45 / Uddhava Visits Vrndavana
Nanda Maharaja returned to Vrndavana without Krsna and Balarama. He was accompanied only by the cowherd boys and men. It was certainly a very pathetic scene for the gopis, mother Yasoda, Srimati Radharani and all the inhabitants and residents of Vrndavana. Many devotees have tried to make adjustments to Krsna's being away from Vrndavana because according to expert opinion, Krsna, the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, never goes even a step out of Vrndavana. He always remains there. The explanation of expert devotees is that Krsna was actually not absent from Vrndavana; He came back with Nanda Maharaja as promised.
When He was going to Mathura on the chariot driven by Akrura and the gopis were practically blocking the way, Krsna assured them that He was coming back just after finishing His business in Mathura. He told them not to be overwhelmed, and in this way He pacified them. But when He did not come back with Nanda Maharaja, it appeared that He either cheated them or could not keep His promise. Expert devotees, however, have decided that Krsna was neither a cheater nor a breaker of promises. Krsna, in His original identity, returned with Nanda Maharaja and stayed with the gopis and mother Yasoda in His bhava expansion. Krsna and Balarama remained in Mathura, not in Their original forms, but in Their expansions as Vasudeva and Sankarsana. The real Krsna and Balarama were in Vrndavana in Their bhava manifestation, whereas in Mathura They appeared in the prabhava and vaibhava expansions. This is the expert opinion of advanced devotees of Krsna. But when Nanda Maharaja was preparing to return to Vrndavana, there was discussion among him, Krsna and Balarama as to how the boys could live in separation from Nanda. The conclusion to separate was reached by mutual agreement.
Vasudeva and Devaki happened to be Krsna and Balarama's real parents. They wanted to keep Them now because of the death of Kamsa. While Kamsa was alive, They were kept under the protection of Nanda Maharaja in Vrndavana. Now, naturally, the father and mother of Krsna and Balarama wanted Them to remain with them, specifically for the reformatory function of purification, the sacred thread ceremony. They also wanted to give Them a proper education, for this is the duty of the father. Another consideration was that all the friends of Kamsa outside Mathura were planning to attack Mathura. For that reason also Krsna's presence was required. Krsna did not want Vrndavana to be disturbed by enemies like Dantavakra and Jarasandha. If Krsna were to go to Vrndavana, these enemies would not only attack Mathura, but would go on to Vrndavana, and the peaceful inhabitants of Vrndavana would be disturbed. Krsna therefore decided to remain in Mathura, and Nanda Maharaja went back to Vrndavana. Although the inhabitants of Vrndavana were feeling separation from Krsna, Krsna was always present with them by His lila, or pastimes, and this made them ecstatic.
Since Krsna had departed from Vrndavana to Mathura, the inhabitants of Vrndavana, especially mother Yasoda, Nanda Maharaja, Srimati Radharani, the gopis and the cowherd boys, were simply thinking of Krsna at every step. They were thinking, "Krsna was playing in this way. Krsna was blowing His flute. Krsna was joking with us, and Krsna was embracing us." This is called lila-smarana, and it is the process of association with Krsna most recommended by great devotees; even Lord Caitanya enjoyed lila-smarana association with Krsna when He was at Puri. Those who are in the most exalted position of devotional service and ecstasy can live with Krsna always by remembering His pastimes. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur has given us a transcendental literature entitled Krsna-bhavanamrta, which is full with Krsna's pastimes. Devotees can remain absorbed in Krsna-thought by reading such books. Any book of Krsna-lila, even this book, Krsna, and our Teachings of Lord Caitanya, is actually solace for devotees who are feeling the separation of Krsna.
That Krsna and Balarama did not come to Vrndavana can be adjusted as follows: They did not break Their promise to return to Vrndavana, nor were They absent, but Their presence was necessary in Mathura.
In the meantime, Uddhava, a cousin-brother of Krsna, came to see Krsna from Dvaraka. He was the son of Vasudeva's brother and was almost the same age as Krsna. His bodily features resembled Krsna's almost exactly. After returning from His teacher's home, Krsna was pleased to see Uddhava, who happened to be His dearmost friend. He wanted to send him to Vrndavana with a message to the residents to pacify their deep feeling of separation.
As stated in the Bhagavad-gita, ye yatha mam prapadyante: Krsna is very responsive. He responds in proportion to the devotee's advancement in devotional service. The gopis were thinking of Krsna in separation twenty-four hours a day. Krsna was also always thinking of the gopis, mother Yasoda, Nanda Maharaja and the residents of Vrndavana, although He appeared to be away from them. He could understand how they were transcendentally aggrieved, and so He immediately wanted to send Uddhava to give them a message of solace.
Uddhava is described as the most exalted personality in the Vrsni dynasty, almost equal to Krsna. He was a great friend, and on account of being the direct student of Brhaspati, the teacher and priest of the heavenly planets, he was very intelligent and sharp in decision. From the intellectual standpoint, he was highly qualified. Krsna, being a very loving friend of Uddhava, wanted to send him to Vrndavana just to study the highly elevated ecstatic devotional service practiced there. Even if one is highly elevated in material education and is even the disciple of Brhaspati, he still has to learn from the gopis and the residents of Vrndavana how to love Krsna to the highest degree. Sending Uddhava to Vrndavana with a message to the residents of Vrndavana to pacify them was Krsna's special favor to Uddhava.
Lord Krsna's name is Hari, which means one who takes away all the distress from the surrendered souls. Lord Caitanya states that there cannot be, at any time, a worship as exalted as that realized by the gopis. Being very anxious about the gopis' grief, Krsna talked with Uddhava and politely requested him to go to Vrndavana. Shaking Uddhava's hand with His own hands, He said, "My dear gentle friend Uddhava, please go immediately to Vrndavana and try to pacify My father and mother, Nanda Maharaja and Yasodadevi, and the gopis. They are very much griefstricken, as if suffering from great ailments. Go and give them a message. I hope their ailments will be partially relieved. The gopis are always absorbed in thoughts of Me. They have dedicated body, desire, life and soul to Me. I am anxious not only for the gopis, but for anyone who sacrifices society, friendship, love and personal comforts for Me. It is My duty to protect such exalted devotees. The gopis are the most dear. They are always thinking of Me in such a way that they remain overwhelmed and almost dead in anxiety due to separation from Me. They are keeping alive simply by thinking that I am returning to them very soon."
Requested by Lord Krsna, Uddhava immediately left on his chariot and carried the message to Gokula. He approached Vrndavana at sunset, when the cows were returning home from the pasturing ground. Uddhava and his chariot were covered by the dust raised by the hooves of the cows. He saw bulls running after cows for mating; other cows, with overladened milk bags, were running after the calves to fill them with milk. Uddhava saw that the entire land of Vrndavana was filled with white cows and their calves. Cows were running here and there all over Gokula, and he could hear the sound of milking. Every residential house in Vrndavana was decorated for the worship of the sun-god and the fire-god and for the reception of guests, cows, brahmanas and demigods. Every home was illuminated with light and incense arranged for sanctification. All over Vrndavana there were nice flower garlands, flying birds and the humming sound of the bees. The lakes were filled with lotus flowers and with ducks and swans.
Uddhava entered the house of Nanda Maharaja and was received as a representative of Vasudeva. Nanda Maharaja offered him a place and sat down with him to ask about messages from Krsna, Balarama and other family members in Mathura. He could understand that Uddhava was a very confidential friend of Krsna and therefore must have come with good messages. "My dear Uddhava, how is my friend Vasudeva enjoying life? He is now released from the prison of Kamsa, and he is now with his friends and his children, Krsna and Balarama. So he must be very happy. Tell me about him and his welfare. We are also very happy that Kamsa, the most sinful demon, is now killed. He was always envious of the family of the Yadus, his friends and relatives. Now because of his sinful activities, he is dead and gone, along with all his brothers.
"Please let us now know whether Krsna is remembering His father and mother and His friends and companions in Vrndavana. Does He like to remember His cows, His gopis, His Govardhana Hill, His pasturing ground in Vrndavana? Or has He forgotten all these now? Is there any possibility of His coming back to His friends and relatives so that we can again see His beautiful face with its raised nose and lotus-like eyes? We remember how He saved us from the forest fire, how He saved us from the great snake Kaliya in the Yamuna, how He saved us from so many other demons, and we simply think how much we are obliged to Him for giving us protection in so many dangerous situations. My dear Uddhava, when we think of Krsna's beautiful face and eyes and His different activities here in Vrndavana, we become so overwhelmed that all our activities cease. We simply think of Krsna, how He used to smile and how He looked upon us. When we go to the banks of the Yamuna and other lakes of Vrndavana or near Govardhana Hill or the pasturing field, we see that the impressions of Krsna's footprints are still on the surface of the earth. We remember Him playing in those places, because He was constantly visiting them. When His appearance within our minds becomes manifest, we immediately become absorbed in thought of Him.
"We think, therefore, that Krsna and Balarama may be chief demigods in heaven who have appeared before us like ordinary boys in order to execute particular duties on earth. This was also foretold by Gargamuni when making Krsna's horoscope. If Krsna were not a great personality how could He have killed Kamsa, who possessed the strength of 10,000 elephants? Besides Kamsa, there were very strong wrestlers, as well as the giant elephant, Kuvalayapida. All these animals and demons were killed by Him just as a lion kills an ordinary animal. How wonderful it is that Krsna took in one hand the big, heavy bow made of three joined palm trees and broke it very quickly. How wonderful it is that continually for seven days He held up Govardhana Hill in one hand. How wonderful it is that He has killed all the demons, like Pralambasura, Dhenukasura, Aristasura, Trnavarta and Bakasura. They were so strong that even the demigods in the heavenly planets were afraid of them, but Krsna killed them as easily as anything."
While describing the uncommon activities of Krsna before Uddhava, Nanda Maharaja gradually became overwhelmed and could not speak any more. As for mother Yasoda, she sat by the side of her husband and heard the pastimes of Krsna without speaking. She was simply crying incessantly, and milk was pouring from her breasts. When Uddhava saw Maharaja Nanda and Yasoda so extraordinarily overwhelmed with thoughts of Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and when he experienced their extraordinary affection for Him, he also became overwhelmed and began to speak as follows. "My dear mother Yasoda and Nanda Maharaja, you are most respectable among human beings because no one but you can meditate in such transcendental ecstasy."
Both Balarama and Krsna are the original Personalities of Godhead from whom the cosmic manifestation is emanating. They are chief among all personalities. Both of Them are the effective cause of this material creation. Material nature is conducted by the purusa incarnations, who are all acting under Krsna and Balarama. By Their partial representation They enter in the hearts of all living entities. They are the source of all knowledge and all forgetfulness also. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita, Fifteenth Chapter: "I am present in everyone's heart, and I cause one to remember and to forget. I am the original compiler of the Vedanta, and I am the actual knower of the Vedas." If, at the time of death, a person can fix his pure mind upon Krsna even for a moment, he becomes eligible to give up this material body and appear in his original spiritual body, just as the sun rises with all illumination. Passing from his life in this way, he immediately enters into the spiritual kingdom, Vaikuntha. This is the result of Krsna conscious practice.
If we practice Krsna consciousness in this present body while we are in a healthy condition and in good mind, simply by chanting the holy maha-mantra, Hare Krsna, we will have every possibility of fixing our mind upon Krsna at the time of death. If that is done, then our life becomes successful without any doubt. Similarly, if we keep our mind always absorbed in fruitive activities for material enjoyment, then naturally at the time of death we shall think of such activities and again be forced to enter into a material, conditioned body to suffer the threefold miseries of material existence. Therefore, to remain always absorbed in Krsna consciousness was the standard of the inhabitants of Vrndavana, as exhibited by Maharaja Nanda, Yasoda and the gopis. If we can simply follow their footsteps, even to a minute proportion, our lives will surely become successful, and we will enter into the spiritual kingdom, Vaikuntha.
"My dear mother Yasoda and Nanda Maharaja," Uddhava continued, "you have thus fixed your minds wholly and solely upon that Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana, in His transcendental form, the cause of impersonal Brahman. The Brahman effulgence is only the bodily ray of Narayana, and because you are always absorbed in ecstatic thought of Krsna and Balarama, what activity remains to be performed by you? I have brought a message from Krsna to the effect that He will soon come back to Vrndavana and satisfy you both by His personal presence. Krsna promised that He would come back to Vrndavana after finishing His business in Mathura. This promise He will surely fulfill. I therefore request you both, who are the best among all fortunates, to be not aggrieved on account of Krsna's absence.
"You are already perceiving His presence twenty-four hours a day, and yet He will come and see you very soon. Actually He is present everywhere and in everyone's heart, just as fire is present in wood. Since Krsna is the Supersoul, no one is His enemy, no one is His friend, no one is equal to Him, and no one is lower or higher than Him. Actually He has no father, mother, brother or relative, nor does He require society, friendship and love. He does not have a material body; He never appears or takes birth as an ordinary human being. He does not appear in higher or lower species of life like ordinary living entities, who are forced to take birth on account of their previous activities. He appears by His internal potency just to give protection to His devotee. He is never influenced by the modes of material nature, but when He appears within this material world, it seems that He acts like an ordinary living entity under the spell of the modes of material nature. In fact, He is the overseer of this material creation and is not affected by the material modes of nature. He creates, maintains and dissolves the whole cosmic manifestation. We wrongly think of Krsna and Balarama as ordinary human beings. We are like dizzy men who see the whole world wheeling aroung them. The Personality of Godhead is no one's son; He is actually everyone's father, mother and supreme controller. There is no doubt of this. Whatever is being experienced, whatever is already in existence, whatever is not in existence, whatever will be in existence in the future, whatever is the smallest and whatever is the biggest have no separate existence outside the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Everything is resting in Him, but He is out of touch with everything manifested."
Nanda and Uddhava thus passed the whole night in discussing Krsna. In the morning, the gopis prepared for morning aratrika by lighting their lamps and sprinkling butter mixed with yogurt. After finishing their mangala-aratrika, they engaged themselves in churning butter from yogurt. While the gopis were thus engaged, the lamps reflected on their ornaments became still more illuminated. The churning rod, their arms, their earrings, their bangles, their breasts--everything moved, and the kunkuma powder gave their faces a saffron luster comparable to the rising sun. While churning, they also sang the glories of Krsna. The two sound vibrations mixed together, ascended to the sky and sanctified the whole atmosphere. After sunrise the gopis came as usual to offer their respects to Nanda Maharaja and Yasoda, but when they saw the golden chariot of Uddhava at the door, they began to inquire among themselves. What was that chariot, and to whom did it belong? Some of them inquired whether Akrura, who had taken away Krsna, had again returned. They were not very pleased with Akrura because, being engaged in the service of Kamsa, he took Krsna away to the city of Mathura. All the gopis conjectured that Akrura might have come again to fulfill another cruel plan. But they thought, "We are now dead bodies without our supreme master, Krsna. What further act can he perpetrate on these dead bodies?" While they were talking in this way, Uddhava finished his morning ablutions, prayers and chanting and came before them.
Thus ends the Bhaktivedanta purport of the Forty-fifth Chapter of Krsna, "Uddhava Visits Vrndavana."

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