Sri Vrindavan Dham
17th December 1960
With love, Jai Sri Hari!
Received your loving letter after several days. On contact with Madhupati everything becomes madhurya or sweet. (The Bhagavata posits Krishna as the paragon of sweetness and hence gives him epithets such as madhupati and madhukara). The entire world resonates with Krishna; residing in earthly Vrindavana or perhaps that region in the heart where God is ultimately found. Nevertheless we lack in our quest of the impassioned soul for union with the divine because of the mundane and can not experience the sweetness of madhur rasa.
Only those enraptured cowherdesses representing souls in search of salvation, knew how to express and experience their love for Krishna, the repository of sweetness. Fragrant limbs, loving tenderness, lyrical softness, delicate movements, the mellifluous sound of his flute, innocent pranks, beautiful adornments such as the vanamala, serene sensuality, graceful manners all define his love which he richly shares with the gopis of Vrindavana.
On Nandnandan's vanishing during the Maharasa, the gopis began to experience a depth of despair that carves a new dimension in their love. Because of his absence they are led to cross a threshold of awareness that Krishna exists intensely in their hearts and dwells in their longing for him. At one step the gopis beseech, "Oh Lord married to Goddess Laxmi, kindly keep you lotus-hand on us." Darshan, this entreaty is not merely a request.
The bhavas of humility and servitude are spontaneously aroused during separation. But we find glimpses of their urging each other into complete absorption in the joy of Krishna that does not require His physical presence. Therefore the gopis did not call out to Thakurji on a grand ritualistic Vedic note but implored with charming humility and enthused exultation. Isn't it?
And Darshan,"Keep your lotus hands on us," has several underlying implications. Not addressing Him as a slayer of demonic forces, nor as the saviour of devotees; they long for Narayana who holds the lotus-hands of Goddess Laxmi. Thus calling to mind those playfully capricious lotus hands. Another Vaishnava doctrine endorses that in Braj, Sri stands for Sri Radhika, revered by all as Sriji. In a way the gopis reminded him of Sri Radha.
The play between Sri Radha-Krishna is a conjunction where the descending god and ascending soul become one. Though a part of the delicious anguish, Sri Radha was absolutely silent, all invocations being sung by the gopis. She merely remarked, Sakhe Darshaya Sannidhi, suffering pangs on his account.
There is explicit reference to his darshan madhuri in the next shloka (a Sanskrit couplet). Jalruhanan Charu Darshaya; the gopis are engulfed by surges of exquisite desire for a sight of his lovely lotus-face.These simple cowherdesses of Braj steeped in the sweet love of Krishna were the only ones who attained the state of oneness with the Lord, expressing the cry of the enraptured soul for God.
In the following shloka the herdswomen long for the Lord's Holy feet. There is an underlying ethos as we recollect the awesome incidences...what can me more tender than a lotus? But devotees offered their grave sins at the Lord's feet, the same feet bore thorn pricks while grazing cows, danced gracefully on the deadly poisonous Kaliya's hood and put an end to demonic forces...
These softly delicate feet have borne such ordeals and now they are wandering amidst thorns, Come Lord! Kindly give rest to these tenderly loving lotus-feet” (The last shloka of the gopi geet has the same bhava) We have our soft sweet hearts to give them joyous respite. But this essence is underpinned.
No longer in search of self-gratification alone, the gopis begin to know that Krishna exists intensely in their hearts when they sing his praises and dwells in their longing for him. Whether Priyatam arrives soon after for spreading joy who knows? But his beloveds ardently call out to him for complete absorption in the delight of Krishna. ' Cool our hearts on fire with desire by the touch of your lotus-feet'.
The cool lotus soothes the pathos of longing and anguish of separation in the domain of love. Secondly these gopi herds long for the romantic dalliance of their supreme lover and are ecstatic on belonging to him. A yearning of all dedicated devotees, this bhava is the essence of charan-madhurya.
At the moment, let me put Thakurji to sleep and I will write again. The gopis have not just richly shared the loving tenderness of his fragrant limbs but other aspects of Lord Krishna's madhurya which define his love. They are enraptured by the lyrical softness of his voice; charming and sensitive. Passionate but not lustful...love-struck they cast off their work and all their worldly cares, moving in a delicious anguish to his side.
Their devotion to Krishna is knowledge that they share and together they accept rejection by society of which they are a part, disregarding convention. The mellifluous sound of his flute transforms all worldly infatuations to detachment, arousing passion in the Lord's divine play and romantic dalliance. The gopis want to be enraptured by the same breath of love and call to eternity.
Lord Krishna's laughter, loving tenderness, evocative chest, charming love-talk, winsome manners, enchant them over and over again. Every fiber of his playful dalliance exudes madhurya or sweet love and he exists intensely in their hearts when the gopis sing his glories. They affirm,Dhyanmangalam prahsint priya premvikshan, vihran cha te dhyanmangalam...rahsai sanvido ya hridisparsh kuhak no man shobhyanti hi. This delicious anguish worked perfectly for them; repeatedly giving an account of his miraculous smile, peals of laughter, love-laden eyes and passionately romantic entreaties.
Today's shangar is simple but beautiful. The green curtain of Janamashtami is also laid out on the pedestal. Woolen clothes knitted in pale yellow yarn, adorn Thakurji. The necklaces are strung in golden beads of flower-shaped shells. The diadems are very old. Indu had also made the same last year strung with shells and beads. Yesterday the curtain was the same and the garments were knitted in light green wool. The necklaces were made by Indu and the diadems worn on Janamashtamai.
A bitterly cold blast is rampant today. I mentioned to Pushpaji that it does not seem winter here but rather the pleasant weather of Basant or spring. I often remember your Vahti Madhu Pavne when the charming breeze nudges me.
How is Sri Thakurji at your end? Last night I was about to write a savaiya (Hindi quatrian) but I can only pen what the motivating Lord wants me to. The above could be written, seems his lovable prank too. It is said that once when someone made an attempt to unveil Lord Krishna's mysterious playful dalliance, he snatched the write-up and pleaded, " Leave it alone brother! As it is I am already disgraced. Isn't it enough?" The writer laughed sheepishly and ended his commentary on the Lord's divine play. Probably the incident is related to Sri Vishwanath Chakravarti.
Okay then, Jai Sri Hari