Exalted Devotion of Brahmanas Wives

SB 10.23.28-29 - Exalted Devotion of Brahmanas Wives (download mp3), (download flv) and (download mp4)
by Vrishabhanu Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty

SB 10.23.28
tad yata deva-yajanam
patayo vo dvijatayah
sva-satram parayisyanti
yusmabhir grha-medhinah

You should thus return to the sacrificial arena, because your husbands, the learned brahmanas, are householders and need your assistance to finish their respective sacrifices.

SB 10.23.29
sri-patnya ucuh
maivam vibho ’rhati bhavan gaditum nr-samsam
 satyam kurusva nigamam tava pada-mulam
prapta vayam tulasi-dama padavasrstam
kesair nivodhum atilanghya samasta-bandhun

The wives of the brahmanas replied: O almighty one, please do not speak such cruel words. Rather, You should fulfill Your promise that You always reciprocate with Your devotees in kind. Now that we have attained Your lotus feet, we simply wish to remain here in the forest so we may carry upon our heads the garlands of tulasi leaves that fall from Your lotus feet. We are ready to give up all material relationships.

Here the brahmanas’ wives are saying something similar to what the gopis say at the beginning of the rasa dance (Bhag. 10.29.31), when Lord Krsna tells them to go home as well. Like this verse, the gopis’ statement begins with the words maivam vibho ’rhati bhavan gaditum nr-samsam.

Nigama refers to the Vedic literature, which states that one who surrenders at the lotus feet of the Lord does not return to this material world. Thus the brahmanas’ wives appealed to the Lord that since they had surrendered to Him, it was unfair for Him to order them to return to their materialistic husbands.

According to Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, Lord Krsna might have pointed out to the brahmanas’ wives, “You young ladies are members of the aristocratic brahmana community, so how can you surrender at the feet of a mere cowherd boy?”

To this the ladies might have replied, “Since we have already surrendered at Your lotus feet, and since we desire to become Your servants, we are obviously not maintaining a false identification as members of the so-called brahmana community. You can easily ascertain this from our words.”

Lord Krsna might have replied, “I am a cowherd boy, and My proper maidservants and girlfriends are the cowherd girls, the gopis.”

The wives might have answered, “True, let them be so. Let them shine forth if You are embarrassed in front of Your relatives to make brahmana ladies Your maidservants. We certainly don’t want to embarrass You. We will not go to Your village but will rather remain in Vrndavana, like presiding deities of the forest. We simply desire to perfect our lives by even a slight trace of connection with You.”

Thus by the spiritual insight of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, we learn that the brahmanas’ wives offered to remain at a distance and simply take the tulasi leaves that would fall from the lotus feet of Krsna or be crushed by the feet of His girlfriends when He would embrace them.

The ladies offered to carry these tulasi leaves upon their heads. Thus renouncing the desire to become Krsna’s intimate girlfriends or maidservants (a position they knew was difficult to achieve), the young brahmana ladies begged to remain in Vrndavana forest. If the Lord had then asked “Then what will your family members say?” they would have replied “We have already transcended our so-called relatives because we are seeing You, the Supreme Lord, face to face.”