The gopibhava is where we have sweet and total commitment and love for Krishna and never think of self-gratification.The gopis deck themselves to attract Krishna, keep the house spic and span as the handsome Shyam may drop in any time, go to sell milk and curd concerned about Krishna's happiness. Infatuated, they call out,"Shri Krishna lelo ri, koi Shri Krishna" and never violate the conventional norms of love.
We can acquire such great love by imagining ourselves as women, as the gopis and love the lord. Loving tenderness is apparent in women but has to be adopted by men because a woman's love for her lord or husband is the only greatest possible love.
The dark-hued Krishna is eager to fulfil their desire for union with their teasing, elusive and insistent paramour. And these Braj maidens lost in his thoughts are absorbed in romantic dalliances in the bowers of Vrindavan.
Revered Bobo had returned to Vrindavan after staying for around four months in Ambala. And felt at home in the personal abode of Priya-Priyatam with its narrow lanes, kunjas-nikunjas and idyllic pastures. Shri Thakur was in Ambala still. The matter dates back to the afternoon of 9th May,1960 when she felt thirsty. She had to stay at Santosh Bahenji's house this time as well.Taking water she asked Sarlaji if water was served to their Shri Thakur in the afternoon.
Getting an answer in the affirmative she kept a glass of water near her Thakurji. She closed her eyes and could envision Thakurji in Ambala and heard the sound of sipping. A glass of water used to be kept near Shri Thakurji in Ambala and when she wrote to find out they had actually forgotten to do so that day.
Absorbed in the playfull dalliances of Radha-Krishna, revered Bobo was living happily on coming to Vrindavan. One fine day she met Shri Manohar while having darsan of Bihariji and he took her along to Ghanshyamji's cottage.On a moonlit night an ethereal scene could be seen from the terrace. Trees and creepers bathed in milk and lilting Yamuna waves in the moonlight were very captivating.
Introduction to Revered Shri Balkrishna Dasji***
Since the night looked so enchanting from Ghanshyamji's place everyone would gather to savour the countless legends of Krishna.
Here she met the renowned Shri Balkrishna Dasji Maharaj of Braj. He asked Vimla Arora (a follower of Dharam Bahenji)to sing a pada and she obliged,
Kisi ki madh bhari aankhen mujhe sone nahin detin
Ghataon se ghiri alken subah hone nahin deti
Bobo interpreted,"How can one possibly sleep when the intoxicated eyes of Radha-Krishna lovingly look at us and we reach the heights of elation and ecstasy? How can we sense the arrival of morning when Krishna's face is concealed with locks of hair?"
***Shri Maharaj hailed from Karnataka and even on being directly connected with tradition norms of the acharya community he was steeped in Krishna's love. With the order of Shri Ramakrishna Paramahansa he renounced domestic life at a young age and journeying came to Braj.
One day Bobo was roaming in the bowers of Nidhi Van and sat near the manifestation site of Shri Bihariji for some time. She saw,
"Priya-Priyatam sitting, leaning against the parapet of this site. Priyatam is resplendent on the right and Priyaji to the left. Shri Radha is wearing a lehenga and dupatta. In a short while both spread out their legs. Priyatam turns and sits with his back to Shri Radha to see what she would say now. She also bends a bit and peers into Priyatam's face."
Revered Bobo visited Ambala occasionally due to affection for her spiritual associates and several other reasons. In this context she says at one point,"I can not discard attachment to your lot, young and lovable as you are. May our bond surge and merge in the lotus feet of the son of Nanda. We belong to each other because of him." Apart from rapport with Krishna all other ties hover around sensual pleasures-the blue god is eternal, immemorial and constant, and so is everything related to him."
This time while returing to Vrindavan she remembered her mother in particular. At the young age of sixteen on becoming increasingly ill it was impossible for Bobo to even move her hand leave alone turn her side without someone's assistance. She was sort of going into oblivion and when that fatal moment seemed close at hand, mother had told Munno,"I am convinced you will not think of leaving since I am aware of your temperament. Everyone has to definitely depart one day but it is meritorious to do so while chanting God's name."
Ravered Bobo says," I thought of my mother and was distressed. It struck me that who would I rely on while staying in Vrindavan. Instantly I saw a vision of handsome Shyam, near a tree above the earth positied in the sky's orbit. I just remember his waving yellow sash and flying curly locks. He held the flute in one hand and pointing at himself with the other said,'With my support.' "
This time round revered Bobo went to Ambala again and came back soon.
Her adorable Radha-Krishna, the yugal, came along with her to Vrindavan. The perceptible form of her seva, shringar and serving bhoga was idealistic and not ordinary honirific worship.She was so busy in pampering Thakurji, attending to his needs and seeing to his comfort that it was very tough for her to spare time to go anywhere. Or else she was absorbed in reading scriptures, giving assurance to her close ones through the medium of letters and showing the divine path Shyama-Shyam.
Quite some time had lapsed since Bobo had come to Vrindavan and talk of her being highly educated spread far and near.According to the conventional norms of Char Sampradaya she would not wear the kanthi (a Vaishnava rosary) and tilak (sectarian mark made with saffron sandal chiefly on the forehead)but it was not as if she opposed this practice. She believed that it was more becoming to devoutly entrust ourselves at the hands of Priya-Priyatam instead of flaunting our religious devotion. After her arrival there were several endeavours to lure her towards their individual selves.
She gave due respect to acharyas of sampradayas, following their traditions.Despite her austere lifestyle, a mindset similar to the shastras, Lord Shankar's manifestion and dedicated seva in accordance to Vaishnava doctrine Bobo remained an enigma for all.Self-effacing,she never fluanted her devotion. Everyone instinctively respected her and whoever came into contact was impressed.
Without understanding Bobo's intense involvement in her Shri Thakur and conscientious seva-worship, people construed her education as conceit and some controversies cropped up regarding her Braj bhava. But brazenly Bobo attended to the needs of Priya-Priyatam. Her lifestyle was austerely simple and it was her nature to respect common people even those younger than her. Endowed with loving tenderness, there was not a trace of arrogance in her.
Introduction to Dr.Banke Bihari*
During these days she was introduced to a reputed devotee Dr.Banke Bihari, a lawyer, and Krishna Mataji, his disciple. Bobo went for his satsang where reading scriptures and singing devotional songs was a practice.He would give a sermon afterwards and was drawn on seeing Bobo's religious devotion. Bankeji proposed propagating the evolution of spirituality to help society.She neither had time and nor did she find the plan acceptable.
***Dr.Bankeji was an able lawyer and worked along with Dr.Katju in the Meerut Conspiracy Case. Having devotion for Vrindavan,he came to have darshan but never went back. He was learned in Sufiism and composed several religious texts, getting acclaim abroad.
Coming into Contact with Shri Krishnaji
Should I call her the disciple or mentor of Bankeji since he referred to her as his guru. She would observe his ideals and lived as a renunciant in Vrindavan, having affection for Bobo.
Bobo's mother (Bauji) had not yet come to Vrindavan permanently. She visited the dhaam intermittently but was settled in Ambala. Bobo had to stop over in Delhi and saw the compilation of Vivekananda's English poems en route to Ambala. Although her mindset did not agree with the Raja Yoga of Vivekananda wherever she saw her chosen sentiments reflected in his verses she savoured them. Observing them, she says at one point:-
'Bhakti,Mukti,Japam,Tapas all These,
enjoyments, worship and derotim too-
These things and all Things, Similar to those
I have expelled at thy Supreme command
But only one desire is left in me-
An intimacy with thee, Mutual
Take me O ' Lord across thee.'
Such a loving entreaty for mutual intimacy. Though love can be one sided but it is made complete by reciprocation from both sides. Mutual love takes madhurya to the heights of elation and ecstasy but this is possilbe when there is no trace of mundane lust and self-gratification. No longer in search of satisfaction of worldly desires, stripped of pride and conceit when we urge one another into complete absorption in the joy of Krishna and relish his rasa or blissful experience which is beyond the dwaitadwait theory it is known as mutual intimacy.
Snake Bite Works as a Remedy for Illness
Revered Bobo returned to Vrindavan after some time and Sushila Bahenji had also come to the dhaam. They stayed side by side and roamed in the environs of Vrindavan to relish its beauty.There had been slight respite from the sweltering heat of summer with several rain showers. The Sawan month of lovers had begun. It was evening and dark due to gathered dense clouds. The matter dates back to 17th July 1961-when the two of them were walking merrily on the road in front of Sadhubela, raving about the passionate legends of Radha-Krishna.There were not many houses those days and a forest loomed on all sides. It had rained when beings who live underground step out in search of food, terrified of the rumbling clouds.
In the dark Bobo stepped on a venomous snake which wound around her foot and bit her. She gave a strong jerk and it slithered past on her left in the dim light. Blood was flowing profusely and the sign of its fangs had been made. Sushilaji and Bobo came home. Not telling a word to anyone, Bobo asked this matter to be kept secret.
Meticulously washing the foot beneath tap water and tying a chord around the leg, she lay down trying not to fall asleep. But several apprehensions tugged Sushila Bahenji and she looked at Bobo occasionally. Bobo stayed awake quite late and later succumbed to sleep.
Early in the morning Bobo got sankirtan done and later narrated the horrifying incident.Everyone was relieved at the joyous outcome of God's grace.
Due to the poison of the venomous snake there was a strange reaction on her body.Bobo used to have excruciating pain in her arm during rains and amazingly it was absolutely cured. A red-hued sweat exuded from her, staining her clothes at times and that too came to a stop.Thakurji transformed the snake bite into a remedy for treating her ailments.
Well revered Bobo was ecstatic on savouring the playfull dalliances of Radha-Krishna in Vrindavan. While going to the Yamuna one day
on crossing Seva Kunj she saw Priyaji standing in a thicket in front.Precisely then the teasing paramour Krishna arrived and hugged her from the back.When Shri Radha turned to look back a smile was frolicking on her lips.
Sometimes relishing the sentiments contained in shlokas and padas, she was mesmerized.These verses are expressions of the rasikas' sensitive feelings to some extent.
At times absorbed in the surging bhavas of Shri Krishna Karnamrita,"Oh the ineffable beauty and youth of this blue-hued kishor having done shringar... is ravaging!Not just decking himself but affecting all with his mysterious and sometimes terrifying rush of love,Krishna bursts forth into our hearts, filling our lives with inspiration and delight. His moonlike face with a slight smile makes the moon appear pale in comparison.
And at times she was crazed by the dark beauty of Krishna's body.Priya-Priyatam have just woken up and by saying Sarveshwar (Supreme Being) Bobo wanted to conceal his romantic dalliance.The joy of Nand Baba is inexpressible and Krishna grants infinte happiness to Braj maidens, and is the sovereign of Rasik Shiromanis (like Lord Shankar and the rest).
The Braj Rajkumar steals darkness from the dense gathered clouds, which he keeps concealed in his dark hue. And enhances the romantic dalliance of Radha-Krishna when the twinkling stars intrude.
The flute is the supreme lover's breath of love and a call to eternity.In the Shrimad Bhagavat the gopis sing paeans to the mellifluous flute and every lila is enacted on this basis. During Maha Raas the flute's melody drew the gopis, the milkmaids of Vrindavan out of their homes in a romantic dalliance with Krishna.
The sound of the flute is not new for the enraptured milkmaids but it enchants every time.The note of every moment inflames the Braj maidens to become one with the terrifying rush of Gopala's love.
Embedding the flute's messages in her heart, Bobo would rave about assurances received from Krishna. Such firm belief in the dark god is obtained with great good fortune.
His smile creating a furore in Braj, its forests, dense nikunjas, market places, banks of the Yamuna,and Vanshivat, is acclaimed by a beat of the kettledrum.
"How attractive is this smile? By relishing it, the threefold fever is reduced to ashes and the handsome Shyam is forced to grant his closeness. Arising from his lips, invading the hearts of cowherdesses, it draws them to the supreme lover.
Addressing some sakhi Shri Radha says,"My shrewdness does not work when I do not know which magical mantra his flute knows. I am adept at the art of sulking however much Krishna may appease me. Clever at making vows I never let any comment of his affect me. I can enchant with my sidelong glances. Which potion filling the bamboo shoot makes me helpless and all my strategems are forgotten.
Playing the flute Krishna makes me surrender since it enflames my ardent longing for Krishna."
And now the mind saw Krishna's handsome face peeping from dark locks of hair,having adorned a blue peacock tail feather on his head. How very fortunate is this feather stuck in Krishna's mop of hair. And now the eyes were drawn to his swaying yellow sash or pitambar desired by hordes wandering in Braj, arousing a desire in loving devotees and hence strutting around affectedly.Clinging to fragrant limbs, the sash attracts every Braj beauty.
The sakhis' svamini ardently longing to meet the supreme lover stepped out of her bhavan with the sakhis and came to Daan Ghaati. His roving eyes spotted her from the thickets closeby. And Radha saw him begging for a romantic dalliance and her heart beat fast, eyes were love-lorn, cheeks turned pale, lips quivered, the body shivered and every fiber of her being was thrilled. He accosted her," Beauty you have to give alms and pass this ghaati (Krishna extols tribute from Braj maidens going to sell milk and curd) or else one suffers loss and by giving there is enhancement, of beauty...youth...elation and ecstasy.
Sometimes the plight of a maiden filling water from banks of the Yamuna flitted before Bobo's eyes.," A gopi had just arrived to fill water from the Yamuna's waters when she heard a melodious sound and was stunned.She had no inkling that this flute player leaning against a kadamba tree was standing on banks of the Yamuna. The instant this maiden immersed her water pot in river Kalindi, the dark god placed the flute on his lips, filling it with the breath of love. Like a startled doe the milkmaid turned her face and the pot fell from her hands. Natnagar was charmed by her enraptured state and an amorous frolics ensued.
At times Bobo would narrate the interdependence of separation and union, a distinguished attribute of the gopis. As Krishna's lovers they repeatedly experience the joy of his presence followed by the emptiness of his absence," Sulking once Shri Radha vowed not to look at the supreme lover but he was truly offended. What could she do? Helpless she remarked," Go there itself, go." Krishna mustered courage and came closer. Catching hold of Radha's aanchal he began entreating. Every fiber of her being yearned for the joy of his touch but to give respite to her longing holding both the lotus hands of son of Nanda and distancing him she pointed that he go out of the kunja.
Setting Out For Barsana
Roaming in the idyllic pastures of Vrindavan Bobo suddenly wished to go to Barsana.She did not consider there to be much difference between Braj and Vrindavan since their grandeur is due to handsome Shyam his beloved Radha and her replications these Braj maidens. This sacred couple have ventured to every site of Braj and their dallying continues in nikunjas of different places, where his beloved cowherdesses wander around and the dark god goes for grazing cows.
Thus this entire land of pastoral Vraja and wilds of Vrindavan is highly worthy of reverence because Krishna enjoys himself in this playground without the restrains of divinity.Vrindavan is not just posited within the periphery of five kilometres but pervades entire Braj. Revered Bobo had this conception and journeyed to Shri Giriraj,Shri Vrashbhanupur,Shri Nandgaon and Gokul.
Well Bobo's heart had been attracted to Priyaji's personal site Vrishbhanupur earlier.And this time a chance of visiting the place cropped up and she ventured to that place. With an intoxicating gait of a she elephant Radha has arrived at the banks to meet passionate Priyatam. He must be hiding nearby because he comes to the wilds beforehand. Priyaji is well aware of his antics and if she has to sulk it is different otherwise she enchants him.
Not seeing Krishna on the Yamuna's sandy banks she figured out a strategy of nabbing the hidden thief. On calling to mind the vina (a large instrument of the type of the lute) Madhumati, her vina, appeared instantly. Krishna answered her passionate call with his flute play by merging his fifth note of the musical scale with hers. Who knows when their frolic taking rest, tying the yugal with its melodious chord, bestowed intimacy on them...
With these charming sentiments Bobo roamed in the ethereal sites of Barsana. And this passionate site bathing her in their romantic dalliances, entangled her in the pathos of longing and joy of belonging. Alongside Barsana bestows spirituality to its seekers due to its grace.
Spirited antics are Krishna's nature and he is the abode of grace and the repository of love. He plays various sports with his sakhas, and there is no limit to his spirited antics with the horde of sakhis. Sometimes disguised he mingles with them and at times summons them to dalliance sites to frolic with them. Once he eloped with a maiden by assuming the form of her daadi and guised as Madhuri Sakhi went to test Shri Radha in love.
However Radha ultimately remains and is revealed as the very embodiment of that irresistibly attractive feminine principle toward which the masculine power encompassed in the god is drawn. But if the gopis representing souls in search of salvation were hungry for the fulfilment of love that dark skinned cowherd is hungry too. Being the most faithless of lovers, he is subject to all the fickleness which adds despair to the delights of love. Even the knowledge that the object of their desire was as capricious as the blak bee did not restrain them.
Relishing these dalliances, revered Bobo remained immersed in the sweetness of Vrindavan.
Braj maidens enflame the supreme lover's heart and the son of Nanda is forced to enter some new amorous frolic.Without the support of these cowherdesses no dalliance is complete( as love requires not only the self but equally the object of love for its expression)... their love for Krishna is reciprocated and thus made complete.
How can a life less write up express the tale of Bobo's good fortune.
Lost in the darkness of night, the fatigued yugal came out lazily and handsome Shyam was lying down when the morning breeze nudged and woke up. Adoring him in such a state some maiden was fascinated.He was not asleep and half opened his eyes on sensing her approach. And now the son of Nanda ravaged her heart by stretching out his limbs.
The sequence of this enraptured state coupled with a romantic dalliance is constant at night.Ecstatic once Bobo exulted," Radha-Krishna were both busy in an amorous frolic throughout the night but were not yet satisfied. The sakhi saw that it was about to be dawn but the dark hued god had not come to the bower's entrance with his beloved.
She peeped from the thicket and saw that holding hands Radha-Krishna with bodies,minds and souls fused and focused in a single expression of love are sitting contained in each other in that arbour overgrown with creepers. Still ardently longing for each other, they were not tired of dallying at night."