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Mādhurya Upāsanā: Where Krishna is not Omniscient


[Words used in this article:

Prakat Lila = earthly pastimes of God when He descends to the material world (Prakat means manifest)

Aprakat Lila = pastimes of eternal Goloka Dham which is unseen by worldly people (Aprakat means unmanifest)

Mugdha = A state in which Krishna and Radha are ignorant of Their omniscience

Sarvagya = omniscient]

God’s pastimes are eternal, transcendental, ever-blissful, and untouched by Maya and its Gunas (modes of material nature). There is no pleasurable treasure in this material world that can compare to anything belonging to the transcendental abode of God. But for the sake of understanding, various pure devotees have explained the pastimes of God with examples from the material world. God is said to engage in pastimes with His pure devotees like an ordinary man. In the eternal pastimes of Goloka Dham, He is eternally Mugdha. He is not Sarvagya (omniscient). In abodes like Vaikuntha, Sada Shiva Loka, etc, God is Sarvagya. There are infinite forms of God in infinite divine abodes. Who can say how many forms and abodes He resides in? Even the Vedas and the scriptures are unable to completely describe all His forms, qualities and His divine abodes.

But the pure Mādhurya form of God resides only in Goloka Dham, which is the centre of our Rāgānugā Bhakti path. And in this Goloka Dham, Krishna is Mugdha. He is veiled by Yogamāyā and engages in the eternal pastimes of Goloka Dham with His pure and eternal devotees like an ordinary boy of Gopas (cow-herding community). He gives nectarine bliss to His beloved devotees and also receives nectarine bliss through their loving devotion. One may ask, is there any lack of bliss in the ever-blissful Krishna? How can someone please God who is already self-satisfied and ever-blissful? God is “Asamaurdhva Ānanda Sindhu”, meaning, Asama = nobody is equal to Him, Urdhva = nobody is greater than Him, and Ānanda Sindhu = ocean of bliss. Then how can it be said that He receives bliss from His devotees?

When someone boils milk, it rises and spills over. It does not mean the milk has increased, but it only rises. Similarly, although Krishna is an ocean of bliss, when He engages in loving pastimes with His devotees, the ocean of bliss swells up. This is the sweetness of Vraja's pastimes.

There are three kinds of divine Vrindavan Dham: Drishymana Vrindavan, Prakat Vrindavan and Aprakat Vrindavan. Drishyamāna means the Vrindavan (or Vraja) Dham that we see with the material eyes. The houses, trees, people, animals, etc do not seem to be different from those outside the Vraja Dham. The people of Vraja also seem as ordinary as worldly people living outside Vraja. Sometimes we see them engaging in dishonesty and wickedness too. They seem to be servants of the six enemies of the mind just like worldly people. The only difference we find here is that many Sadhus live in Vraja Dham and the dust of the lotus feet of Radha Krishna and Gopis still exists everywhere in this Vraja Dham seen by mundane eyes. Due to this, we reside or visit the Vraja Dham with respect and yearn for its association.

But the truth is that due to the influence of Kaliyuga, Yogamāyā Devi has veiled the divine form of Vraja Dham. When a sadhak’s heart is cleansed by the Mādhurya Upasana, he can see the divine form of this very Vraja Dham where we reside. He doesn’t have to go to Goloka Dham to see the pastimes of Radha Krishna. He is able to see the pastimes of Radha Krishna in this earthly Vraja Dham itself. [When Krishna performs His pastimes in Dvapara Yuga, this Drishyamāna Vrindavan becomes Prakat Vrindavan as Yogamāyā unveils the true form of Vrindavan Dham at that time.]

This earthly Vrindavan is as divine as the eternal Goloka Dham. However, the ordinary person does not have the eligibility to witness the divine pastimes of Radha Krishna with his mundane eyes. But when a sadhak of the Bhakti path becomes eligible to witness it, his mundane eyes become Prema Netra (eyes of love) by the mercy of Radharani. Then, he is able to witness the divine and nectarine pastimes of Radha Krishna in this Drishyamāna Vraja Dham.

Brahmāṇḍe prakāśa tāra Krishera icchāya,
eka-i svarūpa tāra, nāhi dui kāya.

Chintāmai-bhūmi, kalpa-vka-maya vana,
e dekhe tāre prapañcera sama.

Prema-netre dekhe tāra svarūpa-prakāśa,
ge yāhā Krishera vilāsa.”

(Chaitanya Charitamrita Adi 5.19-21)

Meaning: That abode is manifested within the material world by the will of Lord Krishna. It is identical to the original Gokula; they are not two different bodies. The land there is like a touchstone [cintāmai] that fulfils one’s desires, and the forests abound with desire trees. Material eyes see it as an ordinary place. But with the eyes of the love of Godhead, one can see its real identity as the place where Lord Krishna performs His pastimes with the cowherd boys and cowherd girls.

Then there is Prakat Vrindavan which appears at the time of Krishna’s appearance in the Dvapara yuga. Krishna incarnates along with His eternal devotee associates on this earth and engages in divine pastimes as mentioned in Srimad Bhagavatam. The pastimes performed at that time are called Prakat Lila. These pastimes are variable and not constant, which is to say that in the Prakat Lila, Krishna takes birth like a human child, grows up gradually and performs His pastimes according to His age (for example, He relishes the pleasures of a small child in His childhood and the pleasures of a young boy in his youth, etc). The enjoyment of His devotees’ love and care for Him is different with every age. When He is just born, the joy of mother Yashoda, Nanda Baba and all the residents of Vraja is indescribable. When He grows up a little and starts crawling on the floor, devotees of Vatsalya Bhava (parent-child mood) get immense pleasure from His pastimes. When He grows up some more, He plays with His friends and gives pleasure to all with His naughty pastimes like stealing butter from Gopis’ homes. When He grows up to become an eleven year old young boy, He performs His pastimes of conjugal love with the young girls of Vraja. In this way, according to His age, He relishes different kinds of pastimes at different times. In this Prakat Lila, Krishna can become Sarvagya at the time of killing demons, killing Kamsa or Dvarika pastimes, etc. (This will be further explained in the next article).

But Nitya or Aprakat Lila (which is eternally happening in Aprakat Vrindavan) is constant. In eternal Goloka Dham, Krishna and Radha are eternally situated at the age of Kishore and Kishori (Krishna is 15 years old and Radharani is 14 years old).

In Prakat Lila, Krishna performs many pastimes which are not performed in Aprakat Lila like killing demons, going to Mathura, establishing Dvarika and performing Aishwarya Rasa pastimes in Dvarika. In Aprakat Lila, Krishna never leaves Vraja Dham. He doesn’t go to Mathura to kill Kamsa. Dvarika pastimes are also eternal but they exist in a separate abode called eternal Dvarika Dham as a part of Vaikuntha. But in Aprakat Vrindavan Dham, Radha and Krishna only engage in eternal pastimes with Their devotee associates of Mādhurya Rasa.

In Aprakat Lila, Krishna is always Mugdha. Just like an ordinary person doesn’t know anything about the past, present and future, Krishna too doesn’t know anything about the past, present and future. He is veiled by His internal potency Yogamāyā and doesn’t know how a pastime is going to unfold or what is going to happen in the future. He is also not aware of what is happening at another place in Vraja. In this way, He can relish the mysterious and immensely pleasurable pastimes of Vraja Dham.

Although God is Sarvagya, He gets veiled by His internal potency by His own will. Otherwise, He cannot relish the pastimes of Mādhurya Rasa. For example, when Radharani is angry with Krishna (Mana Lila) for not coming to the Kunja as agreed in the morning, She doesn’t know where Krishna is or why He couldn’t come as agreed. Without being Mugdha, that is, if She knows where Krishna is and why He couldn’t come, She will never get angry with Krishna and the sweetness of pacifying the angry Radharani and the consequent higher taste of Their meeting after reconciliation cannot be relished by Them. [Radharani is non-different from Krishna and She is His pleasure potency. If She wants, She can become Sarvagya and know where Krishna is. But being Sarvagya will cause the end of Mādhurya Rasa pastimes. Omniscience is a part of Aishwarya Rasa and has no right to enter the Mādhurya Rasa pastimes.]

Let us take another pastime as an example. Under the full moon of the divine Vrindavan Dham, Radha and Krishna met in a certain divine Kunja along with the eight prime Sakhis (female friends) of Radharani. The Sakhis blindfolded Krishna’s eyes and told Him to find Radharani and each one of the Sakhis while they hid in the Kunja. They told Krishna that if He could not identify each of Them, He would lose the round and have to be blindfolded again in the next round. This is an Ānanda Lila. A playful pastime of Radha Krishna along with Their Sakhis. Such pastimes give immense pleasure to Them and bring a wave of pleasure in the ocean of pleasure of Vraja pastimes.

The Kunjas of divine Vrindavan Dham are infinite and always new. When Radha and Krishna wander through the Kunjas, another Kunja appears after a little bend at the end of one Kunja. It seems to Them that They had never seen such a Kunja before with its new formation (as if created by a skilled gardener), flowers of unprecedented beauty and fragrance, trees and vines that had never been seen before, and a Nikunja Mandir in the interior part of the Kunja as if created to fulfil Their needs of performing Their intimate pastimes in every way. Radha and Krishna like to wander through the Vrindavan forest to see its natural beauty and every time it seems to Them that They have never been to this part of the Vrindavan forest before. Yogamāyā Devi is responsible to give pleasure to Radha and Krishna in this way. She continuously creates new Kunjas and new pastimes. She controls how a pastime unfolds. A pastime that Radha and Krishna relished today will not be repeated tomorrow. Tomorrow They will relish a different pastime. Every day They will relish a different and new pastime. In this way, Yogamāyā Devi drowns Radha Krishna and Their devotee associates in the nectarine pleasure of Mādhurya Rasa pastimes.

The sun and moon of divine Vrindavan is not the same as the mundane sun and moon. Their light is transcendental. They are indescribably beautiful and their effulgence is very sweet. The sight of the full moon in the sky of divine Vrindavan Dham gives immense pleasure to Radha Krishna and Their devotee associates. Under such a full moon, Sakhis blindfolded Krishna and told Him to find them when they would signal Him with a “Ku” sound. So, Radharani and Sakhis hid themselves in the infinite bushes and vines of the Kunja and made a “Ku” sound. Then, Krishna removed His blindfold and started searching for Radharani and the Sakhis. The vines and bushes of the Vrindavan forest are so exquisitely beautiful that one cannot describe their beauty in thousands of years. So, one cannot tell whether a Sakhi wearing an ornate drape is hidden behind the blooming flowers. On top of that, to confuse Krishna, the clever Sakhis interchanged their drapes which were of different colours. Then, they would show a little of their drape and suddenly run from one bush to another. As a result, when Krishna thinks He has seen the yellow drape of Lalita and catches the Sakhi saying, “I have caught Lalita!”, He finds that it is actually Champaklata! “Huh, Krishna, you don’t know how to play! You cannot even identify I am Champaklata!” she says mockingly to Krishna. Similarly, when he thinks it is Vishakha, it is actually Indulekha! Krishna became bewildered and could not understand how to identify them.

In this way, they engage in the nectarine pastimes of Vrindavan Dham. If one thinks that Krishna is Sarvagya and this is only an act or a drama, it will be impossible for Krishna to enjoy such pastimes. In Bhagavat Geeta, Krishna has given hints about His divine pastimes:

Nāha prakāśha sarvasya yoga-māyā-samāvita,
ho ’ya nābhijānāti loko mām ajam avyayam.”

(Bhagavat Geeta 7.25)

Meaning: I do not reveal myself to everyone, being veiled by My divine Yogamāyā energy. Hence, those without knowledge do not know that I am without birth and changeless.

Now, Krishna thinks that He has lost to the Sakhis. But there is still Radharani to be found out. The vines and bushes (and trees) are all Sakhis of Radha and Krishna. They are not devoid of intelligence like those in the mundane world. They are divine and take the form of creepers and bushes to help in the pastimes of Radha and Krishna. And just like the other Sakhis, some of them favour Krishna, some favour Radharani, some favour both of Them equally and some are even antagonistic towards Radharani. All such sentiments exist only to increase the Rasa of the pastimes.

Krishna approached one such vine who favoured Him and caressed her with His lotus hands. He held her against His cheeks and kissed her. “Please tell me, Sakhi, where is Radharani hidden?” he whispered to the vine. The Sakhi in the form of a vine was engulfed in an ocean of immense joy! She immediately threw one of her vine branches in the direction where Radharani was hidden. Krishna followed the direction until He could find Radharani hiding behind a bush.

Radharani became very angry! “I will not play! I will not play at all!” said Radharani, angrily. “Who has told him I am hiding here?” All the eight Sakhis gathered around Radharani and said that they could never tell Krishna about Her whereabouts. “Krishna is not clever enough to find me! Someone must have told him. He is a cowherd boy and knows only to take his cows to graze. How can he find me? Tell me who told him?” said Radharani. Suddenly her gaze fell on the fallen vine pointing to the direction She was hiding. She immediately understood who the culprit was. She went to the vine and twisted and furled the vine in anger. “You told him! You are the culprit! Never do this again or I will be very angry!” said Radharani to her. The vine was overjoyed to receive the touch of Radharani.

Such are the Achintya (incomprehensible by mundane intelligence) and infinite nectarine pastimes of the divine Vrindavan Dham. The pastimes described by the Rasika Acharyas are only a guide to enable the sadhak to contemplate Radha and Krishna’s pastimes. The descriptions of Kunjas and attires of Sakhis are also only a guide for contemplation. But the pastimes of eternal Goloka Dham are infinite and always new. The ordinary sadhak cannot understand them and much less contemplate them. Therefore, we only follow the directions given by Rasika Acharyas and contemplate accordingly until the heart is cleansed enough to have glimpses of divine Vrindavan Dham in the state of Sphurti (divine revelation).


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