Accessing The Inaccessible One
Srimad Bhagavatam 10.32.01-22 - Accessing The Inaccessible One (download mp3), (download flv) and (download mp4)
by Dwarkadish Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
iti gopyah pragayantyah
pralapantyas ca citradha
ruruduh su-svaram rajan
Sukadeva Gosvami said: O King, having thus sung and spoken their hearts out in various charming ways, the gopis began to weep loudly. They were very eager to see Lord Krsna.
tasam avirabhuc chaurih
Then Lord Krsna, a smile on His lotus face, appeared before the gopis. Wearing a garland and a yellow garment, He directly appeared as one who can bewilder the mind of Cupid, who himself bewilders the minds of ordinary people.
tam vilokyagatam prestham
uttasthur yugapat sarvas
tanvah pranam ivagatam
Translation:When the gopis saw that their dearmost Krsna had returned to them, they all stood up at once, and out of their affection for Him their eyes bloomed wide. It was as if the air of life had reentered their bodies.
kacit karambujam saurer
jagrhe ’ñjalina muda
kacid dadhara tad-bahum
One gopi joyfully took Krsna’s hand between her folded palms, and another placed His arm, anointed with sandalwood paste, on her shoulder.
santapta stanayor adhat
A slender gopi respectfully took in her joined hands the betel nut He had chewed, and another gopi, burning with desire, put His lotus feet on her breasts.
eka bhru-kutim abadhya
One gopi, beside herself with loving anger, bit her lips and stared at Him with frowning eyebrows, as if to wound Him with her harsh glances.
apitam api natrpyat
santas tac-caranam yatha
Another gopi looked with unblinking eyes upon His lotus face, but even after deeply relishing its sweetness She did not feel satiated, just as mystic saints are never satiated when meditating upon the Lord’s feet.
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains that the analogy given here of saintly persons meditating upon the Lord’s feet is only partially applicable, since the ecstasy the gopis felt when Krsna came back was actually unparalleled. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti also reveals that this particular gopi is the most fortunate of all, Srimati Radharani.
tam kacin netra-randhrena
hrdi krtva nimilya ca
One gopi took the Lord through the aperture of her eyes and placed Him within her heart. Then, with her eyes closed and her bodily hairs standing on end, she continuously embraced Him within. Thus immersed in transcendental ecstasy, she resembled a yogi meditating upon the Lord.
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura states that the seven gopis mentioned so far in this chapter are the first seven of the eight principal gopis, whose status allowed them to immediately approach Sri Krsna upon His reappearance. The acarya quotes a verse from the Sri Vaisnava-tosani that gives the names of these seven as Candravali, Syamala, Saibya, Padma, Sri Radha, Lalita and Visakha. The eighth is understood to be Bhadra. Sri Vaisnava-tosani itself quotes a verse from the Skanda Purana that declares these eight gopis to be the principal among the three billion gopis. Detailed information about the hierarchy of gopis is available in Srila Rupa Gosvami’s Ujjvala-nilamani.
The Padma Purana confirms that Sri Radha is the foremost of the gopis:
yatha radha priya visnos
tasyah kundam priyam tatha
The Brhad-gautamiya-tantra also names Srimati Radharani as Krsna’s foremost consort:
devi krsna-mayi prokta
kantih sammohini para
“The transcendental goddess Srimati Radharani is the direct counterpart of Lord Sri Krsna. She is the central figure for all the goddesses of fortune. She possesses all attractiveness to attract the all-attractive Personality of Godhead. She is the primeval internal potency of the Lord.” (This translation is Srila Prabhupada’s English rendering of Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi 4.83.)
Additional information about Sri Radha is given in the Rg-parisista (the supplement to the Rg Veda): radhaya madhavo devo madhavenaiva radhika/ vibhrajante janesu. “Among all persons, it is Sri Radha in whose company Lord Madhava is especially glorious, as She is especially glorious in His.”
sarvas tah kesavaloka-
jahur viraha-jam tapam
prajñam prapya yatha janah
All the gopis enjoyed the greatest festivity when they saw their beloved Kesava again. They gave up the distress of separation, just as people in general forget their misery when they gain the association of a spiritually enlightened person.
bhagavan acyuto vrtah
purusah saktibhir yatha
Encircled by the gopis, who were now relieved of all distress, Lord Acyuta, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, shone forth splendidly. My dear King, Krsna thus appeared like the Supersoul encircled by His spiritual potencies.
The gopis are Lord Krsna’s internal potency, and therefore when they were relieved and happy again the Lord shone forth even more brilliantly than before, and His transcendental bliss increased. Krsna loves the gopis with pure transcendental love, and they love Him in the same pure way. The whole affair, conducted on the transcendental platform, is inconceivable to those bound in material existence.
tah samadaya kalindya
nirvisya pulinam vibhuh
The almighty Lord then took the gopis with Him to the bank of the Kalindi, who with the hands of her waves had scattered piles of soft sand upon the shore. In that auspicious place the breeze, bearing the fragrance of blooming kunda and mandara flowers, attracted many bees, and the abundant rays of the autumn moon dispelled the darkness of night.
manorathantam srutayo yatha yayuh
svair uttariyaih kuca-kunkumankitair
aciklpann asanam atma-bandhave
Their heartache vanquished by the ecstasy of seeing Krsna, the gopis, like the personified Vedas before them, felt their desires completely fulfilled. For their dear friend Krsna they arranged a seat with their shawls which were smeared with the kunkuma powder from their breasts.
In the Eighty-seventh Chapter of this canto (text 23), the srutis, or personified Vedas, pray as follows:
vayam api te samah samadrso ’nghri-saroja-sudhah
“These women fully absorbed their minds in meditation on Lord Krsna’s powerful arms, which are like the bodies of great serpents. We want to become just like the gopis and render service to His lotus feet.” The srutis had seen Krsna during His appearance in the previous day of Brahma and had become full of the most intense desire to associate with Him. Then in this kalpa they became gopis. And since the Vedas are eternal in human society, the srutis in this kalpa also become full of desire for Krsna and in the next kalpa will also become gopis. This information is given by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura.
tatropavisto bhagavan sa isvaro
cakasa gopi-parisad-gato ’rcitas
trailokya-laksmy-eka-padam vapur dadhat
Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for whom the great masters of mystic meditation arrange a seat within their hearts, took His seat in the assembly of gopis. His transcendental body, the exclusive abode of beauty and opulence within the three worlds, shone brilliantly as the gopis worshiped Him.
The masters of mystic meditation include Lord Siva, Ananta Sesa and other exalted personalities, all of whom keep the Lord seated within the lotus of their hearts. This same Lord, conquered by the intense, selfless love of the gopis, agreed to become their boyfriend and dance with them in Vrndavana, after sitting upon their fragrant shawls on the bank of the Yamuna River.
sabhajayitva tam ananga-dipanam
samstutya isat kupita babhasire
Sri Krsna had awakened romantic desires within the gopis, and they honored Him by glancing at Him with playful smiles, gesturing amorously with their eyebrows, and massaging His hands and feet as they held them in their laps. Even while worshiping Him, however, they felt somewhat angry, and thus they addressed Him as follows.
bhajato ’nubhajanty eka
nobhayams ca bhajanty eka
etan no bruhi sadhu bhoh
The gopis said: Some people reciprocate the affection only of those who are affectionate toward them, while others show affection even to those who are indifferent or inimical. And yet others will not show affection toward anyone. Dear Krsna, please properly explain this matter to us.
By this apparently polite question, the gopis want to expose Lord Krsna’s failure to properly reciprocate their love. They were very disturbed when Sri Krsna left them in the forest, and they want to know why He caused them to suffer in these loving affairs.
mitho bhajanti ye sakhyah
svarthaikantodyama hi te
na tatra sauhrdam dharmah
svarthartham tad dhi nanyatha
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: So-called friends who show affection for each other only to benefit themselves are actually selfish. They have no true friendship, nor are they following the true principles of religion. Indeed, if they did not expect benefit for themselves, they would not reciprocate.
The Lord here reminds the gopis that in pure loving friendship there is no sense of selfish interest but rather only love for one’s friend.
bhajanty abhajato ye vai
karunah pitarau yatha
dharmo nirapavado ’tra
sauhrdam ca su-madhyamah
My dear slender-waisted gopis, some people are genuinely merciful or, like parents, naturally affectionate. Such persons, who devotedly serve even those who fail to reciprocate with them, are following the true, faultless path of religion, and they are true well-wishers.
bhajato ’pi na vai kecid
bhajanty abhajatah kutah
atmarama hy apta-kama
Then there are those individuals who are spiritually self-satisfied, materially fulfilled or by nature ungrateful or simply envious of superiors. Such persons will not love even those who love them, what to speak of those who are inimical.
Some people, being spiritually self-satisfied, do not reciprocate others’ affection because they want to avoid entanglement in mundane dealings. Other persons do not reciprocate simply out of envy or arrogance. And still others fail to reciprocate because they are materially satisfied and thus uninterested in new material opportunities. Lord Krsna patiently explains all these things to the gopis.
naham tu sakhyo bhajato ’pi jantun
bhajamy amisam anuvrtti-vrttaye
yathadhano labdha-dhane vinaste
tac-cintayanyan nibhrto na veda
But the reason I do not immediately reciprocate the affection of living beings even when they worship Me, O gopis, is that I want to intensify their loving devotion. They then become like a poor man who has gained some wealth and then lost it, and who thus becomes so anxious about it that he can think of nothing else.
Lord Krsna states in Bhagavad-gita, ye yatha mam prapadyante tams tathaiva bhajamy aham: “As people approach Me, I reciprocate with them accordingly.” Yet even if the Lord is approached by someone with devotion, to intensify the devotee’s love the Lord may not immediately reciprocate fully. In fact, the Lord is truly reciprocating. After all, a sincere devotee always prays to the Lord, “Please help me to love You purely.” Therefore the Lord’s so-called neglect is actually the fulfillment of the devotee’s prayer. Lord Krsna intensifies our love for Him by apparently separating Himself from us, and the result is that we achieve what we really wanted and prayed for: intense love for the Absolute Truth, Krsna. Thus Lord Krsna’s apparent negligence is actually His thoughtful reciprocation and the fulfillment of our deepest and purest desire.
According to the acaryas, as Lord Krsna began to speak this verse the gopis looked at one another with squinting eyes, trying to hide the smiles breaking out on their faces. Even as Lord Krsna was speaking, the gopis had begun to realize that He was bringing them to the highest perfection of loving service.
svanam hi vo mayy anuvrttaye ’balah
mayaparoksam bhajata tirohitam
masuyitum marhatha tat priyam priyah
My dear girls, understanding that simply for My sake you had rejected the authority of worldly opinion, of the Vedas and of your relatives, I acted as I did only to increase your attachment to Me. Even when I removed Myself from your sight by suddenly disappearing, I never stopped loving you. Therefore, My beloved gopis, please do not harbor any bad feelings toward Me, your beloved.
Here the Lord indicates that though the gopis were already perfect in their love for Him, still, to inconceivably increase their perfection and show an example for the world, He acted as He did.
na paraye ’ham niravadya-samyujam
sva-sadhu-krtyam vibudhayusapi vah
ya mabhajan durjara-geha-srnkhalah
samvrscya tad vah pratiyatu sadhuna
I am not able to repay My debt for your spotless service, even within a lifetime of Brahma. Your connection with Me is beyond reproach. You have worshiped Me, cutting off all domestic ties, which are difficult to break. Therefore please let your own glorious deeds be your compensation.
The translation and word meanings for this verse are taken from Srila Prabhupada’s English rendering of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Adi 4.180).
In conclusion, the gopis became eternally glorious by their behavior in the Lord’s temporary absence, and the mutual love between them and the Lord was wonderfully enhanced. This is the perfection of Krsna and His loving devotees.