhere else, but here it is covered by madhurya. That is why although Vasudeva and Devaki had a form of Krishna as their son in Kamsa’s dungeon and later had Krishna when He and Balaram came to Mathura, still they had the feeling that this was the Supreme Lord and so aisvarya dominated their mood towards Him. Whereas Nanda Maharaja and Yashodamayi never felt that Krishna was the Supreme Lord while Krishna was under their care and protector, he thought of him only as his precious son.

The difference between madhurya and aisvarya is that in madhurya rasa, Krishna is perceived just like any other human being, Like when He is playing with His cowherd friends or stealing a little butter or being chased by His mother with a stick; but in aisvarya He exhibits extraordinary qualities. So wherever and whenever these extraordinary qualities are being displayed there is aisvarya. This is why Vrindavan is considered to have the maximum of aisvarya because here after Brahma stole all the cows and all the cowherd boys, Krishna expanded Himself and became each and every cow and each and every cowherd boy along with their corresponding mentalities and personalities. But that is not all. Krishna even expanded into their goading sticks and their bullhorns and all the paraphernalia that each boy had. This is the maximal manifestation of aisvarya ever displayed. When Krishna’s expansion of each cow and cowherd boy returned to their respective homes you will recall that there was an extreme increase of love from their family members. This extreme increase and manifestation of love was in the mood of madhurya and it was this that covered the actual presence of aisvarya. Krishna’s mystic powers were so potent that no one, not even Lord Balaram was able to perceive them.

In describing how madhurya and aisvarya are in equal degrees in Mathura, we can give the example that when Lord Krishna and Lord Balaram went to the arena of Kamsa to fight the two wrestlers, Canura and Mustika. After killing them Krishna leaped onto the royal dais and knocking off Kamsa’s crown whirled him down to the wrestling mat and killed him in a flash. Watching all this Devaki and Vasudeva stood thunderstruck in total awe and reverence as they contemplated that only the Supreme Lord could accomplish such a Herculean task. Afterwards when Lord Balaram had also swiftly killed Kamsa’s eight brothers, when He and Krishna approached their parents Devaki and Vasudeva, they just stood there looking awestruck in total mood of reverence. Krishna was expecting some heartfelt reciprocation of emotions, after all His parents had not seen Him since the day He was born. But Devaki and Vasudeva seeing Krishna as the Supreme Lord and not as their son remained firm in their mood of aisvarya. Krishna who is always hankering and desiring for His devotees love, seeing His parents regarding Him only in a mood of awe and reverence, began to cry. When He began to cry Mother Devaki’s heart opened immediately and flooded with vatsalya rasa, she took Krishna upon her lap, and covering His head with her sari tried to breast feed him. Lord Balaram in the meantime had come and threw Himself down al the feet of his father. Vasudeva also feeling a flood of vatsalya rasa raised Him up and taking Him upon his lap smelled His head hugged Him and treated Him very lovingly in a fatherly way. So from this example experienced by Krishna and his brother Balaram, we can see that both madhurya and aisvarya manifest themselves equally in Mathura.

Now let us look at how aisvarya and madhurya manifest themselves in Dvaraka. Once Brahma came to visit Lord Krishna in Dvaraka. He had seen a few of the Lord’s pastimes in Vrindavana and had been thoroughly bewildered and confused by Krishna’s mystic power and potencies when he had stolen the calves and cowherd boys; but he still desired to have some more association with the Lord. So when he arrived at the gates he told the palace guards, go to your master, Lord Krishna and tell him that Brahma has arrived. When he said this he said it with a slight touch of arrogance. When the guard sent a message to the servants through the proper channels, Krishna immediately could understand that Brahma was puffed up and had become a little insolent. So Krishna sent word back to ask which Brahma was that was waiting to see him. When Brahma heard this he was astounded, he had thought previously to hearing this that he was the only Brahma there was and now his ego was completely crushed to find out that he wasn’t, so he told the guard that he was the four faced Brahma.

Krishna in Dvaraka knows the past, present and future; but this is not so of the Krishna in Vraja. Although Krishna in Vraja has this potency most certainly, madhurya, or the sweetness of his pastimes covers it. Krishna in Dvarka is mostly in His four handed form and very rarely does He manifest his two handed form. In Dvarka He is full of opulence and splendor. When the message was relayed to Krishna that it was the four faced Brahma, Krishna decided to further teach him a lesson and he had His servitors demand exactly which four faced Brahma was he. Because there were so many Brahmas he would have to satisfactorily identify himself before he would be granted the privilege of an audience with the Supreme Lord. Brahma visibly deflated replied, I never heard of any other Brahmas; but I am the creator of this material universe, also I am the father of the four Kumaras and Narada Muni. I have four faces and four heads and I cannot believe that there are other Brahmas and I never knew about them. So when Krishna heard what Brahma had said ordered that he be allowed to come in.

As soon as Brahma was ushered in through the palace gates he was completely flabbergasted and stood totally petrified like a dummy. For what he saw in front of him were hundreds of Brahmas all with more heads than his. Some Brahmas had 64 heads, some had 100 heads, some had 1,000 heads. And according to how many heads they had they were allowed to be nearer to or further from the Supreme Lord. The Brahma who was at the furthermost position away from the Lord, had eight heads and in front of him was a Brahma with 16 heads, and in front of him was a Brahma with 32 heads and this went on and on with each Brahma having more heads being able to be closer to the Supreme Lord.

All the Brahmas were humbly engaged in offering choice prayers to the Lord and in praising the Lord with sweet words. Some were singing with tears in thier eyes, some were kneeling with folded palms, some had even placed their 1000’s of heads on the ground in supplication and surrender to the Supreme Lord. When the Brahma who created our material universe saw this magnificent display of devotional service being performed by Brahmas who were all more superior to him, his arrogance and insolence evaporated so quickly that his four heads began to spin and he became dizzy. His whole dream of being able to march forward and meet Krishna and take part in His pastimes as an important figure was totally shattered. Then when he fully realized that he was the most insignificant Brahma present there, this was of course after he had looked around to see if there was a two headed Brahma present, to his dismay there wasn’t. At this time he fell to the ground like a stick and touching his four heads to the floor he began rolling around thinking, what a fool I have been, what a fool I have been. I never properly understood the actual potency of the Supreme Lord before, or even my actual position as his servant. O Lord please forgive me for being such a fool. Please forgive me for being such a fool.

So in Dvaraka the predominating mood is aisvarya or awe and reverence. There is very little madhurya and the madhurya that is exhibited by Krishna’s queens like Rukmini, Satya and others is not the same quality as the madhurya in Vrindavan. The love of Krishna’s queens in the mood of madhurya in Dyaraka does not have the capacity to captivate and bring Krishna under their control like the love that Srimati Radharani and the gopis had with Krishna in Vrindavan. The Goswamis said, that the madhurya that Krishna’s queens had in Dvaraka was sakhya, or friendship in the mood of husband of wife. They said that this madhurya is not actually to be considered madhurya rasa at all. Madhurya means it has to be a love between the beloved and the paramour. And also here in Dvaraka the madhurya mood of Krishna’s 16,000 queens is more in the mood of dasya or servitorship which is a symptom of aisvarya. Just like Sita devi’s relationship with Lord Ramacandra is in the mood of servitorship, so the same is true here in Dvaraka. So now I hope you have clearly understood the difference between madhurya and aisvarya and how they manifest themselves in Vrindavan, Mathura and Dvaraka. Gaur Premanandi!!

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