Sunday, December 23, 2007

Story 48 - Story of Raasa leela - 02

Especially the gopikas made their life KrishnaMaya (always filled with Krishna). Starting from the moment they get and till the time they go to bed, they would always be thinking and contemplating on Krishna. If the gopikas got attracted towards the childish plays of the Lord and amazed at the miraculous deeds of the just-seven-year old child thereby becoming immersed in the Lord (tanmayee bhavam – being immersed in the Lord), then it is but natural alone.


Narada says in the last chapter of Bhakthi Sutras about a real devotee being ever established in the Lord (tanmayaah). It is this being “immersed” or “always established” in the Lord that gopikas achieved.

Being established in the Lord means always contemplating on the Lord; always remembering the Lord; always remembering that the Lord alone is real and everything else is but an illusion in the Lord.

Bhagavatham is here giving the reason as to why the gopikas got so easily established in the reality of Lord – the reason is that it is very natural to be established in the Lord. It is beyond doubt that each one of us are always established in the Lord either knowingly or unknowingly. Majority of us don’t know that the “I” or indwelling Self (essence of Consciousness) in each one is the ultimate reality of Lord. Though ignorant of our very nature of Lord, we still are attached to “I”. It is therefore that Yajnavalkya mentions to his wife Maitreyi that “the husband is loved for the sake of the Self and not for the sake of the husband”. The dearest thing for a person in the entire world is his own very Self. We will risk anything and everything in the world to protect ourselves. Rama Teertha (the early 20th century saint) recollects one of his experiences while in Himalayas. It was high-tide and therefore water was rising. He saw a mother monkey with few of its kids. The mother and the kids got up a tree to avoid being washed away by water. But the water kept on rising. The monkeys got to the top-most branch of the tree. Still the water was rising. To Rama Teertha’s surprise, the mother kept one of her child on the top of the branch and stood on the child so that she will not get washed away. The water was still rising and the mother kept on increasing the number of children beneath her legs.

This clearly illustrates the truth that everybody (inclusive of mothers) love themselves more than anybody else. We don’t need stories and dogmas to understand this. We would have faced this ourselves – we just need to take the newspaper to read out the various stories of children killing their parents for money, lovers killing their love for the sake of money-power-fame etc, brothers killing each other etc.

Thus Bhagavatham through this passage while mentioning that gopis love towards Krishna was just natural is pointing out the deep truth that we all are attached deeply to the Self in us.

There is another beautiful truth that is implied through this passage. We all are seeking eternal bliss in one or the other form. Bliss is the very nature of the ultimate reality of Lord which is none other than Krishna in this particular story. Thus the love and attachment towards Krishna is but natural. At many times we get deluded by external objects thinking that they will give us bliss but once the grace of the Lord falls on us when we surrender to him, we will be attached to the reality of Lord which alone can give us eternal bliss. Since gopis here denote complete and total surrender through love towards the Lord, therefore their attraction towards the Lord of the nature of bliss is but natural.

We will continue with the story in the next day.

Let us all try to be naturally attracted towards the ultimate reality of Lord with the knowledge that everything is but an illusion in the Lord.

A night filled with light from full-moon. Standing in a secluded area in Vrindavan, Krishna started playing beautiful tunes in his flute. Listening to the sound of the flute played by Krishna, the mind of the gopikas became disturbed by love. Forgetting everything they ran to Krishna. Those who were milking the cow stopped it and ran. Those who had kept milk on the stove hurried to Krishna keeping it as such on the stove. Those who were dressing up, those who were feeding milk to their small children, those who were looking after their husbands, those who were eating food – none the least to say that whoever was doing whatever work, they stopped the work in middle and ran towards Krishna. Fathers and husbands tried to stop them but the gopikas whose Self had so much attached itself to Krishna didn’t mind or notice it. Those few who were unable to go to Krishna closed their eyes and sat for meditation in their house itself listening to the beautiful tune played by Krishna (with their eyes filled with tears). Even though their mind had love and lust, still they contemplated on Krishna as the ultimate reality of Lord thereby rejoicing after forgetting their own body.


We find in beautiful and clear words as to how the gopis were ever established in the Lord. Leaving all their activities and passions in the world, they ran towards the Lord when Krishna started playing the flute.

There was a disciple of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (named Brahmananda if my memory doesn’t fail me) who was the most devoted and innocent in the group. Once there was a drama enacted in the ashram about Radha and Krishna. After the drama was over, the actors (small kids) were taken to pay their obeisance with Swami Brahmananda. Swamiji came out of his room. He saw the child in Krishna’s form. Crying out “Krishna” loudly the swami ran a few feet and fell on the floor unconscious. The Swami was in a state of intoxication for a few days after that. The very form of Krishna was enough to take the Swami to the state of bliss wherein he lost all contact with the external world.

During the initial days at Amritapuri (Mata Amritanandamayi’s ashram), there was just a kalari (a temple spot) where AMMA and her few disciples used to stay. Each time AMMA along with her disciples would start chanting Lalitha Sahasranama Namavali and never would they be able to finish it completely. After a few names, AMMA would enter into a state of trance and the chanting would be temporarily halted. This would go on and on. It would take them hours to even reach half or more of the chanting.

That is the state of intoxication of devotees. We may claim ourselves to be real devotees of the Lord as we may visit the temple daily, sing his name, speak about him at all times etc. But nonetheless we cannot claim ourselves to be real devotees until we are ever immersed in the reality of Lord. Though temporarily such real devotees would be doing activities in the world, any activity related to the Lord is enough to take them to the state of trance thereby halting all worldly activities.

We shouldn’t misunderstand this interpretation of real devotion as well. Some might think that since they shed few tears when hearing Bhagavatham, they are real devotees. Though these symptoms of intoxicated state and trance denote real devotion yet it doesn’t necessarily imply real devotion nor does the absence of it imply lack of real devotion. There have been jeevan mukthas like Balakrishnan Nair, Paramaartha etc. who don’t show any of these symptoms of intoxication yet are real devotees of the ultimate reality of Lord. They are jnaanis who may not even enter the state of intoxication as they are ever immersed in the Lord even intellectually and emotionally. Thus for these jnaanis, their emotional activities are controlled by the intellectual conviction that the Lord alone exists there. Wherever intellect is more dominant, there cannot be any emotional outburst or intoxication. But for devotees emotion or the heart is more active than the intellect. The one and only thing that their intellect knows is that “the Lord alone exists here” – they might not even know any of the Upanishads but are aware of the subject-matter of the Upanishads which is the ultimate reality of Lord. Thus when these devotees are working in the world, they do activities as an offering to the Lord – thus externally maintaining a difference between the Lord and themselves. But internally they are ever immersed in the Lord. Also any small activity related to the Lord is enough to drive them to be immersed in the Lord externally as well. This externally immersing in the Lord may or may not be present for jnaanis whereas for real devotees it always exists.

Bhagavatham through this beautiful exposition is thereby telling each one of us to be real devotees so that we may ever rejoice in the Lord and the very mention of the Lord is enough to give us external Samadhi.

We will continue with the story in the next day.

Let us all try to be naturally attracted towards the ultimate reality of Lord with the knowledge that everything is but an illusion in the Lord.

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