46. Delivery of the Message of Krsna to the Gopis

46 / Delivery of the Message of Kåñëa to the Gopés
When the gopés saw Uddhava, they observed that his features almost exactly resembled the features of Kåñëa, and they could understand that he was a great devotee of Kåñëa's. His hands were very long, and his eyes were just like the petals of the lotus flower. He was dressed in yellow colored garments and wore a garland of lotus flowers. His face was very beautiful. Having achieved the liberation of särüpya and having the same bodily features as the Lord, Uddhava looked almost like Kåñëa. In Kåñëa's absence, the gopés had been coming dutifully to visit mother Yaçodä's house early in the morning. They knew that Nanda Mahäräja and mother Yaçodä were always griefstricken, and they had made it their first duty to come and pay their respects to the most exalted elderly personalities of Våndävana. Seeing the friends of Kåñëa, Nanda and Yaçodä would remember Kåñëa Himself and be satisfied, and the gopés also would be pleased by seeing Nanda and Yaçodä.
When the gopés saw that Uddhava was representing Kåñëa even in his bodily features, they thought that he must be a soul completely surrendered unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They began to contemplate, "Who is this boy who looks just like Kåñëa? He has the same eyes like lotus petals, the same raised nose and beautiful face, and he is smiling in the same way. In all respects he is resembling Kåñëa, Çyämasundara, the beautiful dark boy. He is even dressed exactly like Kåñëa. Where has this boy come from? Who is the fortunate girl who has him for her husband?" Thus they all talked among themselves. They were very anxious to know about him, and because they were simply unsophisticated village girls, they surrounded Uddhava.
When the gopés understood that Uddhava had a message from Kåñëa, they became very happy and called him to a secluded place to sit down. They wanted to talk with him very freely and did not want to be embarrassed before unknown persons. They began to welcome him with polite words, in great submissiveness. "We know that you are a most confidential associate of Kåñëa and that He has therefore sent you to Våndävana to give solace to His father and mother. We can understand that family affection is very strong. Even great sages who have taken to the renounced order of life cannot give up family members. Kåñëa has therefore sent you to His father and mother; otherwise He has no further business in Våndävana. He is now in town. What does He have to know about Våndävana Village or the cows' pasturing grounds? These things are not at all useful for Kåñëa because He is now a man in the city.
"Surely He has nothing to do with persons who do not happen to be His family members. Why should one bother about those who are outside the family, especially and specifically those who are attached as the wives of others. Kåñëa is interested in them as long as there is a need of gratification, like the bumblebees who have interest in the flowers as long as they want to take the honey out of them. It is very natural and psychological that a prostitute does not care for her paramour as soon as he loses his money. Similarly, when the citizens find that a government is incapable of giving them full protection, they leave the country. A student, after finishing his education, gives up his relationship with the teacher and the school. A rich man, after taking his reward from his worshiper, gives him up. When the fruit season is over, the birds are no longer interested in the tree. Just after eating in the house of a lord, the guest gives up his relationship with the host. After a forest fire, when there is a scarcity of green grass, the deer and other animals give up the forest. And so a man, after enjoying his girl friend, gives up his connection with her." In this way, all the gopés began to indirectly accuse Kåñëa by citing so many similes.
Uddhava understood that the gopés of Våndävana were all simply absorbed in the thought of Kåñëa and His childhood activities. While talking about Kåñëa with Uddhava, they forgot all about their household business. They even forgot about themselves as their interest in Kåñëa increased more and more.
One of the gopés, namely Çrématé Rädhäräëé, was so much absorbed in thoughts of Kåñëa by dint of Her personal touch with Him that She actually began to talk with a bumblebee which was flying there and trying to touch Her lotus feet. While another gopé was talking with Kåñëa's messenger Uddhava, Çrématé Rädhäräëé took that bumblebee to be a messenger from Kåñëa and began to talk with it as follows. "Bumblebee, you are accustomed to drinking honey from the flowers, and therefore you have preferred to be a messenger of Kåñëa, who is of the same nature as you. I have seen on your moustaches the red powder of kuìkuma, which was smeared on the flower garland of Kåñëa while He was pressing the breast of some other girl who is My competitor. You are feeling very proud by touching that flower, and your moustaches have become reddish. You have come here carrying a message for Me. You are anxious to touch My feet. But My dear bumblebee, let me warn you--don't touch Me! I don't want any messages from your unreliable master. You are the unreliable servant of an unreliable master." It may be that Çrématé Rädhäräëé purposely addressed that bumblebee sarcastically in order to criticize the messenger Uddhava. Indirectly, Çrématé Rädhäräëé saw Uddhava as not only resembling Kåñëa's bodily features but as being equal to Kåñëa. In this way She indicated that Uddhava was as unreliable as Kåñëa Himself. Çrématé Rädhäräëé wanted to give specific reasons why She was dissatisfied with Kåñëa and His messengers.
She addressed the bumblebee, "Your master Kåñëa is exactly of your quality. You sit down on a flower, and after taking a little honey you immediately fly away and sit in another flower and taste. You're just like your master Kåñëa. He gave us the chance of tasting the touch of His lips and then left altogether. I know also that the goddess of fortune, Lakñmé, who is always in the midst of the lotus flower, is constantly engaged in Kåñëa's service. But I do not know why she has become so captivated by Kåñëa. She is attached to Him, although she knows His actual character. As far as we are concerned, we are more intelligent than that goddess of fortune. We are not going to be cheated anymore by Kåñëa or His messengers."
According to expert opinion, Lakñmé, the goddess of fortune is a subordinate expansion of Çrématé Rädhäräëé. As Kåñëa has numerous expansions of Viñëu-mürtis, so His pleasure potency, Rädhäräëé, also has innumerable expansions of goddesses of fortune. Therefore the goddess of fortune, Lakñméjé, is always anxious to be elevated to the position of the gopés.
Çrématé Rädhäräëé continued: "You foolish bumblebee, you are trying to satisfy Me and get a reward by singing the glories of Kåñëa, but it is a useless attempt. We are bereft of all our possessions. We are away from our homes and families. We know very well about Kåñëa. We know even more than you. So whatever you make up about Him will be old stories to us. Kåñëa is now in the city and is better known as the friend of Arjuna. He now has many new girl friends, and they are no doubt very happy in association with Him. Because the lusty burning sensation of their breasts has been satisfied by Kåñëa, they are now happy. If you go there and glorify Kåñëa, they may be pleased to reward you. You are just trying to pacify Me by your behavior as a flatterer, and therefore you have put your head under My feet. But I know the trick which you are trying to play. I know that you are a messenger coming from a great trickster, Kåñëa. Therefore please leave Me.
"I can understand that you are very expert in reuniting two opposing parties, but at the same time you must know that I cannot place My reliance upon you, nor upon your master Kåñëa. We left our families, husbands, children and relatives only for Kåñëa, and yet He did not feel any obligation in exchange. He has left us for lost. Do you think we can place our faith in Him again? We know that Kåñëa cannot be long without the association of young women. That is His nature. He is finding difficulty in Mathurä because He is no longer in the village among innocent cowherd girls. He is in the aristocratic society and must be feeling difficulty in making friendships with the young girls. Perhaps you have come here to canvass again or to take us there. But why should Kåñëa expect us to return there? He is greatly qualified to entice all other girls, not only in Våndävana or Mathurä, but all over the universe. His wonderfully enchanting smile is so attractive and the movement of His eyebrows so beautiful that He can call for any woman from the heavenly, middle or plutonic planets. Mahä-Lakñmé, the greatest of all goddesses of fortune, also hankers to render Him some service. In comparison to all these women of the universe, what are we? We are very insignificant.
"Kåñëa advertises Himself as very magnanimous, and He is praised by great saints. His qualifications could be perfectly utilized if He would only show us mercy because we are downtrodden and neglected by Him. You poor messenger, you are only a less intelligent servant. You do not know much about Kåñëa, how ungrateful and hardhearted He has been, not only in this life, but in His previous lives also. We have all heard this from our grandmother, Paurëamäsé. She has informed us that Kåñëa was born in a kñatriya family previous to this birth and was known as Rämacandra. In that birth, instead of killing Väli, an enemy of His friend, in the manner of a kñatriya, He killed him just like a hunter. A hunter takes a secure hiding place and then kills an animal without facing it. So Lord Rämacandra, as a kñatriya, should have fought with Väli face to face, but instigated by His friend, He killed him from behind a tree. Thus He deviated from the religious principles of a kñatriya. Also, He was so attracted by the beauty of Sétä that He converted Çürpaëakhä, the sister of Rävaëa, into an ugly woman by cutting off her nose and ears. Çürpaëakhä proposed an intimate relationship with Him, and as a kñatriya, He should have satisfied her. But He was so selfish that He could not forget Sétädevé and converted Çürpaëakhä into an ugly woman. Before that birth as a kñatriya, He took His birth as a brähmaëa boy known as Vämanadeva and asked charity from Bali Mahäräja. Bali Mahäräja was so magnanimous that he gave Him whatever he had, yet Kåñëa as Vämanadeva ungratefully arrested him just like a crow and pushed him down to the Pätäla kingdom. We know all about Kåñëa and how ungrateful He is. But here is the difficulty: in spite of His being so cruel and hardhearted, it is very difficult for us to give up talking about Him. Not only are we unable to give up this talk, but great sages and saintly persons are also engaged in talking about Him. We gopés of Våndävana do not want to make any more friendships with this blackish boy, but we do not know how we shall be able to give up remembering and talking about His activities."
Since Kåñëa is absolute, His so-called unkind activities are as relishable as His kind activities. Saintly persons and great devotees like the gopés cannot give up Kåñëa in any circumstances. Lord Caitanya therefore prayed, "Kåñëa, You are free and independent in all respects. You can either embrace Me or crush Me under Your feet--whatever You like. You may make Me brokenhearted by not letting Me see You throughout my whole life, but You are my only object of love."
"In My opinion," Çrématé Rädhäräëé continued, "one should not hear about Kåñëa, because as soon as a drop of the nectar of His transcendental activities is poured into the ear, one immediately rises above the platform of duality, attraction and rejection. Being completely freed from the attraction of material attachment, one gives up the attachment for this material world, family, home, wife, children and everything which is materially dear to every person. Being dispossessed of all material acquisition, one makes his relatives and himself unhappy. Then he wanders in search of Kåñëa, either as a human being or in other species of life, even as a bird. It is very difficult to actually understand Kåñëa, His name, His quality, His form, His pastimes, His paraphernalia and His entourage."
Çrématé Rädhäräëé continued to speak to the black messenger of Kåñëa. "Please do not talk any more about Kåñëa. It is better to talk about something else. We are already doomed, like the black-spotted she-deer in the forest who are enchanted by the sweet musical vibration of the hunter. In the same way, we have been enchanted by the sweet words of Kåñëa, and again and again we are thinking of the rays of the nails of His toes. We are becoming more and more lustful for His association; therefore, I request you not to talk of Kåñëa anymore."
This talk of Rädhäräëé with the bumblebee messenger and Her accusing Kåñëa, and, at the same time, Her inability to give up talking about Him, are symptoms of the topmost transcendental ecstasy, called mahäbhäva. The ecstatic mahäbhäva manifestation is possible only in the persons of Rädhäräëé and Her associates. Great äcäryas like Çréla Rüpa Gosvämé and Viçvanätha Cakravarté –häkur have analyzed these mahäbhäva speeches of Çrématé Rädhäräëé, and they have described the different sentiments such as udghürëä, bewilderment, and jalpapratijalpa, talking in different ways. In Rädhäräëé is found the science of ujjala, or the brightest jewel or love of God. While Rädhäräëé was talking with the bee and the bee was flying hither and thither, it all of a sudden disappeared from Her sight. She was in full mourning due to separation from Kåñëa and was feeling ecstasy by talking with the bee. But as soon as the bee disappeared, She became almost mad, thinking that the messenger-bee might have returned to Kåñëa to inform Him all about Her talking against Him. "Kåñëa must have been very sorry to hear it," She thought. In this way She was very much overwhelmed with another type of ecstasy.
In the meantime, the bee, flying hither and thither, appeared before Her again. She thought, "Kåñëa is still kind to Me. In spite of the messenger carrying disruptive messages, He is so kind that He has again sent the bee to take Me to Him." Çrématé Rädhäräëé was very careful this time not to say anything against Kåñëa. "My dear friend, I welcome you," She said. "Kåñëa is so kind that He has again sent you. Kåñëa is so kind and affectionate to Me that He has sent you back, fortunately, in spite of your carrying My message against Him. My dear friend, you can ask from Me whatever you want. I shall give you anything because you are so kind upon Me. You have come to take Me to Kåñëa because He is not able to come here. He is surrounded by new girl friends in Mathurä. But you are a tiny creature. How can you take Me there? How will you be able to help Me in meeting Kåñëa while He is taking rest there along with the goddess of fortune and embracing her to His chest? Never mind. Let us forget all these things about My going there or sending you. Please let Me know how Kåñëa is faring in Mathurä. Tell Me if He still remembers His foster father, Nanda Mahäräja, His affectionate mother, Yaçodä, His cowherd friends and His poor friends like us, the gopés. I am sure that He must sometimes sing about us. We served Him just like maidservants, without any payment. Is there any possibility that Kåñëa will again come back and place His arms around us? His limbs are always fragrant with the aguru scent. Please put all these inquiries to Kåñëa."
Uddhava was standing near, and he heard Rädhäräëé talking in this way, as if She had become almost mad after Kåñëa. He was exceedingly surprised at how the gopés were accustomed to think of Kåñëa constantly in that topmost ecstasy of mahäbhäva love. He had brought a message in writing from Kåñëa, and now he wanted to present it before the gopés, just to pacify them. He said, "My dear gopés, your mission of human life is now successful. You are all wonderful devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; therefore you are eligible to be worshiped by all kinds of people. You are worshipable throughout the three worlds because your minds are wonderfully absorbed in the thought of Väsudeva, Kåñëa. He is the goal of all kinds of pious activities and ritualistic performances, such as giving in charity, rigidly following the austerity of vows, undergoing severe penances and igniting the fire of sacrifice. He is the purpose behind the chanting of different mantras, the reading of the Vedas, controlling the senses and concentrating the mind in meditation. These are some of the many different processes for self-realization and attainment of perfection of life. But actually they are only meant for realizing Kåñëa and dovetailing oneself in the transcendental loving service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead." This is the last instruction of Bhagavad-gétä also; although there are descriptions of different kinds of processes of self-realization, at the end Kåñëa recommended one should give up everything and simply surrender unto Him. All other processes are meant for teaching one how to surrender ultimately unto the lotus feet of Kåñëa. The Bhagavad-gétä also says that this surrendering process is completed by a sincere person executing the processes of self-realization in wisdom and austerity after many births."
Since the perfection of such austerity was completely manifested in the life of the gopés, Uddhava was fully satisfied upon seeing their transcendental position. He continued to say: "My dear gopés, the mentality which you have developed in relationship with Kåñëa is very, very difficult to attain, even for great sages and saintly persons. You have attained the highest perfectional stage of life. It is a great boon for you that you have fixed your mind upon Kåñëa and have decided to have Kåñëa only, giving up your family, home, relatives, husbands and children for the sake of the Supreme Personality. Because your mind is now fully absorbed in Kåñëa, the Supreme Soul, universal love has automatically developed in you. I think myself very fortunate that I have been favored, by your grace, to see you in this situation."
When Uddhava said that he had a message from Kåñëa, the gopés were more interested in hearing the message than in hearing about their exalted position. They did not very much like being praised for their high position. They showed their anxiety to hear the message which Uddhava had brought from Kåñëa. Uddhava said, "My dear gopés, I am especially deputed to carry this message to you, who are such great and gentle devotees. Kåñëa has specifically sent me to you because I am His most confidential servitor."
The written message which Uddhava brought from Kåñëa was not delivered to the gopés by Uddhava, but he personally read it before them. The message was very gravely written, so that not only the gopés, but all empiric philosophers might understand how pure love of God is intrinsically integrated with all the different energies of the Supreme Lord. From Vedic information it is understood that the Supreme Lord has multi-energies, paräsya çaktir vividhaiva çrüyate. Also, the gopés were such intimate personal friends of Kåñëa that while He was writing the message for them, He was much moved and could not write distinctly. Uddhava, as the student of Båhaspati, had very sharp intelligence, so instead of handing over the written message, he thought it wise to read it personally and explain it to them.
Uddhava continued: "These are the words from the Personality of Godhead. 'My dear gopés, My dear friends, please know that separation between ourselves is impossible at any time, at any place or under any circumstances, because I am all-pervading.'"
This all-pervasiveness of Kåñëa is explained in the Bhagavad-gétä, both in the Ninth and Seventh chapters. Kåñëa is all-pervasive in His impersonal feature; everything is resting in Him, but He is not personally present everywhere. In the Seventh Chapter also, it is stated that the five gross elements, earth, water, fire, air and sky, and the three subtle elements, mind, intelligence, and ego, are all His inferior energies. But there is another, superior energy, which is called the living entity. The living entities are also directly part and parcel of Kåñëa. Therefore Kåñëa is the source of both the material and spiritual energies. He is always intermingled with everything as cause and effect. Not only the gopés, but all living entities are always inseparably connected with Kåñëa in all circumstances. The gopés, however, are perfectly and thoroughly in cooperation in their relationship with Kåñëa, whereas the living entities under the spell of mäyä are forgetful of Kåñëa. They think themselves as separate identities having no connection with Kåñëa.
Love of Kåñëa, or Kåñëa consciousness, is therefore the perfectional stage of real knowledge in understanding things as they are. Our minds can never be vacant. The mind is constantly occupied with some kind of thought, and the subject matter of such thought cannot be outside the eight elements of Kåñëa's energy. One who knows this philosophical aspect of all thoughts is actually a wise man, and he surrenders unto Kåñëa. The gopés are the typical example of this perfectional stage of knowledge. They are not simple mental speculators. Their minds are always in Kåñëa. The mind is nothing but the energy of Kåñëa. Actually, any person who can think, feel, act and will cannot be separated from Kåñëa. But the stage in which he can understand his eternal relationship is called Kåñëa consciousness. The diseased condition in which he cannot understand his eternal relationship with Kåñëa is the contaminated stage, or mäyä. Since the gopés are on the platform of pure transcendental knowledge, their minds are always filled with Kåñëa consciousness. For example, as there is no separation between fire and air, so there is no separation between Kåñëa and the living entities. When the living entities forget Kåñëa, they are not in their normal condition. As for the gopés, because they are always thinking of Kåñëa they are on the absolute stage of perfection in knowledge. The so-called empiric philosophers sometimes think that the path of bhakti is meant for the less intelligent, but unless the so-called man of knowledge comes to the platform of bhakti, his knowledge is certainly impure and imperfect. Actually, the stage of perfecting one's eteranl relationship with Kåñëa is love in separation. But that is also illusory because there is no separation. The gopés were never seperated from Kåñëa. Even from the philosophical point of view, there was no separation.
The cosmic manifestation is also not separate from Kåñëa. "Nothing is separate from Me; the whole cosmic manifestation is resting on Me and is not separate from Me. Before the creation, I was existing." This is confirmed in the Vedic literature: before creation, there was only Näräyaëa. There were no Brahmä and no Çiva as assistants. The whole cosmic manifestation is manipulated by the three modes of material nature. Brahmä is the incarnation of the quality of passion. It is said that Brahmä created this universe, but Brahmä is the secondary creator; the original creator is Näräyaëa. This is also confirmed by Çaìkaräcärya: näräyaëaù paro ’vyaktät. "Näräyaëa is transcendental, beyond this cosmic creation."
Kåñëa creates, maintains, and annihilates the whole cosmic manifestation by expanding Himself in different incarnations. Everything is Kåñëa, and everything is depending on Kåñëa, but He is not perceived in the material energy. Material energy is called mäyä, or illusion. In the spiritual energy, however, Kåñëa is perceived at every step, in all circumstances. This perfectional stage of understanding is present in the gopés. As Kåñëa is always aloof from the cosmic manifestation, although it is completely dependent on Him, so a living entity is also completely aloof from his material conditional life. The material body has developed on the basis of spiritual existence. In the Bhagavad-gétä the whole cosmic manifestation is accepted as the mother of the living entities, and Kåñëa is the father. As the father impregnates the mother by injecting the living entity within the womb, so all the living entities are injected by Kåñëa in the womb of the material nature. They come out in different bodies according to their different fruitive activities. In all circumstances, the living entity is aloof from this material conditioned life.
If we simply study our own bodies, we can understand how a living entity is always aloof from this bodily encagement. Every action of the body is taking place by the interaction of the three modes of material nature. We can see at every moment many changes taking place in bodies, but the spirit soul is aloof from all changes. One can neither create nor annihilate nor interfere with the actions of material nature. The living entity is therefore entrapped by the material body and is conditioned in three stages, namely while awake, asleep and unconscious. The mind is acting through all the three conditions of life; the living entity in his sleeping or dreaming condition sees something as real, and in his awake condition he sees the same thing as unreal. It is concluded, therefore, that under certain circumstances he accepts something as real, and under other circumstances he accepts the very same thing as unreal. These matters are the subject matter of study for the empiric philosopher or the säìkhya-yogi. In order to come to the right conclusion, säìkhya-yogés undergo severe austerities and penances. They practice control of the senses and renunciation.
All these different ways of determining the ultimate goal of life are compared to rivers. Kåñëa is the ocean. As the rivers flow down toward the ocean, all attempts for knowledge flow toward Kåñëa. After many, many births of endeavor, when one actually comes to Kåñëa, he attains the perfectional stage. Kåñëa says in the Bhagavad-gétä: "All are pursuing the path of realizing Me, but those who have adopted courses without any bhakti find their endeavor very troublesome." Kleço ’dhikataras teñäm: Kåñëa cannot be understood unless one comes to the point of bhakti.
Three paths are enunciated in the Gétä: karma-yoga, jïäna-yoga and bhakti-yoga. Those who are too addicted to fruitive activities are advised to perform actions which will bring them to bhakti. Those who are addicted to the frustration of empiric philosophy are also advised to realize bhakti. Karma-yoga is different from ordinary karma, and jïäna-yoga is different from jïäna. Ultimately, as stated by the Lord in the Bhagavad-gétä, bhaktya mäà abhijänäti: only through execution of devotional service can one understand Kåñëa. The perfectional stage of devotional service was achieved by the gopés because they did not care to know anything but Kåñëa. It is confirmed in the Vedas, yasmin eva vijïäte sarvam eva vijïätam bhavanti. This means that simply by knowing Kåñëa all other knowledge is automatically acquired.
Kåñëa continued: "Transcendental knowledge of the Absolute is no longer necessary for you. You were accustomed to love Me from the very beginning of your lives." Knowledge of the Absolute Truth is specifically required for persons who want liberation from material existence. But one who has attained love for Kåñëa is already on the platform of liberation. As stated in the Bhagavad-gétä, anyone engaged in unalloyed devotional service is to be considered situated on the transcendental platform of liberation. The gopés were not actually feeling any pangs of material existence, but they were feeling the separation of Kåñëa. Kåñëa therefore said, "My dear gopés, in order to increase your superexcellent love for Me, I have purposely separated Myself from you. I have done this so that you may be in constant meditation on Me."
The gopés are in the perfectional stage of meditation. The yogés are generally more fond of meditation than the execution of devotional service to the Lord, but they do not know that the perfectional stage of devotion is the attainment of the perfection of the yoga system. This constant meditation on Kåñëa by the gopés is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gétä to be the topmost yoga. Kåñëa knew very well the psychology of women. When a woman's beloved is away, she thinks of him meditatively, and He is present before her. Kåñëa wanted to teach through the behavior of the gopés. One who is constantly in trance like the gopés surely attains the lotus feet of Kåñëa.
Lord Caitanya taught people in general the method of vipralambha, which is the method of rendering service unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the feeling of separation. The six Gosvämés also taught worship of Kåñëa in the feeling of the gopés in separation. The prayers of Çréniväsa Äcärya about the Gosvämés explain these matters very clearly. Çréniväsa Äcärya said that the Gosvämés were always absorbed in the ocean of transcendental feelings in the mood of the gopés. When they lived in Våndävana they were searching for Kåñëa, crying, "Where is Kåñëa? Where are the gopés? Where are You, Çrématé Rädhäräëé?" They never said, "We have now seen Rädhä and Kåñëa, and therefore our mission is fulfilled." Their mission remained always unfulfilled; they never met Rädhä and Kåñëa. At the time of the räsa dance, those gopés who could not join the räsa-lélä with Kåñëa gave up their bodies simply by thinking of Him. Absorption in Kåñëa consciousness by feeling separation is thus the quickest method for attainment of the lotus feet of Kåñëa. By the personal statement of Kåñëa, the gopés were convinced about the strength of feelings of separation. They were actually experiencing the supernatural method of Kåñëa worship and were much relieved and happy to understand it.
They began to speak as follows: "We have heard that King Kaàsa, who was always a source of trouble for the Yadu dynasty, has now been killed. This is good news for us. We hope, therefore, that the members of the Yadu dynasty are very happy in the association of Kåñëa, who can fulfill all the desires of His devotees. My dear Uddhava, kindly let us know whether Kåñëa sometimes thinks of us while in the midst of highly enlightened society girls in Mathurä. We know that the women and girls in Mathurä are not village women. They are enlightened and beautiful. Their bashful smiling glances and other feminine features must be very pleasing to Kåñëa. We know very well that Kåñëa is always fond of the behavior of beautiful women. It seems, therefore, that He has been entrapped by the women of Mathurä. My dear Uddhava, will you kindly let us know if Kåñëa sometimes remembers us while He is in the midst of other women?"
Another gopé inquired: "Does He remember that night in the midst of kumadini flowers and moonlight, when Våndävana became exceedingly beautiful? Kåñëa was dancing with us, and the atmosphere was surcharged with the sound of foot bells. We exchanged pleasing conversation then. Does He remember that particular night? We remember that night, and we feel separation. Separation from Kåñëa makes us agitated, as if there were fire in our bodies. He proposed to come back to Våndävana to extinguish the fire, just as a cloud appears in the sky to extinguish the forest fire by its downpour."
Another gopé said, "Kåñëa has killed His enemy, and He has victoriously achieved the kingdom of Kaàsa. Maybe He is married with a king's daughter by this time and living very happily among His kinsmen and friends. Therefore, why should He come to this village of Våndävana?"
Another gopé said, "Kåñëa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the husband of the goddess of fortune, and He is self-sufficient. He has no business either with us, the girls in the Våndävana forest, or with the city girls in Mathurä. He is the great Supersoul; He has nothing to do with any of us, either here or there."
Another gopé said, "It is an unreasonable hope for us to expect Kåñëa to come back to Våndävana. We should try instead to be happy in disappointment. Even Piìgalä, the great prostitute, said that disappointment is the greatest pleasure. We all know these things, but it is very difficult for us to give up the expectation of Kåñëa's coming back again. Who can forget a solitary conversation with Kåñëa, on whose breast the goddess of fortune always remains, in spite of Kåñëa's not desiring her? My dear Uddhava, Våndävana is the land of rivers, forests and cows. Here the vibration of the flute is heard, and Kåñëa, along with His elder brother, Çré Balaräma, enjoyed the atmosphere in our company. Thus the environment of Våndävana is constantly reminding us of Kåñëa and Balaräma. The impression of His footprints is on the land of Våndävana, which is the residential place of the goddess of fortune, but such signs cannot help us to get Kåñëa."
The gopés further expressed that Våndävana was still full of all opulence and good fortune; there was no scarcity or want in Våndävana as far as material necessities were concerned, but in spite of such opulence they could not forget Kåñëa and Balaräma.
"We are constantly remembering various attractive features of beautiful Kåñëa, His walking, His smiling and His joking words. We have all become lost by the dealings of Kåñëa, and it is impossible for us to forget Him. We are always praying for Him, exclaiming, 'Dear Lord, dear husband of the goddess of fortune, dear Lord of Våndävana and deliverer of the distressed devotees! We are now fallen and merged into an ocean of distress. Please, therefore, come back again to Våndävana and deliver us from this pitiable condition.'"
Uddhava minutely studied the transcendental abnormal condition of the gopés in their separation from Kåñëa, and he thought it wise to repeat all the pastimes of Çré Kåñëa over and over again. Materialistic persons are always in a burning condition on account of the blazing fire of material miseries. The gopés also were burning in a transcendental blazing fire due to separation from Kåñëa. The blazing fire which was exasperating the gopés, however, is different from the fire of the material world. The gopés constantly want the association of Kåñëa, whereas the materialistic person wants the advantage of material comforts.
It is stated by Viçvanätha Cakravarté –häkur that Kåñëa saved the cowherd boys from the blazing forest fire within a second, while their eyes were closed. Similarly, Uddhava advised the gopés that they could be saved from the fire of separation by closing their eyes and meditating on the activities of Kåñëa from the very beginning of their association with Him. From the outside, the gopés could visualize all the pastimes of Kåñëa by hearing the descriptions of Uddhava, and from inside they could remember those pastimes. From the instruction of Uddhava, the gopés could understand that Kåñëa was not separate from them. As they were constantly thinking of Kåñëa, Kåñëa was also thinking of them constantly while at Mathurä.
Uddhava's messages and instructions saved the gopés from immediate death, and the gopés acknowledged the benediction from Uddhava. Uddhava practically acted as the preceptor spiritual master of the gopés, and they in return they worshiped him as they would worship Kåñëa. It is recommended in authoritative scriptures that the spiritual master should be worshiped on the level of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, because of his being His very confidential servitor, and it is accepted by great authorities that the spiritual master is the external manifestation of Kåñëa. The gopés were relieved from their transcendental burning condition by realizing that Kåñëa was with them. Internally, they remembered His association within their hearts, and externally Uddhava helped them to appreciate Kåñëa by conclusive instructions.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is described in the scriptures as adhokñaja, which indicates that He is beyond the perception of all material senses. Although He is beyond the perception of material senses, He is present in everyone's heart. At the same time, He is present everywhere by His all-pervasive feature of Brahman. All three transcendental features of the Absolute Truth (Bhagavän the Personality of Godhead, Paramätmä the localized Supersoul, and the all-pervasive Brahman) can be realized simply by studying the condition of the gopés in their meeting with Uddhava, as described by the Çrémad-Bhägavatam.
It is said by Çréniväsa Äcärya that the six Gosvämés were always merged in thoughts of the activities of the gopés. Caitanya Mahäprabhu has also recommended the gopés' method of worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead as superexcellent. Çréla Çukadeva Gosvämé has also recommended that anyone who hears from the right source about the dealings of the gopés with Kåñëa and who follows the instructions will be elevated to the topmost position of devotional service and will be able to give up the lust of material enjoyment.
All the gopés were solaced by the instruction of Uddhava, and they requested him to stay in Våndävana for a few days more. Uddhava agreed to their proposal and stayed with them not only for a few days, but for a few months. He always kept them engaged in thinking of the transcendental message of Kåñëa and His pastimes, and the gopés were feeling as if they were experiencing direct association with Kåñëa. While Uddhava remained in Våndävana, the inhabitants enjoyed his association. As they discussed the activities of Kåñëa, the days passed just like moments. Våndävana's natural atmosphere, with the presence of the River Yamunä, its nice orchards of trees decorated with various fruits, Govardhana Hill, caves, blooming flowers--all combined to inspire Uddhava to narrate Kåñëa's pastimes. The inhabitants enjoyed Uddhava's association in the same way as they enjoyed the association of Kåñëa.
Uddhava was attracted by the attitude of the gopés because they were completely attached to Kåñëa, and Uddhava was inspired by the gopés' anxiety for Kåñëa. He began to offer them his respectful obeisances and composed songs in praise of their transcendental qualities as follows: "Among all the living entities who have accepted the human form of life, the gopés are superexcellently successful in their mission. Their thought is thoroughly absorbed in the lotus feet of Kåñëa. Great sages and saintly persons are also trying to be absorbed in meditation upon the lotus feet of Kåñëa, who is Mukunda Himself, the giver of liberation, but the gopés, having lovingly accepted the Lord, are automatically accustomed to this habit. They do not depend on any yogic practice. The conclusion is that one who has attained the gopés' condition of life does not have to take birth as Lord Brahmä or be born in a brähmaëa family or be initiated as a brähmaëa."
Çré Uddhava confirmed the statement of Bhagavad-gétä spoken by Lord Kåñëa; one who takes shelter of Him for the right purpose, be he a çüdra or lower, will attain the highest goal of life. The gopés have set the standard of devotion for the whole world. By following in the footsteps of the gopés by constantly thinking of Kåñëa, one can attain the highest perfectional stage of spiritual life. The gopés were not born of any highly cultured family; they were born of cowherd men, and yet they developed the highest love of Kåñëa. For self-realization or God realization there is no need to take birth in a high family. The only thing needed is ecstatic development of love of God. In achieving perfection in Kåñëa consciousness, no other qualification is required than to be constantly engaged in the loving service of Kåñëa. Kåñëa is the supreme nectar, the reservoir of all pleasure. The effect of taking up Kåñëa consciousness is just like that of drinking nectar; with or without one's knowledge, it will act. The active principle of Kåñëa consciousness will manifest itself everywhere; it does not matter how and where one has taken his birth. Kåñëa will bestow His benediction upon anyone who takes to Kåñëa consciousness, without any doubt. The supreme benediction attained by the gopés in spite of their being born in the family of cowherd men was never attained even by the goddess of fortune herself, and certainly not by the denizens of heaven, though their bodily forms are like lotuses. The gopés are so fortunate that during räsa-lélä Kåñëa personally embraced them with His arms. Kåñëa kissed them face to face. Certainly it is not possible for any women in the three worlds to achieve this except the gopés.
Uddhava appreciated the exalted position of the gopés and wished to fall down and take the dust of their feet on his head. Yet he did not dare to ask the gopés to offer the dust from their feet; perhaps they would not be agreeable. He therefore desired to have his head smeared with the dust of the gopés' feet without their knowledge. He desired to become only an insignificant clump of grass or herbs in the land of Våndävana.
The gopés were so much attracted to Kåñëa that when they heard the vibration of His flute, they instantly left their families, children, honor and feminine bashfulness and ran towards the place where Kåñëa was standing. They did not consider whether they were passing over the road or through the jungles. Imperceptibly, the dust of their feet was bestowed on small grasses and herbs of Våndävana. Not daring to place the dust of the gopés' feet on his own head, Uddhava aspired to have a future birth in the position of a clump of grass and herbs. He would then be able to have the dust of the gopés' feet.
Uddhava appreciated the extraordinary fortune of the gopés, who relieved themselves of all kinds of material contamination by placing on their high, beautiful breasts the lotus feet of Kåñëa, which are not only worshiped by the goddess of fortune, but by such exalted demigods as Brahmä and Lord Çiva, and which are meditated on by great yogés within their hearts. Thus Uddhava desired to be able to constantly pray to be honored by the dust of the gopés' lotus feet. The gopés' chanting of the transcendental pastimes of Lord Kåñëa has become celebrated all over the three worlds.
After living in Våndävana for some days, Uddhava desired to go back to Kåñëa, and he begged permission to leave from Nanda Mahäräja and Yaçodä. He had a farewell meeting with the gopés, and taking permission of them also, he mounted his chariot to start for Mathurä.
When Uddhava was about to leave, all the inhabitants of Våndävana, headed by Mahäräja Nanda and Yaçodä, came to bid him good-bye and presented him with various kinds of valuable goods secured in Våndävana. They expressed their feelings with tears in their eyes due to intense attachment for Kåñëa. All of them desired benediction from Uddhava. They desired always to remember the glorious activities of Kåñëa and wanted their minds to be always fixed upon His lotus feet, their words always engaged in glorifying Kåñëa, and their bodies always engaged in bowing down and constantly remembering Him. This prayer of the inhabitants of Våndävana is the superexcellent type of self-realization. The method is very simple: to fix the mind always on the lotus feet of Kåñëa, to talk always of Kåñëa without passing on to any other subject matter, and to engage the body in Kåñëa's service constantly. Specifically in this human form of life, one should engage his life, his resources, words and intelligence for the service of the Lord. Such kinds of activities only can elevate a human being to the highest level of perfection. This is the verdict of all authorities.
The inhabitants of Våndävana said: "By the will of the supreme authority and according to the results of our own work, we may take our birth anywhere. It doesn't matter where we are born, but our only prayer is that we may simply be engaged in Kåñëa consciousness." A pure devotee of Lord Kåñëa never desires to be promoted to the heavenly planets, or even to Vaikuëöha or Goloka Våndävana, because he has no desire for his own personal satisfaction. A pure devotee regards both heaven and hell to be on an equal level. Without Kåñëa, heaven is hell; and with Kåñëa, hell is heaven. When Uddhava had sufficiently honored the worship of the pure devotees of Våndävana, he returned to Mathurä and to his master, Kåñëa. After offering respects by bowing down before Lord Kåñëa and Balaräma, he began to describe the wonderful devotional life of the inhabitants of Våndävana. He presented all of the gifts given by the inhabitants of Våndävana to Vasudeva, the father of Kåñëa, and Ugrasena, the grandfather of Kåñëa.
Thus ends the Bhaktivedanta purport of the Forty-sixth Chapter of Kåñëa, "Delivery of the Message of Kåñëa to the Gopés."

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