The Vrajvasis leave Gokula*
One day, most handsome Śrī Krsna said to his brother, Balarāma, "My dear brother, I think it is not good to play in this forest any more. We, the cowherd boys, have spoiled the beauty of this forest by using it recklessly. There is no more grass left for the cows, and no more dry wood for cooking. Each and every tree in this forest has been used to its fullest extent. The density of the forest now appears thin, like the sky. We no longer find any pleasure while looking at the forest. There were many beautiful trees in and around the cowshed, the gates of which have round locks. But those trees are no more, because the forest fire burned them. Formerly, there was an abundance of grass and wood at our doorsteps, but now, we have to look for them in distant places.
There is very little water left in this forest, and very little grass and wood. Therefore, it is not wise to stay here any longer. One has to search for a place here to rest. Only a few trees remain and so, the situation appears quite pathetic. These trees no longer produce flowers and fruit, like before. Even the birds that lived in these trees have all flown elsewhere. Besides, the inhabitants of this place have cut down many trees in this forest.
There is no happiness here anymore. We can hardly relish any fruit and even the air appears stale. This forest, devoid of birds, does not give us any delight, just as rice without any vegetable preparations does not give one the happiness of eating. The wood and green leafy vegetables of this forest are being sold for earning a livelihood. There is a scarcity of green grass here. This forest now looks like the residential area of the cowherd men. Pasturing fields are the ornaments of a mountain,
* Adapted from Harivarhśa Purāna.
forests are the ornaments of pasturing fields, and cows are the ornaments of a forest. Therefore, it is actually the cows that are our greatest assets. Therefore, we should go to a new forest where there is an abundance of green grass and fuel. Our cows are desperately looking for new pasturing grounds.
Those who actually desire happiness should leave this place and go to a forest where everything is available, where the area is secure, where there are good residential quarters, where there is enough land for farming and, where only good people reside. We should move about freely and reside at different places, like swans. When cow dung and cow urine are dropped in the field, they act as fertilizer and help produce more grass. However, the cows do not eat such grass with great satisfaction and as such, the milk produced by eating this grass is not very beneficial. Nowadays, all the solitary paths in this forest have become crowded. There is no trace of green grass here. Therefore, let us all go with the cows to new pasturing grounds and forests. We should immediately change our place of residence, settling somewhere else.
I have heard that there is a beautiful forest called Vrndāvana. That place has abundant green grass. The trees there produce sweet, juicy fruit, and the water there is very tasty. There are no thorny bushes in that forest. Moreover, it has all the necessary things that a suitable forest should possess. There are plenty of kadamba trees in that forest, and it is situated on the bank of the river Yamunā. There is always a cool breeze blowing in that forest. Indeed, all the seasons are always present there simultaneously. For this reason, it is very beautiful and pleasant. The cowherd girls can roam freely there. Within that forest of Vrndāvana, there are many small forests and gardens. There is a great mountain by the name of Govardhana, which is not very far from Vrndāvana. It has many tall peaks. As the Mandarācala mountain looks enchanting by the side of Nandanavana, Govardhana mountain looks splendid by the side of Vrndāvana In the middle of that forest there is a huge bhāndīra tree that is
lovely to look at, with its many branches and sub-branches. The height of that tree is about eight miles. It is actually a banyan tree and it appears very beautiful, like an evening cloud. The best of rivers, Nalinī, flows in the midst of the Nandanavana forest, just as the beautiful river, Kālindī, flows in the middle of Vrndāvana. If we go there, we will certainly enjoy the beauty of Govardhana Hill, Bhāndīra-vata, and the Kālindī river. Let us move to that place."...
When Nanda Mahārāja understood the intention of the Vrajavāsīs to go to Vrndāvana and their firm determination to reside there, which would be beneficial for both the cowherd residents and cows of Vraja, he spoke these words of wisdom, just like Brhaspasti. "If we have decided to go; and are ready then we should leave this place today. Make this announcement all over Gokula, so that everyone can get ready to depart quickly, without any further delay."
Immediately, an announcement was flashed all over Gokula: "Quickly prepare to leave. Get your cows and household items together. Place your belongings on the bullock carts. Gather all your calves, mount your carts, and proceed to Vrndāvana. "As soon as the inhabitants of Gokula heard this announcement of Nanda Mahārāja, they became very excited and quickly began preparations to depart. When the Vrajāva sis were preparing to leave, a commotion could be heard as people shouted: "0 you, let us go. Get up we are all going now. Why are you sleeping? Go and mount the bullock cart."
When all bullock carts, other vehicles, and residents of Vraja began moving, a huge commotion was heard. The loud noise appeared just like the roaring of tigers, or the rumbling of the ocean. The gopis of Vraja followed the carts in rows, with pitchers of butter milk or milk on their heads. It appeared as if a cluster of stars had come down to the earth. Their blue, yellow, and red garments nicely covered their raised breasts. When the gopis, who were dressed in colorful garments, walked, they appeared just like a rainbow. Some of the cowherd men walked
Nanda and his kinsmen camping on a river bank
carrying luggage tied with ropes. These ropes were hung about their bodies. As a result, they looked just like banyan trees with fibrous roots. The beauty of this moving entourage consisting of bullock carts and other vehicles appeared just like a vast ocean containing innumerable ships, moving by the force of the wind. Within a very short time, Gokula became vacant, appearing like barren land. Soon, the whole area became filled with crows because there were particles of food grains scattered here and there.