1. Sri Badarayani said: Having worshiped Lord Janardana and fasted on the Ekadasi day, Nanda Maharaja entered the water of the Kalindi on the Dvadasi to take his bath.
2. Because Nanda Maharaja entered the water in the dark of night, disregarding that the time was inauspicious, a demoniac servant of Varuna seized him and brought him to his master.
3. O King, not seeing Nanda Maharaja, the cowherd men loudly cried out, ”O Krsna! O Rama!” Lord Krsna heard their cries and understood that His father had been captured by Varuna. Therefore the almighty Lord, who makes His devotees fearless, went to the court of Varunadeva.
4. Seeing that the Lord, Hrsikesa, had arrived, the demigod Varuna worshiped Him with elaborate offerings. Varuna was in a state of great jubilation upon seeing the Lord, and he spoke as follows.
5. Sri Varuna said: Now my body has fulfilled its function. Indeed, now the goal of my life is achieved, O Lord. Those who accept Your lotus feet, O Personality of Godhead, can transcend the path of material existence.
6. My obeisances unto You, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Soul, within whom there is no trace of the illusory energy, which orchestrates the creation of this world.
7. Your father, who is sitting here, was brought to me by a foolish, ignorant servant of mine who did not understand his proper duty. Therefore, please forgive us.
8. O Krsna, O seer of everything, please give Your mercy even to me. O Govinda, You are most affectionate to Your father. Please take him home.
9. Sukadeva Gosvami said: Thus satisfied by Lord Varuna, Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord of lords, took His father and returned home, where their relatives were overjoyed to see them.
10. Nanda Maharaja had been astonished to see for the first time the great opulence of Varuna, the ruler of the ocean planet, and also to see how Varuna and his servants had offered such humble respect to Krsna. Nanda described all this to his fellow cowherd men.
11. [Hearing about Krsna’s pastimes with Varuna,] the cowherd men considered that Krsna must be the Supreme Lord, and their minds, O King, were filled with eagerness. They thought, “Will the Supreme Lord bestow upon us His transcendental abode?”
12. Because He sees everything, Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, automatically understood what the cowherd men were conjecturing. Wanting to show His compassion to them by fulfilling their desires, the Lord thought as follows.
13. [Lord Krsna thought:] Certainly people in this world are wandering among higher and lower destinations, which they achieve through activities performed according to their desires and without full knowledge. Thus people do not know their real destination.
14. Thus deeply considering the situation, the all-merciful Supreme Personality of Godhead Hari revealed to the cowherd men His abode, which is beyond material darkness.
15. Lord Krsna revealed the indestructible spiritual effulgence, which is unlimited, conscious and eternal. Sages see that spiritual existence in trance, when their consciousness is free of the modes of material nature.
16. The cowherd men were brought by Lord Krsna to the Brahma-hrada, made to submerge in the water, and then lifted up. From the same vantage point that Akrura saw the spiritual world, the cowherd men saw the planet of the Absolute Truth.
17. Nanda Maharaja and the other cowherd men felt the greatest happiness when they saw that transcendental abode. They were especially amazed to see Krsna Himself there, surrounded by the personified Vedas, who were offering Him prayers.
Chapter Twenty-Nine Krsna and the Gopis Meet for the Rasa Dance
1. Sri Badarayani said: Sri Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, full in all opulences, yet upon seeing those autumn nights scented with blossoming jasmine flowers, He turned His mind toward loving affairs. To fulfill His purposes He employed His internal potency.
2. The moon then rose, anointing the face of the western horizon with the reddish hue of his comforting rays, and thus dispelling the pain of all who watched him rise. The moon was like a beloved husband who returns after a long absence and adorns the face of his beloved wife with red kunkuma.
3. Lord Krsna saw the unbroken disk of the full moon glowing with the red effulgence of newly applied vermilion, as if it were the face of the goddess of fortune. He also saw the kumuda lotuses opening in response to the moon’s presence and the forest gently illumined by its rays. Thus the Lord began to play sweetly on His flute, attracting the minds of the beautiful-eyed gopis.
4. When the young women of Vrndavana heard Krsna’s flute song, which arouses romantic feelings, their minds were captivated by the Lord. They went to where their lover waited, each unknown to the others, moving so quickly that their earrings swung back and forth.
5. Some of the gopis were milking cows when they heard Krsna’s flute. They stopped milking and went off to meet Him. Some left milk curdling on the stove, and others left cakes burning in the oven.
6-7. Some of them were getting dressed, feeding milk to their infants or rendering personal service to their husbands, but they all gave up these duties and went to meet Krsna. Other gopis were taking their evening meals, washing themselves, putting on cosmetics or applying kajjala to their eyes. But all the gopis stopped these activities at once and, though their clothes and ornaments were in complete disarray, rushed off to Krsna.
8. Their husbands, fathers, brothers and other relatives tried to stop them, but Krsna had already stolen their hearts. Enchanted by the sound of His flute, they refused to turn back.
9. Some of the gopis, however, could not manage to get out of their houses, and instead they remained home with eyes closed, meditating upon Him in pure love.
10-11. For those gopis who could not go to see Krsna, intolerable separation from their beloved caused an intense agony that burned away all impious karma. By meditating upon Him they realized His embrace, and the ecstasy they then felt exhausted their material piety. Although Lord Krsna is the Supreme Soul, these girls simply thought of Him as their male lover and associated with Him in that intimate mood. Thus their karmic bondage was nullified and they abandoned their gross material bodies.
12. Sri Pariksit Maharaja said: O sage, the gopis knew Krsna only as their lover, not as the Supreme Absolute Truth. So how could these girls, their minds caught up in the waves of the modes of nature, free themselves from material attachment?
13. Sukadeva Gosvami said: This point was explained to you previously. Since even Sisupala, who hated Krsna, achieved perfection, then what to speak of the Lord’s dear devotees.
14. O King, the Supreme Lord is inexhaustible and immeasurable, and He is untouched by the material modes because He is their controller. His personal appearance in this world is meant for bestowing the highest benefit on humanity.
15. Persons who constantly direct their lust, anger, fear, protective affection, feeling of impersonal oneness or friendship toward Lord Hari are sure to become absorbed in thought of Him.
16. You should not be so astonished by Krsna, the unborn master of all masters of mystic power, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. After all, it is the Lord who liberates this world.
17. Seeing that the girls of Vraja had arrived, Lord Krsna, the best of speakers, greeted them with charming words that bewildered their minds.
18. Lord Krsna said: O most fortunate ladies, welcome. What may I do to please you? Is everything well in Vraja? Please tell Me the reason for your coming here.
19. This night is quite frightening, and frightening creatures are lurking about. Return to Vraja, slender-waisted girls. This is not a proper place for women.
20. Not finding you at home, your mothers, fathers, sons, brothers and husbands are certainly searching for you. Don’t cause anxiety for your family members.
21-22. Now you have seen this Vrndavana forest, full of flowers and resplendent with the light of the full moon. You have seen the beauty of the trees, with their leaves trembling in the gentle breeze coming from the Yamuna. So now go back to the cowherd village. Don’t delay. O chaste ladies, serve your husbands and give milk to your crying babies and calves.
23. On the other hand, perhaps you have come here out of your great love for Me, which has taken control of your hearts. This is of course quite commendable on your part, since all living entities possess natural affection for Me.
24. The highest religious duty for a woman is to sincerely serve her husband, behave well toward her husband’s family and take good care of her children.
25. Women who desire a good destination in the next life should never abandon a husband who has not fallen from his religious standards, even if he is obnoxious, unfortunate, old, unintelligent, sickly or poor.
26. For a woman from a respectable family, petty adulterous affairs are always condemned. They bar her from heaven, ruin her reputation and bring her difficulty and fear.
27. Transcendental love for Me arises by the devotional processes of hearing about Me, seeing My Deity form, meditating on Me and faithfully chanting My glories. The same result is not achieved by mere physical proximity. So please go back to your homes.
28. Sukadeva Gosvami said: Hearing these unpleasant words spoken by Govinda, the gopis became morose. Their great hopes were frustrated and they felt insurmountable anxiety.
29. Their heads hanging down and their heavy, sorrowful breathing drying up their reddened lips, the gopis scratched the ground with their toes. Tears flowed from their eyes, carrying their kajjala and washing away the vermilion smeared on their breasts. Thus they stood, silently bearing the burden of their unhappiness.
30. Although Krsna was their beloved, and although they had abandoned all other objects of desire for His sake, He had been speaking to them unfavorably. Nonetheless, they remained unflinching in their attachment to Him. Stopping their crying, they wiped their eyes and began to speak, their voices stammering with agitation.
31. The beautiful gopis said: O all-powerful one, You should not speak in this cruel way. Do not reject us, who have renounced all material enjoyment to render devotional service to Your lotus feet. Reciprocate with us, O stubborn one, just as the primeval Lord, Sri Narayana, reciprocates with His devotees in their endeavors for liberation.
32. Our dear Krsna, as an expert in religion You have advised us that the proper religious duty for women is to faithfully serve their husbands, children and other relatives. We agree that this principle is valid, but actually this service should be rendered to You. After all, O Lord, You are the dearmost friend of all embodied souls. You are their most intimate relative and indeed their very Self.
33. Expert transcendentalists always direct their affection toward You because they recognize You as their true Self and eternal beloved. What use do we have for these husbands, children and relatives of ours, who simply give us trouble? Therefore, O supreme controllers grant us Your mercy. O lotus-eyed one, please do not cut down our long-cherished hope to have Your association.
34. Until today our minds were absorbed in household affairs, but You easily stole both our minds and our hands away from our housework. Now our feet won’t move one step from Your lotus feet. How can we go back to Vraja? What would we do there?
35. Dear Krsna, please pour the nectar of Your lips upon the fire within our hearts—a fire You ignited with Your smiling glances and the sweet song of Your flute. If You do not, we will consign our bodies to the fire of separation from You, O friend, and thus like yogis attain to the abode of Your lotus feet by meditation.
36. O lotus-eyed one, the goddess of fortune considers it a festive occasion whenever she touches the soles of Your lotus feet. You are very dear to the residents of the forest, and therefore we will also touch those lotus feet. From that time on we will be unable even to stand in the presence of any other man, for we will have been fully satisfied by You.
37. Goddess Laksmi, whose glance is sought after by the demigods with great endeavor, has achieved the unique position of always remaining on the chest of her Lord, Narayana. Still, she desires the dust of His lotus feet, even though she has to share that dust with Tulasi-devi and indeed with the Lord’s many other servants. Similarly, we have approached the dust of Your lotus feet for shelter.
38. Therefore, O vanquisher of all distress, please show us mercy. To approach Your lotus feet we abandoned our families and homes, and we have no desire other than to serve You. Our hearts are burning with intense desires generated by Your beautiful smiling glances. O jewel among men, please make us Your maidservants.
39. Seeing Your face encircled by curling locks of hair, Your cheeks beautified by earrings, Your lips full of nectar, and Your smiling glance, and also seeing Your two imposing arms, which take away our fear, and Your chest, which is the only source of pleasure for the goddess of fortune, we must become Your maidservants.
40. Dear Krsna, what woman in all the three worlds wouldn’t deviate from religious behavior when bewildered by the sweet, drawn-out melody of Your flute? Your beauty makes all three worlds auspicious. Indeed, even the cows, birds, trees and deer manifest the ecstatic symptom of bodily hair standing on end when they see Your beautiful form.
41. Clearly You have taken birth in this world to relieve the fear and distress of the people of Vraja, just as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the primeval Lord, protects the domain of the demigods. Therefore, O friend of the distressed, kindly place Your lotus hand on Your maidservants’ heads and burning breasts.
42. Sukadeva Gosvami said: Smiling upon hearing these despondent words from the gopis, Lord Krsna, the supreme master of all masters of mystic yoga, mercifully enjoyed with them, although He is self-satisfied.
43. Among the assembled gopis, the infallible Lord Krsna appeared just like the moon surrounded by stars. He whose activities are so magnanimous made their faces blossom with His affectionate glances, and His broad smiles revealed the effulgence of His jasmine-bud-like teeth.
44. As the gopis sang His praises, that leader of hundreds of women sang loudly in reply. He moved among them, wearing His Vaijayanti garland, beautifying the Vrndavana forest.
45-46. Sri Krsna went with the gopis to the bank of the Yamuna, where the sand was cooling and the wind, enlivened by the river’s waves, bore the fragrance of lotuses. There Krsna threw His arms around the gopis and embraced them. He aroused Cupid in the beautiful young ladies of Vraja by touching their hands, hair, thighs, belts and breasts, by playfully scratching them with His fingernails, and also by joking with them, glancing at them and laughing with them. In this way the Lord enjoyed His pastimes.
47. The gopis became proud of themselves for having received such special attention from Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and each of them thought herself the best woman on earth.
48. Lord Kesava, seeing the gopis too proud of their good fortune, wanted to relieve them of this pride and show them further mercy. Thus He immediately disappeared.