45. Uddhava Visits Vrndavana

45 / Uddhava Visits Våndävana
Nanda Mahäräja returned to Våndävana without Kåñëa and Balaräma. He was accompanied only by the cowherd boys and men. It was certainly a very pathetic scene for the gopés, mother Yaçodä, Çrématé Rädhäräëé and all the inhabitants and residents of Våndävana. Many devotees have tried to make adjustments to Kåñëa's being away from Våndävana because according to expert opinion, Kåñëa, the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, never goes even a step out of Våndävana. He always remains there. The explanation of expert devotees is that Kåñëa was actually not absent from Våndävana; He came back with Nanda Mahäräja as promised.
When He was going to Mathurä on the chariot driven by Akrüra and the gopés were practically blocking the way, Kåñëa assured them that He was coming back just after finishing His business in Mathurä. He told them not to be overwhelmed, and in this way He pacified them. But when He did not come back with Nanda Mahäräja, it appeared that He either cheated them or could not keep His promise. Expert devotees, however, have decided that Kåñëa was neither a cheater nor a breaker of promises. Kåñëa, in His original identity, returned with Nanda Mahäräja and stayed with the gopés and mother Yaçodä in His bhava expansion. Kåñëa and Balaräma remained in Mathurä, not in Their original forms, but in Their expansions as Väsudeva and Saìkarñaëa. The real Kåñëa and Balaräma were in Våndävana in Their bhava manifestation, whereas in Mathurä They appeared in the prabhava and vaibhava expansions. This is the expert opinion of advanced devotees of Kåñëa. But when Nanda Mahäräja was preparing to return to Våndävana, there was discussion among him, Kåñëa and Balaräma as to how the boys could live in separation from Nanda. The conclusion to separate was reached by mutual agreement.
Vasudeva and Devaké happened to be Kåñëa and Balaräma's real parents. They wanted to keep Them now because of the death of Kaàsa. While Kaàsa was alive, They were kept under the protection of Nanda Mahäräja in Våndävana. Now, naturally, the father and mother of Kåñëa and Balaräma wanted Them to remain with them, specifically for the reformatory function of purification, the sacred thread ceremony. They also wanted to give Them a proper education, for this is the duty of the father. Another consideration was that all the friends of Kaàsa outside Mathurä were planning to attack Mathurä. For that reason also Kåñëa's presence was required. Kåñëa did not want Våndävana to be disturbed by enemies like Dantavakra and Jaräsandha. If Kåñëa were to go to Våndävana, these enemies would not only attack Mathurä, but would go on to Våndävana, and the peaceful inhabitants of Våndävana would be disturbed. Kåñëa therefore decided to remain in Mathurä, and Nanda Mahäräja went back to Våndävana. Although the inhabitants of Våndävana were feeling separation from Kåñëa, Kåñëa was always present with them by His lélä, or pastimes, and this made them ecstatic.
Since Kåñëa had departed from Våndävana to Mathurä, the inhabitants of Våndävana, especially mother Yaçodä, Nanda Mahäräja, Çrématé Rädhäräëé, the gopés and the cowherd boys, were simply thinking of Kåñëa at every step. They were thinking, "Kåñëa was playing in this way. Kåñëa was blowing His flute. Kåñëa was joking with us, and Kåñëa was embracing us." This is called lélä-smaraëa, and it is the process of association with Kåñëa most recommended by great devotees; even Lord Caitanya enjoyed lélä-smaraëa association with Kåñëa when He was at Puré. Those who are in the most exalted position of devotional service and ecstasy can live with Kåñëa always by remembering His pastimes. Çréla Viçvanätha Cakravarté –häkur has given us a transcendental literature entitled Kåñëa-bhävanamåtä, which is full with Kåñëa's pastimes. Devotees can remain absorbed in Kåñëa-thought by reading such books. Any book of Kåñëa-lélä, even this book, Kåñëa, and our Teachings of Lord Caitanya, is actually solace for devotees who are feeling the separation of Kåñëa.
That Kåñëa and Balaräma did not come to Våndävana can be adjusted as follows: They did not break Their promise to return to Våndävana, nor were They absent, but Their presence was necessary in Mathurä.
In the meantime, Uddhava, a cousin-brother of Kåñëa, came to see Kåñëa from Dvärakä. He was the son of Vasudeva's brother and was almost the same age as Kåñëa. His bodily features resembled Kåñëa's almost exactly. After returning from His teacher's home, Kåñëa was pleased to see Uddhava, who happened to be His dearmost friend. He wanted to send him to Våndävana with a message to the residents to pacify their deep feeling of separation.
As stated in the Bhagavad-gétä, ye yathä mäà prapadyante: Kåñëa is very responsive. He responds in proportion to the devotee's advancement in devotional service. The gopés were thinking of Kåñëa in separation twenty-four hours a day. Kåñëa was also always thinking of the gopés, mother Yaçodä, Nanda Mahäräja and the residents of Våndävana, although He appeared to be away from them. He could understand how they were transcendentally aggrieved, and so He immediately wanted to send Uddhava to give them a message of solace.
Uddhava is described as the most exalted personality in the Våñëi dynasty, almost equal to Kåñëa. He was a great friend, and on account of being the direct student of Båhaspati, the teacher and priest of the heavenly planets, he was very intelligent and sharp in decision. From the intellectual standpoint, he was highly qualified. Kåñëa, being a very loving friend of Uddhava, wanted to send him to Våndävana just to study the highly elevated ecstatic devotional service practiced there. Even if one is highly elevated in material education and is even the disciple of Båhaspati, he still has to learn from the gopés and the residents of Våndävana how to love Kåñëa to the highest degree. Sending Uddhava to Våndävana with a message to the residents of Våndävana to pacify them was Kåñëa's special favor to Uddhava.
Lord Kåñëa's name is Hari, which means one who takes away all the distress from the surrendered souls. Lord Caitanya states that there cannot be, at any time, a worship as exalted as that realized by the gopés. Being very anxious about the gopés' grief, Kåñëa talked with Uddhava and politely requested him to go to Våndävana. Shaking Uddhava's hand with His own hands, He said, "My dear gentle friend Uddhava, please go immediately to Våndävana and try to pacify My father and mother, Nanda Mahäräja and Yaçodädevi, and the gopés. They are very much griefstricken, as if suffering from great ailments. Go and give them a message. I hope their ailments will be partially relieved. The gopés are always absorbed in thoughts of Me. They have dedicated body, desire, life and soul to Me. I am anxious not only for the gopés, but for anyone who sacrifices society, friendship, love and personal comforts for Me. It is My duty to protect such exalted devotees. The gopés are the most dear. They are always thinking of Me in such a way that they remain overwhelmed and almost dead in anxiety due to separation from Me. They are keeping alive simply by thinking that I am returning to them very soon."
Requested by Lord Kåñëa, Uddhava immediately left on his chariot and carried the message to Gokula. He approached Våndävana at sunset, when the cows were returning home from the pasturing ground. Uddhava and his chariot were covered by the dust raised by the hooves of the cows. He saw bulls running after cows for mating; other cows, with overladened milk bags, were running after the calves to fill them with milk. Uddhava saw that the entire land of Våndävana was filled with white cows and their calves. Cows were running here and there all over Gokula, and he could hear the sound of milking. Every residential house in Våndävana was decorated for the worship of the sun-god and the fire-god and for the reception of guests, cows, brähmaëas and demigods. Every home was illuminated with light and incense arranged for sanctification. All over Våndävana there were nice flower garlands, flying birds and the humming sound of the bees. The lakes were filled with lotus flowers and with ducks and swans.
Uddhava entered the house of Nanda Mahäräja and was received as a representative of Väsudeva. Nanda Mahäräja offered him a place and sat down with him to ask about messages from Kåñëa, Balaräma and other family members in Mathurä. He could understand that Uddhava was a very confidential friend of Kåñëa and therefore must have come with good messages. "My dear Uddhava, how is my friend Vasudeva enjoying life? He is now released from the prison of Kaàsa, and he is now with his friends and his children, Kåñëa and Balaräma. So he must be very happy. Tell me about him and his welfare. We are also very happy that Kaàsa, the most sinful demon, is now killed. He was always envious of the family of the Yadus, his friends and relatives. Now because of his sinful activities, he is dead and gone, along with all his brothers.
"Please let us now know whether Kåñëa is remembering His father and mother and His friends and companions in Våndävana. Does He like to remember His cows, His gopés, His Govardhana Hill, His pasturing ground in Våndävana? Or has He forgotten all these now? Is there any possibility of His coming back to His friends and relatives so that we can again see His beautiful face with its raised nose and lotus-like eyes? We remember how He saved us from the forest fire, how He saved us from the great snake Käliya in the Yamunä, how He saved us from so many other demons, and we simply think how much we are obliged to Him for giving us protection in so many dangerous situations. My dear Uddhava, when we think of Kåñëa's beautiful face and eyes and His different activities here in Våndävana, we become so overwhelmed that all our activities cease. We simply think of Kåñëa, how He used to smile and how He looked upon us. When we go to the banks of the Yamunä and other lakes of Våndävana or near Govardhana Hill or the pasturing field, we see that the impressions of Kåñëa's footprints are still on the surface of the earth. We remember Him playing in those places, because He was constantly visiting them. When His appearance within our minds becomes manifest, we immediately become absorbed in thought of Him.
"We think, therefore, that Kåñëa and Balaräma may be chief demigods in heaven who have appeared before us like ordinary boys in order to execute particular duties on earth. This was also foretold by Gargamuni when making Kåñëa's horoscope. If Kåñëa were not a great personality how could He have killed Kaàsa, who possessed the strength of 10,000 elephants? Besides Kaàsa, there were very strong wrestlers, as well as the giant elephant, Kuvalayäpéòa. All these animals and demons were killed by Him just as a lion kills an ordinary animal. How wonderful it is that Kåñëa took in one hand the big, heavy bow made of three joined palm trees and broke it very quickly. How wonderful it is that continually for seven days He held up Govardhana Hill in one hand. How wonderful it is that He has killed all the demons, like Pralambäsura, Dhenukäsura, Ariñöäsura, Tåëävarta and Bakäsura. They were so strong that even the demigods in the heavenly planets were afraid of them, but Kåñëa killed them as easily as anything."
While describing the uncommon activities of Kåñëa before Uddhava, Nanda Mahäräja gradually became overwhelmed and could not speak any more. As for mother Yaçodä, she sat by the side of her husband and heard the pastimes of Kåñëa without speaking. She was simply crying incessantly, and milk was pouring from her breasts. When Uddhava saw Mahäräja Nanda and Yaçodä so extraordinarily overwhelmed with thoughts of Kåñëa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and when he experienced their extraordinary affection for Him, he also became overwhelmed and began to speak as follows. "My dear mother Yaçodä and Nanda Mahäräja, you are most respectable among human beings because no one but you can meditate in such transcendental ecstasy."
Both Balaräma and Kåñëa are the original Personalities of Godhead from whom the cosmic manifestation is emanating. They are chief among all personalities. Both of Them are the effective cause of this material creation. Material nature is conducted by the puruña incarnations, who are all acting under Kåñëa and Balaräma. By Their partial representation They enter in the hearts of all living entities. They are the source of all knowledge and all forgetfulness also. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gétä, Fifteenth Chapter: "I am present in everyone's heart, and I cause one to remember and to forget. I am the original compiler of the Vedänta, and I am the actual knower of the Vedas." If, at the time of death, a person can fix his pure mind upon Kåñëa even for a moment, he becomes eligible to give up this material body and appear in his original spiritual body, just as the sun rises with all illumination. Passing from his life in this way, he immediately enters into the spiritual kingdom, Vaikuëöha. This is the result of Kåñëa conscious practice.
If we practice Kåñëa consciousness in this present body while we are in a healthy condition and in good mind, simply by chanting the holy mahä-mantra, Hare Kåñëa, we will have every possibility of fixing our mind upon Kåñëa at the time of death. If that is done, then our life becomes successful without any doubt. Similarly, if we keep our mind always absorbed in fruitive activities for material enjoyment, then naturally at the time of death we shall think of such activities and again be forced to enter into a material, conditioned body to suffer the threefold miseries of material existence. Therefore, to remain always absorbed in Kåñëa consciousness was the standard of the inhabitants of Våndävana, as exhibited by Mahäräja Nanda, Yaçodä and the gopés. If we can simply follow their footsteps, even to a minute proportion, our lives will surely become successful, and we will enter into the spiritual kingdom, Vaikuëöha.
"My dear mother Yaçodä and Nanda Mahäräja," Uddhava continued, "you have thus fixed your minds wholly and solely upon that Supreme Personality of Godhead, Näräyaëa, in His transcendental form, the cause of impersonal Brahman. The Brahman effulgence is only the bodily ray of Näräyaëa, and because you are always absorbed in ecstatic thought of Kåñëa and Balaräma, what activity remains to be performed by you? I have brought a message from Kåñëa to the effect that He will soon come back to Våndävana and satisfy you both by His personal presence. Kåñëa promised that He would come back to Våndävana after finishing His business in Mathurä. This promise He will surely fulfill. I therefore request you both, who are the best among all fortunates, to be not aggrieved on account of Kåñëa's absence.
"You are already perceiving His presence twenty-four hours a day, and yet He will come and see you very soon. Actually He is present everywhere and in everyone's heart, just as fire is present in wood. Since Kåñëa is the Supersoul, no one is His enemy, no one is His friend, no one is equal to Him, and no one is lower or higher than Him. Actually He has no father, mother, brother or relative, nor does He require society, friendship and love. He does not have a material body; He never appears or takes birth as an ordinary human being. He does not appear in higher or lower species of life like ordinary living entities, who are forced to take birth on account of their previous activities. He appears by His internal potency just to give protection to His devotee. He is never influenced by the modes of material nature, but when He appears within this material world, it seems that He acts like an ordinary living entity under the spell of the modes of material nature. In fact, He is the overseer of this material creation and is not affected by the material modes of nature. He creates, maintains and dissolves the whole cosmic manifestation. We wrongly think of Kåñëa and Balaräma as ordinary human beings. We are like dizzy men who see the whole world wheeling aroung them. The Personality of Godhead is no one's son; He is actually everyone's father, mother and supreme controller. There is no doubt of this. Whatever is being experienced, whatever is already in existence, whatever is not in existence, whatever will be in existence in the future, whatever is the smallest and whatever is the biggest have no separate existence outside the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Everything is resting in Him, but He is out of touch with everything manifested."
Nanda and Uddhava thus passed the whole night in discussing Kåñëa. In the morning, the gopés prepared for morning ärätrika by lighting their lamps and sprinkling butter mixed with yogurt. After finishing their maìgala-ärätrika, they engaged themselves in churning butter from yogurt. While the gopés were thus engaged, the lamps reflected on their ornaments became still more illuminated. The churning rod, their arms, their earrings, their bangles, their breasts--everything moved, and the kuìkuma powder gave their faces a saffron luster comparable to the rising sun. While churning, they also sang the glories of Kåñëa. The two sound vibrations mixed together, ascended to the sky and sanctified the whole atmosphere. After sunrise the gopés came as usual to offer their respects to Nanda Mahäräja and Yaçodä, but when they saw the golden chariot of Uddhava at the door, they began to inquire among themselves. What was that chariot, and to whom did it belong? Some of them inquired whether Akrüra, who had taken away Kåñëa, had again returned. They were not very pleased with Akrüra because, being engaged in the service of Kaàsa, he took Kåñëa away to the city of Mathurä. All the gopés conjectured that Akrüra might have come again to fulfill another cruel plan. But they thought, "We are now dead bodies without our supreme master, Kåñëa. What further act can he perpetrate on these dead bodies?" While they were talking in this way, Uddhava finished his morning ablutions, prayers and chanting and came before them.
Thus ends the Bhaktivedanta purport of the Forty-fifth Chapter of Kåñëa, "Uddhava Visits Våndävana."

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