Sri Krishna in Brindavan - Selections



      a ) A selection of poems by some of the mystics and poets of India, on themes related to Sri Krishna and his yoga of divine Love

 b ) A selection from Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ' s experiences of Sri Krishna and Radha.

      c ) A selection from Sri Ramakrishna's experiences of Sri Krishna and Radha. 





      The Vaishnava Poetess

Preoccupied from the earliest times with divine knowledge and religious aspiration the Indian mind has turned all forms of human life and emotion and all the phenomena of the universe into symbols and means by which the embodied soul may strive after and grasp the Supreme. Indian devotion has especially seized upon the most intimate human relations and made them stepping-stones to the supra-human. God the Guru, God the Master, God the Friend, God the Mother, God the Child, God the Self, each of these experiences — for to us these are more than merely ideas, — it has carried to its extreme possibilities. But none of them has it pursued, embraced, sung with a more exultant passion of intimate realisation than the yearning for God the Lover, God the Beloved. It would seem as if this passionate human symbol were the natural culminating point for the mounting flame of the soul's devotion: for it is found wherever that devotion has entered into the most secret shrine of the inner temple. We meet it in Islamic poetry; certain experiences of the Christian mystics repeat the forms and images with which we are familiar in the East, but usually with a certain timorousness foreign to the Eastern temperament. For the devotee who has once had this intense experience it is that which admits to the most profound and hidden mystery of the universe; for him the heart has the key of the last secret.

      The work of a great Bengali poet has recently reintroduced this idea to the European mind which has so much lost the memory of its old religious traditions as to welcome and wonder at it as a novel form of mystic self-expression. On the contrary it is ancient enough, like all things natural and eternal in the human soul. In Bengal a whole period of national poetry has been



dominated by this single strain and it has inspired a religion and a philosophy. And in the Vaishnavism of the far South, in the songs of the Tamil Alwars we find it again in another form, giving a powerful and original turn to the images of our old classic poetry; for there it has been sung out by the rapt heart of a woman to the Heart of the Universe.

      The Tamil word, Alwar, means one who has drowned, lost himself in the sea of the divine being. Among these canonised saints of Southern Vaishnavism ranks Vishnuchitta, Yogin and poet, of Villipattan in the land of the Pandyas. He is termed Peri-alwar, The Great Alwar. A tradition, which we need not believe, places him in the ninety-eighth year of the Kaliyuga. But these divine singers are ancient enough, since they precede the great saint and philosopher Ramanuja whose personality and teaching were the last flower of the long-growing Vaishnava tradition. Since his time Southern Vaishnavism has been a fixed creed and a system rather than a creator of new spiritual greatnesses.

      The poetess Andal was the foster-daughter of Vishnuchitta, found by him, it is said, a new-born child under the sacred Tulsi-plant. We know little of Andal except what we can gather from a few legends, some of them richly beautiful and symbolic. Most of Vishnuchitta's poems have the infancy and boyhood of Krishna for their subject. Andal, brought up in that atmosphere, cast into the mould of her life what her foster-father had sung in inspired hymns. Her own poetry — we may suppose that she passed early into the Light towards which she yearned, for it is small in bulk, — is entirely occupied with her passion for the divine Being. It is said that she went through a symbolic marriage with Sri Ranganatha, Vishnu in his temple at Srirangam, and disappeared into the image of her Lord. This tradition probably conceals some actual fact, for Andal's marriage with the Lord is still celebrated annually with considerable pomp and ceremony.

      Sri Aurobindo

The Hour of God, SABCL Vol. 17



Ye Others*

Ye others cannot conceive of the love that I bear to Krishna. And your warnings to me are vain like the pleadings of the deaf and mute. The Boy who left his mother's home and was reared by a different mother, — Oh, take me forth to his city of Mathura where He won the field without fighting the battle and leave me there.

      Of no further avail is modesty. For all the neighbours have known of this fully. Would ye really heal me of this ailing and restore me to my pristine state? Then know ye this illness will go if I see Him, the maker of illusions, the youthful one who measured the world. Should you really wish to save me, then take me forth to his home in the hamlet of the cowherds and leave me there.

      The rumour is already spread over the land that I fled with Him and went the lonely way, leaving all of you behind — my parents, relations and friends. The tongue of scandal ye can hardly silence now. And He, the deceiver, is haunting me with his forms. Oh, take me forth at midnight to the door of the Cowherd named Bliss who owns this son, the maker of havoc, this mocker, this pitiless player; and leave me there.

      Oh, grieve not ye, my mothers. Others know little of this strange malady of mine. He whose hue is that of the blue sea, a certain youth called Krishna — the gentle caress of his hand can heal me, for his Yoga is sure and proved.

      On the bank of the waters he ascended the Kadamba tree and he leaped to his dance on the hood of the snake, the dance that killed the snake. Oh take me forth to the bank of that lake and leave me there.

      There is a parrot here in this cage of mine that ever calls out



his name, saying 'Govinda, Govinda'. 'In anger I chide it and refuse to feed it. "O Thou" it then cries, in its highest pitch, "O Thou who hast measured the worlds." I tell you, my people, if ye really would avoid the top of scandal in all this wide country, if still ye would guard your weal and your good fame, then take me forth to his city of Dwaraka of high mansion and decorated turrets; and leave me there.

      I Dreamed a Dream*

I dreamed a dream, O friend.

      The wedding was fixed for the morrow. And He, the Lion, Madhava, the young Bull whom they call the master of radiances, He came into the hall of wedding decorated with luxuriant palms.

I dreamed a dream, O friend.

      And the throng of the Gods was there with Indra, the Mind Divine, at their head. And in the shrine they declared me bride and clad me in a new robe of affirmation. And Inner Force is the name of the goddess who adorned me with the garland of the wedding.

I dreamed a dream, O friend.

      There were beatings of the drum and blowings of the conch; and under the canopy hung heavily with strings of pearls He came, my lover and my lord, the vanquisher of the demon Madhu and grasped me by the hand.

I dreamed a dream, O friend.

      Those whose voices are blest, they sang the Vedic songs. The holy grass was laid. The sun was established. And He who was puissant like a war-elephant in its rage, He seized my hand and we paced round the Flame.


* Andal




The Supreme Vaishnava saint and poet

      MÀRAN, renowned as Nammalwar ("Our Saint") among the Vaishnavas and the greatest of their saints and poets, was born in a small town called Kuruhur, in the southernmost region of the Tamil country — Tiru-nel-veli (Tinnevelly). His father, Kari, was a petty prince who paid tribute to the Pandyan King of Madura. We have no means of ascertaining the date of the Al-war's birth, as the traditional account is untrustworthy and full of inconsistencies. We are told that the infant was mute for several years after his birth. Nammalwar renounced the world early in life and spent his time singing and meditating on God under the shade of a tamarind tree by the side of the village temple.

      It was under this tree that he was first seen by his disciple, the Alwar Madhura-kavi, — for the latter also is numbered among the great Twelve, "lost in the sea of Divine Love". Tradition says that while Madhura-kavi was wandering in North India as a pilgrim, one night a strange light appeared to him in the sky and travelled towards the South. Doubtful at first what significance this phenomenon might have for him, its repetition during three consecutive nights convinced him that it was a divine summons and where this luminous sign led he must follow. Night after night he journeyed southwards till the guiding light came to Kuruhur and there disappeared. Learning of Nammalwar's spiritual greatness he thought that it was to him that the light had been leading him. But when he came to him, he found him absorbed in deep meditation with his eyes fast closed and although he waited for hours the Samadhi did not break until he took up a large stone and struck it against the ground violently. At the noise Nammalwar opened his eyes, but still remained silent. Madhura-kavi then put to him the following enigmatical question, "If the little one (the soul) is born



into the dead thing (Matter)* what will the little one eat and where will the little one lie?" to which Nammalwar replied in an equally enigmatic style, "That will it eat and there will it lie."

      Subsequently Nammalwar permitted his disciple to live with him and it was Madhura-kavi who wrote down his songs as they were composed. Nammalwar died in his thirty-fifth year, but he has achieved so great a reputation that the Vaishnavas account him an incarnation of Vishnu himself, while others are only the mace, discus, conch etc. of the Deity.

      From the philosophical and spiritual point of view, his poetry ranks among the highest in Tamil literature. But in point of literary excellence, there is a great inequality; for while some songs touch the level of the loftiest world-poets, others, even though rich in rhythm and expression, fall much below the poet's capacity. In his great work known as the Tiru-vaymoli (The Sacred Utterance) which contains more than a thousand stanzas, he has touched all the phases of the life divine and given expression to all forms of spiritual experience. The pure and passionless Reason, the direct perception in the high solar realm of Truth itself, the ecstatic and sometimes poignant love that leaps into being at the vision of the "Beauty of God's face", the final Triumph where unity is achieved and "I and my Father are one" all these are uttered in his simple and flowing lines with a strength that is full of tenderness and truth.

      The lines which we translate below are a fair specimen of the great Alwar's poetry; but it has suffered considerably in the translation, — indeed the genius of the Tamil tongue hardly permits of an effective rendering, so utterly divergent is it from that of the English language.

      Sri Aurobindo,

The Hour of God, SABCL Vol. 17


* The form of the question reminds one of Epictetus'definition of man, 'Thou art a little soul carrying about a corpse." Some of our readers may be familiar with Swinburne's adaptation of the saying, "A little soul for a little bears up the corpse which is man."



Nammalwar's Hymn of the Golden Age

1. Tis glory, glory, gloryl For Life's hard curse has expired; swept out are Pain and Hell, and Death has nought to do here. Mark ye, the Iron Age shall end. For we have seen the hosts of Vishnu; richly do they enter in and chant His praise and dance and thrive.

2. We have seen, we have seen, we have seen — seen things full sweet for our eyes. Come, all ye lovers of God, let us shout and dance for joy with oft-made surrenderings. Wide do they roam on earth singing songs and dancing, the hosts of Krishna who wears the cool and beautiful Tulsi, the desire of the Bees.

3. The Iron Age shall change. It shall fade, it shall pass away. The gods shall be in our midst. The mighty Golden Age shall hold the earth and the flood of the highest Bliss shall swell. For the hosts of our dark-hued Lord, dark-hued like the cloud, dark-hued like the sea, widely they enter in, singing songs, and everywhere they have seized on their stations.

4. The hosts of our Lord who reclines on the sea of Vastness, behold them thronging hither. Me seems they will tear up all these weeds of grasping cults. And varied songs do they sing, our Lord's own hosts, as they dance falling, sitting, standing, marching, leaping, bending.

5. And many are the wondrous sights that strike mine eyes. As by magic have Vishnu's hosts come in and firmly placed themselves everywhere. Nor doubt it, ye fiends and demons, if, born such be in our midst, take heed! ye shall never escape. For the Spirit of Time will slay and fling you away.



6. These hosts of the Lord of the Discus, they are here to free this earth of the devourers of Life, Disease and Hunger and vengeful Hate and all other things of evil. And sweet are their songs as they leap and dance extending wide over earth. Go forth, ye lovers of God and meet these hosts divine; with right minds serve them and live.

7. The Gods that ye fix in your minds, in His name do they grant you deliverance. Even thus to immortality did the sage Mar-kanda attain. I mean no offence to any, but there is no other God but Krishna. And let all your sacrifices be to them who are but His forms.

8. His forms he has placed as Gods to receive and taste the offerings that are brought in sacrifices in all the various worlds. He our divine Sovereign on whose mole-marked bosom the goddess Lakshmi rests — His hosts are singing sweetly and deign to increase on earth. O men, approach them, serve and live.

9. Go forth and live by serving our Lord, the deathless One. With your tongues chant ye the hymns, the sacred Riks of the Veda, nor err in the laws of wisdom. Oh, rich has become this earth in the blessed ones and the faithful who serve them with flowers and incense and sandal and water.

10. In all these rising worlds they have thronged and wide they spread, those beauteous forms of Krishna — the unclad Rudra, is there, Indra, Brahma, all. The Iron Age shall cease to be — do ye but unite and serve these.

      * * *




The poetic image used in the following verses is characteristically Indian. The mother of a love-stricken girl (symbolising the human soul yearning to merge into the Godhead) is complaining to her friend of the sad plight of her child whom love for Krishna has rendered "mad"— the effect of the "madness" being that in all things she is able to see nothing but forms of Krishna —, the ultimate Spirit of the universe.

      The Realisation of God in all things by the Vision of Divine Love.

1.     Seated, she caresses Earth and cries, "This Earth is Vishnu's";

             Salutes the sky and bids us "behold the Heaven He ruleth";

             Or standing with tear-filled eyes cries aloud, "O sea hued Lord!"

             All helpless am I, my friends; my child He has rendered mad.

      2.    Or joining her hands she fancies "The Sea where my Lord reposes!"

             Or hailing the ruddy Sun she cries: "Yes, this is His form",

             Languid, she bursts into tears and mutters Nara-yan's name.

             I am dazed at the things she is doing, my gazelle,

             my child shaped god-like.


* Nammalwar.



 3.    Knowing, she embraces red Fire, is scorched and, cries "O Death-less!"

             And she hugs the Wind; "Tis my own Govinda", she tells us.

             She smells of the honied Tulsi, my gazelle-like child. Ah me!

             How many the pranks she plays for my sinful eyes to behold.

      4.    The rising moon she showeth, "Tis the shining gem-hued Krishna".

             Or, eyeing the standing hill, she cries: "O come, high Vishnu!"

             It rains; and she dances and cries out "He hath come, the God of my love!"

             0 the mad conceits He hath given to my tender, dear one!

      5.    The soft-limbed calf she embraces, for "Such did Krishna tend"

             And follows the gliding serpent, explaining "That is His couch."

             1 know not where this will end, this folly's play in my sweet one

             Afflicted, ay, for my sins, by Him, the Divine Magician.

      6.    Where tumblers dance with their pots, she runs and cries "Govinda";

             At the charming notes of a flute she faints, for "Krishna, He playeth."

             When cowherd dames bring butter, she is sure it was tasted by Him, —

             So mad for the Lord who sucked out the Demoness' life through her bosom!   



      7.    In rising madness she raves, "All worlds are by Krishna made"

             And she runs after folk ash-smeared; forsooth, they serve high Vishnu!

             Or she looks at the fragrant Tulsi and claims Nara-yan's garland.

             She is ever for Vishnu, my darling, or in, or out of her wits.

      8.    And in all your wealthy princes she but sees the Lord of Lakshmi.

             At the sight of beautiful colours, she cries, "O my Lord world-scanning!"

             And all the shrines in the land, to her, are shrines of Vishnu.

             In awe and in love, unceasing, she adores the feet of that Wizard.

      9.    All Gods and saints are Krishna — Devourer of infinite Space!

             And the huge, dark clouds are Krishna; all fain would she fly to reach them.

             Or the kine, they graze on the meadow and thither she runs to find Him.

             The Lord of Illusions, He makes my dear one pant and rave.

     10.   Languid she stares around her or gazes afar into space;

             She sweats and with eyes full of tears she sighs and faints away;

             Rising, she speaks but His name and cries, "Do come, O Lord."

             Ah, what shall I do with my poor child o'erwhelmed by this maddest love?



 Songs of Bidyapati


How shall I tell of Caanou's beauty bright?

Men will believe it a vision of the night.

As lightning was his saffron garment blown

Over the beautiful cloud-limbs half shown.

His coal-black curls assumed with regal grace

A peacock's plume above that moonlike face.

And such a fragrance fierce the mad wind wafts 

Love wakes and trembles for his flowery shafts. 

Yea, what shall words do, friend? Love's whole estate

Exhausted was that wonder to create.

 * * *

Caanou to see I had desire;

Caanou seen, my life grew fire.

Thenceforth deep down, ah, foolish I,

In a great sea of love I lie.

Hardly I know, a girl and weak,

What these words mean my heart would speak.

Only my tears for ever rain,

Only my soul burns in its pain.

O wherefore, friend, did mine eyes see,

Friend of my bosom, thoughtlessly? 



When a little mirth was all I planned,

 I have given my life into another's hand.


 I know not what this lovely thief

 Did to me in that moment brief.

 Surely such craft none yet possessed!

 He robbed my heart out of its nest

 Only with seeing, and gone is he

 Taking my poor heart far from me

 And ah! his eyes did then express

 Such tenderness, such tenderness,

 The more I labour to forget

 My very soul remembers it.

 Mourn not, sweet girl, for thy heart's sake;

 Who took thy heart, thyself at last shall take.

 * * *

 O friend, my friend, has pain a farther bound

 Which sounds can utter, for which words are found?


 Fiercely the flute's breath through me ran and thrilled,

 My body with sweet dreadful sound was filled.


  By violence that brooks not of control

  The cruel music enters all my soul.


  Then every limb enamoured swoons with shame

  And every thought is wrapped in utter flame.


  Yea, all my labouring body mightily 

   Was filled and panted with sweet agony.




I dared not lift my eyes. My elders spoke

 Around me when that wave of passion broke,

 And such a languor through my being crept,

 My very robe no more its office kept.

 With slow feet on their careful steps intent

 Panting into the inner house I went.

 Even yet I tremble from the peril past,

 So fierce a charm the flute upon me cast.

* * *

 O life is sweet but youth more bright.

      O life, it is youth and youth is delight.

      And what is youth if it be not this,

      Love, true love, and lover's long kiss.

      Love that the noble heart conceives

      Will leave thee never till life leaves.

      Everyday the moons increase,

      Every day love greater is.

      Of all girl-lovers thou art crown,

      Caanou of youth the sole renown.

      When hardest holiest deeds accrue,

      Meet in this world lovers true.

      Stolen love, how sweet it is!

      Two brief words its only keys;

      Murmur but these and thou shalt hold

      Secret delights a thousand-fold.

      So true a lover all wide earth

      To another such gave never birth,

     And Braja's hearts with love are wild

     Of the noble gracious child.



 Haste to thy king, sweet, pay him duty

    Of thy loving heart and beauty.

* * *

The best of the year has come, the Spring,

      Of the six seasons one season King;

      nd now with all his tribes the bee

      Runs to the creeper spring-honey.

      The sun's rays come of boyish age,

      The day-describing sun, his page,

      A sceptre of gold the saffron-bloom

      And the young leaves a crowning-room.

      Gold-flowers of Chompuk o'er him stand,

      The umbrellaed symbol of command;

      The cary-buds a crown do set

      And before him sings a court-poet

      The Indian cuckoo to whom is given

      The sweetest note of all the seven.

      Peacocks dance and for instrument

      Murmur of bees, while sacrament

      Of blessing and all priestly words

      Brahmins recite, the twice-born birds.


      Pollen, the flying dust of flowers,

      His canopy above him towers.

      His favourite the southern breeze,

      Jasmine of youth and Tuscan-trees

      His battle-flag. The season of dew,

      Seeing sweet blossoms-of-bliss renew,

      Seven-leaf and boughs that fragrance loves

      And Kingshook and the climbing cloves,

      Seven things of bloom together, flees

      Nor waits the perfumed shock of these.

      Spring's army too the chill-estate  



Of the dew-season annihilate —

      Invading honey-bees — and make

      Secure the lilies of the lake.

      And these being saved yield them a home

      In their own soft, new-petalled bloom.

      In Brindaban anew is mirth

      For the restored bloom of earth.

      These are the season's sweet and these

      The essence of the spring's increase.

* * *

 A new Brindaban I see

      And renewed each barren tree;

      New flowers are blooming,

      And another Spring is; new

      Southern breezes chase the dew

      With new bees roaming.

      And the sweet Boy of Gocul strays

      In new and freshly blossoming ways.

      The groves upon Kalindi's shore

      With his tender beauty bloom

      While fresh-disturbed heart brims o'er

      By the new-born love o'ercome.


      And the new, sweet cary-buds

      Are wild with honey in the woods;

      New birds are singing;

      And the young girls wild with love

      Run delightèd to the grove

      New hearts bringing.

      For young the heir of Gocul is


      And young his passionate mistresses.

      Meetings new and fresh love-rites



 And lights of ever-fresh desire,

      Sports ever-new and new delights

      Set Bidyapati's heart on fire.

 * * *

 Hark how round you the instruments sound!

      With the sweet love wild

      Of Gocul's child

      She danceth mistress of the fair arts sixty-four.

      And her hands rhyme keeping time

      Her smitten hands that still the fall restore.


      And the tabors keep melody deep

      And the heavy thrum

      Of the measured drum

      And anklets' running cry their own slim music loving.

      The waist bells sprinkle their silver tinkle

      And bracelets gold that gems do hold;

      Loud is the instruments' din to madness moving.


      And harps begin and the violin

      And the five vessels

      Where melody swells

      Thro' all the gamut move and various moods express.

      And over and under the twydrums thunder,

      With whose noise the vessels five mix and embrace.

      From loosened tresses that toil undresses

      And floating whirls

      On the shoulders of girls

      The jasmine garlands' buds sprinkle the vernal night.

      Ah revels of Spring! with powerless wing

      These verses grieve, not reaching your delight.



Head of Krishna (Rajasthani, Jaipur)



Selected Poems of Nidhu Babu

Eyes of the hind, you are my jailors, sweetest;

      My heart with the hind's frightened motion fleetest

      In terror strange would flee,

      But find no issue, sweet; for thy quick smiling,

      Thy tresses like a net with threads beguiling

      Detain it utterly.


     I am afraid of thy great eyes and well-like,

     I am afraid of thy small ears and shell-like,

     And everything in thee.

     Comfort my fainting heart with soft assurance

     And soon it will grow tame and love its durance,

     Hearing such melody..

* * *

Line not with these dark rings thy bright eyes ever!

      Such keen shafts are enough to slay unaided;

      To tip the barbs with venom why endeavour?

      O then no heart could live thy glance invaded.


      Why any live wouldst thou have explanation?

      Three powers have thine eyes of grievous passion.

      The first is poison making them death's portal.

      The second wine of strong intoxication;

      The third is nectar that makes gods immortal.



* * *


What else have I to give thee? I have yielded

      My heart at thy discretion,

      And is there than the heart a closer-shielded

      Reluctant sweet possession?

      Dear, if thou know of such as yet ungiven,

      I will not grudge but yielding think it heaven.

* * *


My eyes are lost in thine as in great rivers,

      My soul is in their depths of beauty drowned.

      Love in thine eyes three sacred streams delivers,

      Whose waves with crests of rushing speed are crowned.

      The wind of love has stirred thy fluttering lashes,

      The tide of love heaves in thy sweet emotion;

      My beating heart feels as it seaward washes

      Billows of passion rush a stormy ocean.

* * *

said in anger, "When next time he prays,

      I will be sullen and repulse his charms."

      Ah me! but when I saw my lover's face,

      I quite forgot and rushed into his arms.


      Mine eyes said, "We will joy in him no longer;

      Vainly let him entreat nor pardon crave."

      He came, nor pardon asked; my bonds grew stronger,

      I am become more utterly his slave. 



 * * *

How much thou didst entreat! with what sweet wooing

      Thou hast bewitched my soul to love thee!

      Now when I've loved thee to my own undoing,

      O marvel! all my piteous tears and suing

      To bless me with thy presence cannot move thee.

      Would I, if I had known ere all was over,

      Have given my heart for thy sole pleasure?

      So sweet thy words, I fell in love with loving

      And gave my heart, the very roots removing.

      How could I know that thy love had a measure?


 * * *

 How could I know that he was waiting only

      For an excuse to leave me ?

      I was so sure he loved me, not one lonely

      Suspicion came to grieve me.

      But now a small offence his pretext making

      He has buried Love and left me;

      Blithely has gone, his whole will of me taking,

      Having of bliss bereft me.

      Too well he knows my grief of heart, not caring

      Tho' it break through his disdain.

      I sit forsaken, all my beauty wearing

      But as a crown of pain. 




      * * *


      How much thou didst entreat! with what sweet wooing

      Thou hast bewitched my soul to love thee!

      Now when I've loved thee to my own undoing,

      O marvel! all my piteous tears and suing

      To bless me with thy presence cannot move thee.


      Would I, if I had known ere all was over,

      Have given my heart for thy sole pleasure?

      So sweet thy words, I fell in love with loving

      And gave my heart, the very roots removing.

      How could I know that thy love had a measure?



      * * *


      How could I know that he was waiting only

      For an excuse to leave me ?

      I was so sure he loved me, not one lonely

      Suspicion came to grieve me.


      But now a small offence his pretext making

      He has buried Love and left me;

      Blithely has gone, his whole will of me taking,

      Having of bliss bereft me.


      Too well he knows my grief of heart, not caring

      Tho' it break through his disdain.

      I sit forsaken, all my beauty wearing

      But as a crown of pain. 





  * * *


      Into the hollow of whose hand my heart

      I gave once, surely thinking him my lover,

      How shall I now forget him? by what art

      My captive soul recover?


      I took Love's graver up and slow portrayed

      His beauty on my soul with lingering care.

      How shall the picture* from its back-ground fade

      Burnt in so deeply there.


      "He has forgotten thee, forget him thou;"

       All say to me, "a vain thing is regret,"

       Ah yes, that day when death is on my brow,

       I shall indeed forget.


      * * *


      I did not dream, O love, that I

      Would ever have thee back again.

      The sunflower drooping hopelessly

      Expects no sun to end her pain.


      I did not dream my lord would show

      Favour to his poor slave-girl more,

      That I should mix my eyes as now

      With the dear eyes I panted for.


      I did not dream my huge desire

      Would be filled full and grief be over,




     But burning in love's bitter fire

     With hopeless longing for my lover,

     One thought alone possessed thy slave,

     "Lord of my life, where art thou gone?

     Will thou not come this life to save?"

      Dumbly this thought and this alone.

 * * *


      In true sweet love what more than utter bliss is,

      He only knows who is himself true lover.

      As moonbird seeks the moon, she seeks his kisses,

      Liberal of nectar he yearns down above her.


In search of the Devine Lover





  Selected poems of Horu Thakur


      Look, Lolita, the stream one loves so

      And water brings each day!

      But what is this strange light that moves so,

      In Jamouna today?

      What is it shining, heaving, glimmering,

      Is it a flower or face

      Thus shimmering with the water's shimmering

      And swaying as it sways ?

      Is it a lotus darkly blooming

      In Jamouna's clear stream?

      What else the depths opaque illuming

      Could with such beauty claim?

      Is it his shadow whom dark-burning

      In sudden bloom we see

      When with our brimming jars returning

      We pass the Tamal-tree?

      Is there in upper heavens or under

      A moon that's dark of hue?

      By daylight does that moon of wonder

      Its mystic dawn renew?

      * * *

      The soul recognises the Eternal for whom it has failed in its earthly conventional duties and incurred the censure of the world.

      I know him by the eyes all hearts that ravish,

      For who is there beside him? 



 0 honey grace of amorous sweetness lavish!

      1 know him by his dark compelling beauty,

      Once only having spied him

      For him I stained my honour, scorned my duty.

      I know him by his feet of moonbeam brightness,

      Because for their sake purely

      I live and move, my name is taxed with lightness.

      Ah now I know him surely.

* * *

The Eternal departing from the soul to His kingdom of action and its duties, the latter bemoans its loneliness.

What are these wheels whose sudden thunder

      Alarms the ear with ominous noise?

      Who brought this chariot to tread under Gocool, our Paradise?

      Watching the wheels our hearts are rent asunder.


      Alas! and why is Crishna standing

      With Ocroor in the moving car?

      To Mothura is he then wending,

      To Mothura afar,

      The anguish in our eyes not understanding.

      What fault, what fault in Radha finding

      Hast thou forsaken her who loved thee;

      Her tears upon thy feet not minding?

      Once surely they had moved thee!

      O Radha's Lord, what fault in Radha finding?

      But Shyama, dost thou recollect not,

      That we have left all for thy sake?

      Of other thought, of other love we recked not,

      Labouring thy love to wake.

      Thy love's the only thought our minds reject not.



 Hast thou forgot how we came running

      At midnight when the moon was full,

      Called by thy flute's enamoured crooning,

      Musician beautiful,

      Shame and reproach for thy sake never shunning?


      To please thee was our sole endeavour,

      To love thee was our sole delight;

      This was our sin; for this, O lover,

      Dost thou desert us quite?

      Is it therefore thou forsakest us forever?


      Ah why should I forbid thee so?

      To Mothura let the wheels move thee,

      To Mothura if thy heart go,

      For the sad souls that love thee,

      That thou art happy is enough to know.


      But O with laughing face half-willing,

      With eyes that half a glance bestow

      Once only our sad eyes beguiling

      Look backward ere thou go,

      On Braja's neat-herdess once only smiling.

      One last look all our life through burning,

      One last look of our dear delight

      And then to watch the great wheels turning

      Until they pass from sight,

      Hopeless to see those well-loved feet returning.


      All riches that we had, alone

      Thou wast, therefore forlorn we languish;

      From empty breasts we make our moan,

      Our souls with the last anguish

      Smiting in careless beauty thou art gone!  



The magic of Krishna's flute (Kangra)


 Selected Poems of Jnanada

The soul, as yet divided from the Eternal, yet having caught a glimpse of his intoxicating beauty grows passionate in remembrance and swoons with the sensuous expectation of union.


 O beauty meant all hearts to move!

      O body made for girls to kiss!

      In every limb an idol of love,

      A spring of passion and of bliss.


      The eyes that once his beauty see,

      Poor eyes! can never turn away,

      The heart follows him ceaselessly

      Like a wild beast behind its prey.


      Not to be touched those limbs, alas!

      They are another's nest of joy.

      But ah their natural loveliness!

      Ah God, the dark, the wonderful boy!


      His graceful sportive motion sweet

      Is as an ornament to earth,

      And from his lovely pacing feet

      Beauties impossible take birth,


      Catching one look not long nor sure,

      One look of casual glory shed,

      How many noble maidens pure

      Lay down on love as on a bed.   



The heart within the heart deep hid

      He ravishes; almost in play

      One looks, — ere falling of the lid,

      Her heart has gone with him away!


      Oh if his eyes wake such sweet pain

      That even sleep will not forget,

      What dreadful sweeness waits me when

      Body and passionate body meet.

   * * *

The Eternal replies that the beauty of human souls has driven out all care for or art of guidance in the phenomenal world and unless the latter reveal themselves naked of earthly desires and gratify his passion, they must sink in the Ocean of life.

 In vain my hands bale out the waves in leaping,

      The boat is drowning, drowning;

      A storm comes over the great river sweeping;

      Huge billows rise up frowning.


      The rudder from my hand is wrenched in shivers,

      Death stares in all his starkness. T

      he boat is tossed and whirled, and the great river's

      Far banks plunge into darkness.


      What can I do? Jamouna's rising, surging

      To take us to her clasp,

      And the fierce rush of waters hurries urging

      The rudder from my grasp.


      Never I knew till now, nor any word in

      The mouths of men foretold

      That a girl's beauty was too great a burden  



 For one poor boat to hold.

      Come, make you bear, throw off your robes, each maiden;

      Your naked beauties bring,

      Lighten your bodies of their sweets o'erladen;

      Then I'll resume rowing.


      Girls, you have made me drunk with milk and sweetness,

      You have bewitched my soul,

      My eyes can judge no more the wind's fierce fleetness,

      Nor watch the waters roll.


      They are fixed in you, they are tangled in your tresses,

      They will never turn again.

      Where I should see the waves, I see your faces,

      Your bosoms, not the rain.


      You will not let me live, you are my haters,

      Your eyes have caused my death.

      I feel the boat sink down in the mad waters,

      Down, down the waves beneath.

   * * *


She.   For love of thee I gave all life's best treasures.

      He.    For love of thee I left my princely pleasures.

      She.   For love of thee I roam in woodland ways.

      He.    For love of thee the snow-white kine I graze.

      She.   For love of thee I don the robe of blue.

      He.    For love of thee I wear thy golden hue.

      She.   For love of thee my spotless name was stained.

      He.    For love of thee my father was disdained.

      She.   Thy love has changed my whole world into thee.

      He.    Thy love has doomed mine eyes one face to see.

      She.   Save love for thee no thought my sense can move.

      He.    Thee, thee I worship, and thy perfect love.




* * *

The human soul, in a moment of rapt excitement when the robe of sense has fallen from it, is surprised and seized by the vision of the Etemal.

I will lay bare my heart's whole flame,

      To thee, heart's sister, yea the whole.

      The dark-hued limbs I saw in dream,

      To these I have given my body and soul.


      It was a night of wildest showers;

      Ever incessant and amain

      The heavens thundered through the hours,

      Outside was pattering of the rain.


      Exulting in the lightning's gleams,

      Joyous, I lay down on my bed;

      The dress had fallen from my limbs,

      I slept with rumours overhead.


      The peacocks in the treetops high

      Between their gorgeous dances shrilled,

      The cuckoo cried exultantly,

      The frogs were clamourous in the field;

      And ever with insistent chime

      The bird of rumour shrieking fled

      Amidst the rain, at such a time

      A vision stood beside my bed.


      He moved like fire into my soul,

      The love of him became a part

      Of being, and oh his whispers stole

      Murmuring in and filled my heart.

      His loving ways, his tender wiles,



  The hearts that feel, ah me! so burn

      That maidens pure with happy smiles

      From shame and peace and honour turn.


      The lustre of his looks effaced

      The moon, of many lovely moods

      He is the master; on his breast

      There was a wreath of jasmine buds.


      Holding my feet, down on the bed

      He sat; my breasts were fluttering birds;

      His hands upon my limbs he laid,

      He bought me for his slave with words.


      O me! his eyebrows curved like bows!

      0 me! his panther body bright!

      Love from his sidelong glances goes

      And takes girls prisoners at sight.


      He speaks with little magic smiles

      That force a girl's heart from her breast.

      How many sweet ways he beguiles,

      1 know; they cannot be expressed.


      Burning he tore me from my bed

      And to his passionate bosom clutched;

      I could not speak a word; he said

      Nothing, his lips and my lips touched.


      My body almost swooned away

      And from my heart went fear and shame

      And maiden pride; panting I lay;

      He was around me like a flame.*


* And felt him round me like a flame.




 Love, but my words are vain as air!

      In my sweet joyous youth, a heart untried,

      Thou took'st me in Love's sudden snare,

      Thou wouldst not let me in my home abide.


      And now I have nought else to try,

      But I will make my soul one strong desire

      And into Ocean leaping die:

      So shall my heart be cooled of all its fire.


      Die and be born to life again

      As Nanda's son, the joy of Braja's girls,

      And I will make thee Radha then,

      A laughing child's face set with lovely curls.


      Then I will love thee and then leave;

      Under the Codome's boughs when thou goest by

      Bound to the water morn or eve,

      Lean on that tree fluting melodiously.


      Thou shalt hear me and fall at sight

      Under my charm; my voice shall wholly move

      Thy simple girl's heart to delight;

      Then shalt thou know the bitterness of love. 



  0 love, what more shall I, shall Radha speak,

      Since mortal words are weak?

      In life, in death,

      In being and in breath

      No other lord but thee can Radha seek.


      About thy feet the mighty net is wound

      Wherein my soul they bound;

      Myself resigned

      To servitude my mind;

      My heart than thine no sweeter slavery found.


      I, Radha, thought; through the three worlds my gaze

      I sent in wild amaze;

      I was alone.

      None called me "Radha!", none;

      I saw no hand to clasp, no friendly face.


      I sought my father's house; my father's sight

      Was empty of delight;

      No tender friend

      Her loving voice would lend;

      My cry came back unanswered from the night.


      Therefore to this sweet sanctuary I brought

      My chilled and shuddering thought.

      Ah, suffer, sweet,

      To thy most faultless feet

      That I should cling unchid; ah, spurn me not!   



The sorrow of Radha (Kangra)


 Spurn me not, dear, from thy beloved breast,

      A woman weak, unblest.

      Thus let me cling,

      Thus, thus about my king

      And thus remain caressing and caressed.


      I, Radha, thought; without my life's sweet lord,

      — Strike now thy mightiest chord —

      I had no power

      To live one simple hour;

      His absence slew my soul as with a sword.


      If one brief moment steal thee from mine eyes,

      My heart within me dies.

      As girls who keep

      The treasures of the deep,

      I string thee round my neck and on my bosom prize.






      Udho, hearts like ours can't change;

      They're dyed with Shyam's pure blackness

      and there's no way to wash it away.

      Spare us then your artful speeches

      and let's get down to the root of the matter:

      The yoga you preach means no more to us

      than campa flowers do to you bees —

      How could an insipid thing like that

      erase the fate that is furrowed in our hands?

      Show us Shyam instead, our delight;

      one look says Sur, and we'll come to life.

  * * *

 Madhav, give ear to what love is in Braj

           I've studied it now for fully half a year,

           the milk-maids' way of life,

           And all the time, Shyam, you and Balaram

           refuse to vacate their hearts.

           Their tears are a torrent of holy oblations,

           their windblown saris the cooling whisk;

           For offering vessels they tender their breasts,

           their hands bear votive lotuses,

           And their lips are alive with hymns that recall

           the playful deeds you displayed.

           Their homes and emotions, their physical frames

           they offer to your lotus-like eyes.



Says Sur, one look at love like theirs

      and how tasteless it seems to be wise.

  * * *

Having seen Hari's face, our eyes are opened wide.

      Forgetting to blink, our pupils are naked

      like those who are clad with the sky.

      They've left behind the teachings of home,

      burned up the sacred thread of decorum;

      Family and veil are all cast aside:

      our eyes scan always ahead toward the wood,

      And, there for the love of beauty they pledge

      they'll never, forever, close their lids.

      It comes to this: an ascetic's death.

      Our families are spent in reproach.

      So Udho, though your speeches touch

      our minds, and we understand,

      Nothing can argue with our eyes, says Sur,

      so obstinate and fixed, so blind.







 What light of Brahma? Who are we to hear?

      Of knowledge, Uddhav?

      Shyam the fair is ours!

      Our path of love is straight — Mohan reveals

      In eye, ear, nostril, voice

      His form so dear,

      Snatching our minds and memories with his flute —

      Casting love's spell,

      O friend of Shyam.


      You call him Kanha — he who's fatherless,

      Not born of mother! — and from whom arose

      The universe entire,

      The egg of Brahma!

      He took man's shape, and came to earth

      To work his will as Shyam;

      But yoga's discipline alone wins him

      And highest Brahma's city is his home,

      O women of Braj!


      Tell him of yoga, Uddhav, whom you find

      Fit for it,

      But to us sing lovingly,

      Of Nanda-nandana's reality!

      In Mohan's eye the proof of his being shines!

      It fills his voice, heart, soul —

      And where's the man

      Who scorns love's nectar, turning to scoop up dust,

      O friend of Shyam?



 Shyam has no qualities! The Vedas state

      Their negative, and Upanishads proposed

      The Self as absolute,

      Though seeming qualified

      Vedas, Puranas too have never found

      One quality; if all is qualified,

      Say, what supports the sky!

      O women of Braj?


      Has Shyam no qualities? Then how

      Are qualities formed, we'd like to know!

      How can a tree unseeded grow?

      His quality, though single,

      In illusion's mirror gleamed

      Reflected, and many seems:

      So pure and muddy streams

      — Both water — mingle

      O friend of Shyam!

      All qualities apparent to the eye

      Must vanish, but eternal Vasudev

      Suffers no taint from these!

      His radiance

      Is that of perfect knowledge — undisclosed

      To the gross senses, seen by those

      Who know this truth of him, the babe reborn,

      O women of Braj!


      Can disbelievers recognise

      The form beneficient? They spurn

      The sun itself, in yonder skies,

      And to clutch at its scattered rays they turn!

      But we're intent upon that form

      And countless Brahmas no more prize

      Than a tiny plum, that lies

      Unseen within the palm — O friend of Shyam! 





   Sister, the Lord of the Poor

      Came to wed me in a dream.

      Fifty-six crores of deities formed the bridal procession.

      And the bridegroom was the Lord of Braj.

      In my dream,

      I saw the wedding-arch constructed 

      And the Lord took my hand.

      In my dream

      I underwent a wedding ceremony

      And entered the married state.

      Giridhara has revealed himself to Mira:

      Her fortunes stem

      From good deeds in past births.

 * * *

Let me go to the house of Giridhara

      Giridhara is my true lover:

      On beholding His beauty, I long for him much.

      As night falls I set out to see Him

      And at break of day I return.

      Day and night I sport in His company

      I please Him in any way I can.

      Whatever He clothes me in, that I wear.

      Whatever He offers, that I eat.

      My love for Him

      Is ancient and long-standing.

      Without Him I could not live.




  Wherever He places me, there I remain.

      If He sold me into slavery,

      I would acquiesce.

      Mira's Lord is the courtly Giridhara,

      She offers herself in sacrifice again and again.


Anklets have I tied and I have danced in ecstasy,

      I am Thine O Narayana, and Thine maid have I

      become to serve Thee.

      The cup of poison has been delivered by the emissary

      of the king

      In mad love and laughter have I drunk it.

      "Mira has lost all sense" so people condemn her

      "Destroyer of the clan is she" such is the

      pronouncement of her elders

      But of what avail is it to Mira?

      Effortlessly has she secured the Imperishable.

      Mira's only utterance is — Giridhara, the only

      Inhabitant of the universe.





(1479-1531 AD)

Vallabhacharya is the celebrated founder of Pushti Marg, which is devoted to the worship of Sri Krishna's consciousness and the nourishment of the devotee's soul by the contact and experience of the delight of Sri Krishna's consciousness. It is said that Vallabhacharya had the vision of Sri Krishna, his charm and sweetness one night in August 1494 A.D.

      The eight verses that he composed to describe his ecstasy on the vision of the sweetness of Sri Krishna have become well known in Indian literature pertaining to the yoga of devotion as Madhurashtakam (eight verses depicting the sweetness of Sri Krishna). These verses have moved millions of Indians over centuries, and we give in the next few pages the text of the Madhurashtakam and the English translation from the original Sanskrit.

      "Madhuram" in Sanskrit means sweet, delicious, delightful, immortalizing ecstasy, nectarous, sweetness of elixir, sweetness of honey, etc.





अधरं मधुरं Adharam Madhuram Madhuram Lips
वदनं मधुरं Vadanam Madhuram Madhuram Face
नयनं मधुरं Nayanam Madhuram Madhuram Eyes
हसितं मधुरं Hasitam Madhuram Madhuram Smile
हृदयं मधुरं Hrdayam madhuramMadhuram Madhuram Heart
गमनं मधुरं Gamanam Madhuram Madhuram Gait
मधुराधिपतेरखिलं मधुरं Madhurādhipater  Akhilam Madhuram 

Madhuram TheCharming Lord Wholly   Madhuram



वचनं मधुरं Vasanam Madhuram Madhuram Words
चरितं मधुरं Caritam Madhuram  Madhuram Acts
वसनं मधुरं Valitam Madhuram Madhuram Dress
वलितं मधुरं Vacanam Madhuram  Madhuram Stance
चलितं मधुरं Calitam Madhuram Madhuram Walk
भमितं मधुरं Bhramitam Madhuram Madhuram Wandering
मधुराधिपतेरखिलं मधुरं Madhurādhipater    Akhilam Madhuram 

Madhur The Charming Lord Wholly   Madhuram




वेनुर्मधुरो Venur Madhuro Madhuram Flute
रेणुर्मधुरः Renur Madhurah Madhuram Sand
पाणिर्मेधुरः Pānir Madhurah  Madhuram Hands
पादौ मधुरौ Pādau Madhurau Madhuram Feet
नृत्यं मधुरं Nrtyam Madhuram  Madhuram Dance
सख्यं मधुरं Sakhyam Madhuram  Madhuram Friendship
मधुराधिपतेरखिलं मधुरं Madhurādhipater Akhilarh Madhuram 

Madhuram The Charming Lord Wholly       Madhuram





गीतं मधुरं Gītam Madhuram Madhuram Song
पीतं मधुरं Pītam Madhuram Madhuram Drink
भुक्तं मधुरं Bhuktam Madhuram  Madhuram Food
सुप्तं मधुरं Suptam Madhuram Madhuram Sleep
रूपं मधुरं Rūpam Madhuram Madhuram Form
तिलकं मधुरं Tilakam Madhuram Madhuram Forehead Mark
मधुराधिपतेरखिलं मधुरं Madhurādhipater AkhilamMadhuram  Madhuram The Charming Lord Wholly Madhuram 




करनं मधुरं Karanam Madhuram Madhuram Deeds
तरणं मधुरं Taranam Madhuram  Madhuram Swim
हरणं मधुरं Haranam Madhuram  Madhuram Thief
रमणं मधुरं Ramanam Madhuram  Madhuram Joy
वमितं मधुरं Vamitam Madhuram Madhuram Release
शमितं मधुरं Samitam Madhuram Madhuram Apeace
मधुराधिपतेरखिलं मधुर Madhurādhipater Akhilam Madhuram Madhuram The Charming Lord Wholly  Madhuramr




गुञ्जा मधुरं Guñjā Madhura Madhuram Beads
माला मधुरं Mālā Madhura Madhuram Garland
यमुना मधुरं Yamunā Madhurā Madhuram Yamunā
वीची मधुरं Vīchī Madhurā  Madhuram Waves
सलिलं मधुरं Salilam Madhuram Madhuram Water
कमलं मधुरं Kamalam Madhuram  Madhuram Lotus
मधुराधिपतेरखिलं मधुरं Madhurādhipater Akhilam Madhuram

Madhuram The Charming Lord wholly  Madhuram




गोपी मधुरं Gopī Madhura Madhuram Gopi
लीला मधुरं LīIā Madhura Madhuram Games
युक्तं मधुरं Yuktam Madhuram  Matura Meeting
मुक्तं मधुरं Muktarh Madhuram  Madhuram Liberation
दृष्टं मधुरं Drstam Madhuram  Madhuram Sight
शिष्टं मधुरं Sistam Madhuram  Madhuram Nobility
मधुराधिपतेरखिलं मधुरं

MadhurādhipaterAkhilam Madhuram 

Madhuram The Charming Lord Wholly



गोपा मधुर Gopā Madhurā  Madhuram Gopā
गावो मधुर Gāvo Madhurā Madhuram Cow
यष्टिर्मधुरा Yastir Madhurā Madhuram Stick
सृष्टिर्मधुरा Srstir Madhurā Madhuram Creation
दलितं मधुर Dalitam Madhuram  Madhuram Flourishing
फलितं मधुर Phalitam Madhuram Madhuram Fruit
मधुराधिपतेरखिलं मधुरं Madhurādhipater Akhilam Madhuram Madhuram The Charming Lord Wholly Madhuram


Chaitanya with his disciples, by Abanindranath Tagore


      Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's experiences of

Sri Krishna

  (A Selection)

In the spiritual history of India Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486 AD-1534)is considered to be the incarnation of Sri Krishna, who. The yogic phenomena of this incarnation are extremely enchanting and revelatory of some of incarnation are extremely enchanting and revelatory of some of the secret delights of union with Sri Krishna as aiso the agonies of separation from Sri Krishana. in these phenomena, we have the revelations of the reality of the reality of Radha and her ineffable relationships with Sri Krishana.

      The life of Sri Chaitanya illustrates in a singular manner, various states of Sri Krishna's consciousness, and as one reads Chaitanya Bhagavata, Chaitanya-caritamrta, Sri Krsna Chaitānya Carita Mahā-Kavya, Chaitanya Mangala and



Chaitanya-Candrodaya-nātaka, one finds that Sri Chaitanya lived and breathed innumerable states of Krishna consciousness that used to inundate the entire being and the body of Sri Chaitanya.

      The distinction of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's mark of yoga is its intimacy of relations with Sri Krishna and Radha, all of which are based on the life of Sri Krishna when he was in exile in Brindavan. The greatest significance of that life in Brindavan lies in the special form of the Indian religion of divine love that has developed and flourished through the life of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

      In the next few pages we have given a few extracts from the literature related to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. These extracts are very few but it is hoped that they will lead the reader to the study of that vast literature consisting of Chaitanya-caritamrta and others in order to gain the indescribable sweetness and delight that are so distinctive of Sri Krishna's manifestation in Brindavan.

      It is said that Sri Chaitanya once, in the company of his devotees was dancing in ecstasy, and all those around him were infused with ecstatic love. When he stopped dancing he sat on Vishnu's simhasana in a majestic mood, while his devotees stood around him in great reverence, and then Sri Chaitanya revealed His identity as the Supreme Lord. We give below an extract from the Chaitanya Bhagavata:

Sri Chaitanya said: " I am Krsna, I am Rama, and I am Nārāyana. I am Matsya, I am Kurma, I am Varāha and Vāmana.

I am Buddha, Kalki, Hamsa, and Haladhara. I am Prśnigarbha, I am Hayagrīva, and I am Maheśvara.

I am Nilacala-candra, I am Kapila, and I am Nrsimha. All visible and invisible beings are servants of my lotus feet.



All the Vedas narrate my glories and qualities. Innumerable universes serve my lotus feet.

      I am all-devouring time for everyone other than the devotees. Simply by remembering me, one overcomes all difficulties.

      I delivered Draupadi from being dishonoured, and I protected the five Pandavas from the house of lac.

      I killed Vrkasura and saved Lord Śiva. I delivered my servant Gajendra.

      I delivered Prahlada, and I protected the cowherd residents of Vraja.

      In the past I had the nectar churned from the ocean. I then deceived the demons and protected the demigods.

      I killed Kamsa, who was inimical to my devotees. I annihilated the wicked Rāvana along with his dynasty.

      I lifted Govardhana Hill with My left hand. I chastised the serpent Kāliya.

      I taught the process of tapasya in Satya-Yuga. I incarnated to teach the process of sacrifice in Treta-yuga.

      I incarnated in Dvapara-yuga to teach the process of deity worship. Even the Vedas do not know all my incarnations.

      I have now come to initiate the process of chanting the holy names. For starting the    sahkīrtana movement, devotional service in ecstatic love, have I appeared in this age of Kali.

      All the Vedas and Puranas teach everyone to take my shelter. I always reside in the company of my devotees.

      There is no one dearer to me than my devotees.

      They are my father, mother, friend, son, and brother.

      Although I am free and my actions are also free, it is



Shri Chaitanya under Garuda Stambh, by Nandalal Bose (NGMA)



my nature to be controlled by my devotees. All of you associate with me birth after birth. It is for your sake that I incarnate in this world. Know for certain that I do not leave you to stay elsewhere for even a moment."


*       *

Sri Chaitanya, during the later part of his life, displayed an intense agony of separation from Sri Krishna. In the following extracts from the Chaitanya-caritamrta, he in his state, identified with the consciousness of Radha (when Sri Krishna has left Vrndavana), and who finds the separation unbearable and questions a friend thus:


      "My dear friend, where is Krsna, who is like the moon rising from the ocean of Mahārāja Nanda's dynasty? Where is Krsna, His head decorated with a peacock feather? Where is He? Where is Krsna, whose flute produces such a deep sound? Oh, where is Krsna, whose bodily lustre is like the lustre of the blue indranila jewel? Where is Krsna, who is such an expert in rasa dancing? Oh, where is He, who can save my life? Kindly tell me where to find Krsna, the treasure of my life and best of my friends. Feeling separation from Him, I hereby condemn Providence, the shaper of my destiny."

      "The family of Mahārāja Nanda is just like an ocean of milk, wherein Lord Krsna has arisen like the full moon to illuminate the entire universe. The eyes of the residents of Vraja are like cakora birds that continuously drink the nectar of His bodily lustre and thus live peacefully...

      My dear friend, where is that beautiful crown with a peacock feather upon it like a rainbow upon a new cloud? Where are those yellow garments, shining like lightning? And where is that




      necklace of pearls that resemble flocks of ducks flying in the sky? The blackish body of Krsna triumphs over the new blackish rain cloud.

      If a person's eyes even once capture that beautiful body of Krsna, it remains always prominent within his heart. Krsna's body resembles the sap of the mango tree, for when it enters the minds of women,

      it will not come out, despite great endeavour. Thus Krsna's extraordinary body is like a thorn of the seya tree...

      Alas, alas! O Krsna, where have you gone?"

      Again... "O Providence, you are so unkind! You reveal the beautiful face of Krsna and make the mind and eyes greedy, but after they have drunk that nectar for only a moment, you whisk Krsna away to another place."

      And again in lamentation: "Though the hearts of the gopis are like high-standing hills, they are inundated by the waves of the nectarean ocean of Krsna s beauty. His sweet voice enters their ears and gives them transcendental bliss, the touch of His body is cooler than millions and millions of moons together, and the nectar of His bodily fragrance over floods the entire world. O my dear friend, that Krsna, who is the son of Nanda Mahārāja and whose lips are exactly like nectar, is attracting my five senses by force."

Late one night, Sri Chaitanya, immersed in the ecstatic ocean of Sri Krishna s love, entered a garden and saw Sri Krishna under a tree; as he ran to embrace His Lord, the smiling vision vanished. The intoxicating fragrance of Sri Krishna's body filled the garden. Sri Chaitanya in heightened ecstasy and identified with the consciousness of Radha spoke thus:




Hang on my ears the jewelled ear-rings!

Kangra painting of the Gitagovinda

      (Extract from Chaitanya-caritramrita) "The scent of Sri Krsna's body surpasses the aroma of musk and attracts the minds of all women. The eight lotus-like parts of His body distribute the fragrance of lotuses mixed with that of camphor, sandalwood and aguru. O my dear friend, that Personality of Godhead, also known as the enchanter of Cupid, always increases the desire of my nostrils."

      "My dear friend, the scent of Krsna's body enchants the entire world. It especially enters the nostrils of women and remains seated there. Thus it captures them and forcibly brings them to Krsna."

      "The scent of Krsna's transcendental body is so attractive that it enchants the bodies and minds of all women. It bewilders their nostrils, loosens their belts and hair, and makes them madwomen. All the women of the world come under its influence, and therefore the scent of Krsna's body is like a plunderer.



Place a circle of musk on my forehead!

Kangra painting of the Gitagovinda

      Falling completely under its influence, the nostrils yearn for it continuously, although sometimes they obtain it and sometimes not. When they do they drink their fill, though they still want more and more, but if they don't, out of thirst they die.

      The dramatic actor Madana-mohana has opened a shop of scents that attract the women of the world to be his customers. He delivers the scents freely, but they make the women all so blind they cannot find the path returning home."

Sri Caitanya speaking to his disciple on the irresistible power of Sri Krsna's Flute:

      (Extract from Chaitanya-caritamrita) "The sound of Krsna's flute spreads in the four directions. Even though Krsna vibrates His flute within this universe, its sound pierces the universal covering and goes to Vaikuntha. Thus the vibration enters the



ears of all the inhabitants. It especially enters Goloka Vrndāvan-dhāma and attracts the minds of the young damsels of Vrajab-humi, bringing them forcibly to where Krsna is present.

      The vibration of Krsna's flute is very aggressive, and it breaks the vows of all chaste women. Indeed, its vibration takes them forcibly from the laps of their husbands. The vibration of His flute attracts even the goddesses of fortune in the Vaikun-tha, to say nothing of the poor damsels of Vrndāvana."

      And again... Sri Chaitanya said, The gopis said:] 'My dear lord Krsna, where is that woman within the three worlds who would not be captivated by the rhythms of the sweet songs coming from Your wonderful flute? Who would not deviate from the path of chastity in this way? Your beauty is the most sublime within the three worlds. Upon seeing your beauty, even cows, birds, animals and trees in the forest are stunned in jubilation.

      When You play your flute, the vibration acts like a messenger in the form of a yogini perfect in the art of chanting mantras. This messenger enchants all the women in the universe and attracts them to You. Then she increases their great anxiety and induces them to give up the principle of obeying superiors. Finally, she forcibly brings them to You to surrender in amorous love.

      The vibration of Your flute, accompanied by your glance, which pierces us forcibly with the arrows of lust, induces us to ignore the regulative principles of religious life. Thus we become excited and come to you, giving up all shame and fear. But now you are angry with us. You are finding fault with our violating religious principles and leaving our homes and husbands. And as you instruct us about religious principles, we become helpless.'"

Identifying with Radha's consciousness Sri Chaitanya recited a verse spoken by Radha. Explaining it he spoke the following:



(Extract from Chaitanya-caritamrta) "Krsna's deep voice is more resonant than newly arrived clouds, and His sweet song defeats even the sweet voice of the cuckoo. Indeed, His song is so sweet that even one particle of its sound can inundate the entire world. If such a particle enters one's ear, one is immediately bereft of all other types of hearing.

      My dear friend, please tell me what to do. My ears have been plundered by the qualities of Krsna's sound. Now, however, I cannot hear His transcendental sound, and I am almost dead for want of it.

      Krsna's speech is far sweeter than nectar... One particle of that transcendental, blissful nectar is the life and soul of the ear, which is like a cakora bird that lives in hope of tasting that nectar. Sometimes by good fortune, the bird can taste it, but at other times he unfortunately cannot and therefore almost dies of thirst."

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu fully identified with Radha's mood of separation upon seeing Krishna at Kurukshetra. In Radha-bhava, Mahaprabhu addressed the gopis:

      (Extract from Chaitanya-caritamrta) "My dear friends, where is that Krsna, Cupid personified, who has the effulgence of a kadamba flower, who is sweetness itself, the nectar of my eyes and mind. He who loosens the hair of the gopis, who is the supreme source of transcendental bliss and my life and soul? Has He come before my eyes again?

      "Is Cupid personified present with the effulgence and reflection of the kadamba tree? Is He the same person, personified sweetness, who is the pleasure of my eyes and mind, who is my life and soul? Has Krsna actually come before my eyes?

Sri Chaitanya while dancing at the annual Ratha-yatra was filled



Radhika, by Chughtai (NGMA)



Krishna and Radha, by Chughtai (NGMA)



with the ecstasy of Radha meeting Shyama at Kurukshetra, and revealed his heart before Sri Jagannatha as follows:

      (Extract from Chaitanya-caritamrta) "The very personality who stole away my heart during my youth is now again my master. These are the same moonlit nights of the month of Caitra. The same fragrance of mālatī flowers is there, and the same sweet breezes are blowing from the kadamba forest. In our intimate relationship, I am also the same lover, yet my mind is not happy here. I am eager to go back to that place on the bank of the Revā under the Vetasi tree. That is my desire.

      You are the same Krsna, and I am the same Rādhārāni. We are meeting again in the same way that we met in the beginning of our lives. Although we are both the same, my mind is still attracted to Vrndavana-dhama. I wish that You will please again appear with your lotus feet in Vrndavana.

      In Kurukshetra there are crowds of people, elephants and horses, and also the rattling of chariots. But in Vrndāvana there are flower gardens, and the humming of bees and chirping of the birds can be heard.

      Here at Kurukshetra You are dressed like a royal prince, accompanied by great warriors, but in Vrndāvana You appeared just like an ordinary cowherd boy, accompanied only by your flute."....

At the Rath-yatra, after identifying with Radha meeting Sri Krishna at Kurukshetra, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would play the part of Sri Krishna pacifying Radha:

      (Extract from Chaitanya-caritamrta) Sri Chaitanya said [in Krishna-bhava] "All the inhabitants of Vrndavana-dhama — My mother, father, cowherd friends and everything else — are like my life and soul. And among all the inhabitants of Vrndavana, the gopis are my very life and soul. And among the gopis, you Śrimati Rādhārāni, are the chief. Therefore you are the very life of my life.



 "You are my most dear, and I know that in my absence you cannot live for a moment. Just to keep you living, I worship Lord Nārāyana. By His merciful potency, I come to Vrndāvana everyday to enjoy pastimes with you. I then return to Dvārakā-dhāma. Thus you can always feel my presence there in Vrndāvana."





Krishna and Radha in a grove




      Sri Ramakishna's pilgrimage to Brindavan*

One can find parallels between Sri Ramakrishna's pilgrimage to Brindavan (1868), and that of Sri Caitanya (1515). Both these visits had their own importance. Sri Caitanya's pilgrimage resulted in the resurrection of the dead pilgrimage centres of Brindavan and Mathura. Through his spiritual experiences, Sri Caitanya discovered some of the lost sites associated with Sri Krishna, and authenticated some of the episodes recorded in the Bhagavata Purana.

      Sri Ramakrishna (1836-1886) corroborated Sri Caitanya's discovery of Brindavan and the restoration made by the Goswa-mis. In this way, Sri Ramakrishna's pilgrimage turned into an exploration that resulted in a renewed interest in the spirit of holy Brindavan. Sparks of supreme love of God, which were almost always manifesting in Sri Ramakrishna, recharged the devotees' beliefs in the glories of Brindavan.

      Sri Ramakrishna visited Mathura on his way to Brindavan. According to Sri Ramakrishna's biographer Akshay Kumar Sen, the Master had a vivid vision at Mathura of Vasudeva, Krishna's father, crossing the Yamuna River through a storm at night, carrying the newborn child. Later Sri Ramkrishna reminisced, "The moment I came to the Dhruva Ghat [a place for bathing in the Yamuna where Vasudeva had crossed the river] at Mathura, in a flash I saw Vasudeva crossing the Jamuna with Krishna in his arms." So deep was his ecstasy then that Sri Ramakrishna had to be carried in a palanquin to Brindavan, and it was a few hours before he came down to the normal plane of consciousness.


* Adapted from Journeys with Ramakrishna by Swami Pradhananda.



Sri Ramakrishna experienced a special manifestation of divine presence at Brindavan. Praising the spiritual atmosphere there, he once told a devotee: "Did you observe the single-minded love of the gopis for Krishna? The ideal of Brindavan is unique." One such ideal is the traditional belief, popularised by Saint Mira, that in Brindavan Sri Krishna is the only male and everyone else there is his handmaid. Sri Ramakrishna himself endorsed this view.

      Sri Ramakrishna was in an elevated state of consciousness during the entire period of his stay in Brindavan, as was the case with Sri Caitanya. Referring to Sri Caitanya's spiritual state, Sri Ramakrishna once observed: "So intense is one's love of God that one becomes unconscious of outer things. Caitanya had this ecstatic love; he 'took a wood for the sacred grove of Brindavan and the ocean for the dark waters of the Jamuna.'" Sri Ramakrishna lovingly cherished the memory of Sri Caitanya's ecstatic love all through.

      Sri Ramakrishna also experienced similar ecstatic moods at Brindavan. By way of illustration we can recall an episode recounted by Sri Ramakrishna himself. He said: "When my father chanted the name of Raghuvira, his chest would turn crimson. This also happened to me. When I saw the cows at Brindavan returning from the pasture, I was transported into a divine mood and my body became red." So enamoured did he become of the holy atmosphere of Brindavan that he thought of spending the rest of his life there. But ultimately he returned to Calcutta.

      During his stay at Brindavan, Sri Ramakrishna decided to visit Syamakunda, Radhakunda, and Giri Govardhan. As Sri Ramakrishna described it: "I went to Syamakunda and Radhakunda in a palanquin and got out to visit the holy Mount Govardhan. At the very sight of the mount I was overpowered with divine emotion and ran to the top. I lost all consciousness of the world around me. The residents of the place helped me to come down." At another time he said: "On my way to the sacred pools of Syamakunda and Radhakunda, when I saw the






The exchange of clothes (Kangra ). The blue complexioned Krishna is seen

wearing the clothes of Radha while she is seen wearing a yellow costume.



meadows, the trees, the shrubs, the birds, and the deer, I was overcome with ecstasy. My clothes became wet with tears. I said: 'O Krishna! Everything here is as it was in the olden days. You alone are absent.' Seated inside the palanquin I lost all power of speech."

      It appears that Sri Ramakrishna's pilgrimage to Brindavan rekindled the flame of divine love lighted by Sri Caitanya 353 years earlier. Its import becomes quite significant when we recall Sri Ramakrishna's startling statement recorded by Harip-rasanna Chattopadhyaya (later, Swami Vijnanananda). One day Sri Ramakrishna said to him, "As Sri Krishna, I enacted the divine drama of love with the milkmaids and shepherds."

      M. heard Sri Ramakrishna say: "But one undoubtedly finds inspiration in a holy place. I accompanied Mathur Babu to Brindavan. Hriday and the ladies of Mathur's family were in our party. No sooner did I see the Kaliyadaman Ghat than a divine emotion surged up within me. I was completely overwhelmed. Hriday used to bathe me there as if I was a child."

      His biographer Swami Saradananda, who had an eye for detail, wrote: "When he [Sri Ramakrishna] saw cowherd boys returning from pastures and crossing the Yamuna with herds of cattle at sunset, he became filled with spiritual emotion, inasmuch as among them, he had the vision of the cowherd Krishna, dark-blue like a newly formed cloud and bedecked with the feathers of a peacock's tail on his head. At such times his soul soared into the realm of divine consciousness, his body remained motionless, and his breathing almost ceased. People nearby were amazed at the change in his appearance."

      In a letter dated 26 December 1895, Swami Premananda, who collected material from Hridayram as well as from old residents of Brindavan, wrote: While at Brindavan he passed his days almost in a constant state of ecstasy, and he could hardly walk. He had to be carried in a palanquin with the doors open on both sides so that he could see everything. At times holy thoughts would overwhelm him so much that he would try



to jump out, and Hriday would hold him back with difficulty. Hri-day usually walked with the palanquin bearers."

      On 16 October 1882, Sri Ramakrishna reminisced: "In the dusk I would walk on the bank of the Jamuna when the cattle returned along the sandy banks from their pastures. At the very sight of those cows the thought of Krishna would flash in my mind. I would run along like a madman, crying: "Oh, where is Krishna? Where is my Krishna?"

      And on another occasion he gave further details: "One evening I was taking a stroll on the bank of the river. There were small thatched huts on the bank and big plum trees. It was the 'cow-dust' hour. The cows were returning from the pasture, raising dust with their hoofs. I saw them fording the river. Then came some cowherd boys crossing the river with their cows. No sooner did I behold this scene than I cried out, 'O Krishna, where are you?' and became unconscious."

      Sri Krishna's divine love for the gopis of Brindavan was a theme that always appealed to him and would throw him into ecstatic moods. As Sri Caitanya assumed the role of Radha and manifested her deep longing to be united with Krishna, Sri Ramakrishna too worshipped his beloved Krishna, looking on himself as one of the gopis or as God's handmaid.

      That the pilgrimage to Brindavan left its mark on the saint's life is evident from some later incidents. One or two may be mentioned by way of illustration. One of them happened in 1879, when he was a guest of a Vaishnava priest, Natavar Goswami. Recalling it later, Sri Ramakrishna said: "Once at Syambazar, they arranged a kirtan at Natvar Goswami's house. There I had a vision of Krishna and the gopis of Brindavan. I felt that my subtle body was walking at Krishna's heels." Concerning another incident, Sri Ramakrishna said: "Once at Sihore, I fed the cowherd boys. I put sweetmeats into their hands. I saw that these boys were actually the cowherd boys of Brindavan, and I partook of the sweetmeats from their hands." These incidents show how much the glory of Brindavan had filled the



saint's mind.

      But more importantly, his mind had become saturated, as it were, with ecstatic love for Radha and Krishna. This love used to well up occasionally from his heart, reminding the devotees of the spiritual zeal of the gopis. One day Sri Ramakrishna's nephew Ramlal sang a song describing the pangs of the gopis on being separated from their beloved Krishna:                 

Hold not, hold not the chariot's wheels!

Is it the wheels that make it move?

 The Mover of its wheels is Krishna,

 By whose will the worlds are moved....

      "The Master went into deep samadhi. His body was motionless; he sat with folded hands as in his photograph. Tears of joy flowed from the corners of his eyes. After a long time his mind came down to the ordinary plane of consciousness. He mumbled something, of which the devotees in the room could hear only a word now and then. He was saying, 'Thou art I, and I am Thou — Thou eatest — Thou — I eat! ...' Continuing, the Master said: 'I see everything like a man with jaundiced eyes! I see Thee alone everywhere. O Krishna, friend of the lowly! O Eternal Consort of my soul! O Govinda!' Again he went into samadhi, and the eyes of all the devotees were riveted on his beaming face. They saw Krishna, the King of Brindavan, before them."*



    *Vide The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna translated by Swami Nikhilananda.



Drawing: Aran Nicolet


Back to Content