Tag Archives: Madhu

The Wealth of Dvārakā

1.11.11

Madhu, Bhoja, Daśārha, Arha, Kukura, and the Vṛṣṇi – all equally powerful – protected it like the dragons protect their capital, Bhogavatī.

It seems that all the nearby kingdoms allied themselves with the Vṛṣṇi, whose capitol was therefore very secure. It was at least as opulent and secure as the fabled capitol city of the dragons.

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It was surrounded by all the seasons, all natural amenities, and residents of saints amidst very good trees and flowers. There were parks with gardens and orchards surrounding lakes full of beautiful lotuses.

On earth, seasons result from the position of the Sun relative to the equator. They are therefore time-dependent and it is not possible for all of them to manifest simultaneously at will. However Sūta tells us here that Dvārakā had this opulence. The implication is either that, (a) Sūta is telling us fairy tales, or (b) Dvārakā exists above the normal earthly dimension with which it maintained a link for some time.

A reader might favor the former, if he doesn’t really understand Sūta’s education, erudition and personality as well as the type of gathering he was addressing – most similar in modern terms to a symposium of doctorates and scientific researchers. One who embraces the later explanation, however, cracks open a doorway into Kṛṣṇa’s dimension. Opened wide enough, one can attempt to walk through it.

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Gates, doors and roads were enthusiastically painted and decorated with flags bearing auspicious signs. Pleasant shade spread beneath all these decorations. The shops and halls and roads big and small were very clean and sprinkled with perfumes, flowers, fruits, and whole seed.

Things for welcoming a respected guest were assembled in the doorways to each and every house: yoghurt, fresh fruit, sugarcane, full water pots, incense and lamps.

What is your reaction to hearing about such a place? Mine is, “Wow, what a great place to live. I want to be a guest at these houses, feel the peace of such natural opulence, relax in these beautiful parks, and enjoy life in such a fine place.” Paradoxically, this self-focused frame of mind is exactly what makes it impossible to live in a place like Dvārakā. It is because each and every citizen is so focused on the same central figure of enjoyment, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, that their city is so peaceful, beautiful, opulent, and – ironically – enjoyable.

Upon the return of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, his city decorated herself exquisitely and appeared at the height of blushing beauty. Kṛṣṇa was very pleased to see her ecstatic romantic symptoms as she welcomed the handsome lord into her loving embrace.


Greetings, Citizens of Dvaraka

1.11.6

Oh topmost master, we are at your lotus-like feet!
Brahmā, his offspring, and the king of gods worship these feet,
Desiring the utmost protection
Into which destiny has no power.

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For our sake, you, the creator of everything
Have become our mother, protective husband, and father.
You are the eternal guru and topmost divinity.
Everything we do is for your sake.

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O yes, you are our focal point!
It is very difficult for even the masters of the three worlds to see
Your smiling, affectionate, love-laden glance.
But we freely look upon your all-auspicious beauty.

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O Infallible, whenever your lotus-eyes go elsewhere,
Looking with care towards the people of Kuru and Madhu,
Each moment becomes a million years
And we feel like eyes without sunlight.

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Oh husband, how can we go on living if you remain away from us
Unable to see your satisfied glance vanquishing all troubles,
And your mind-enchanting face
Ornamented with a beautiful smile?

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Hearing these words spoken by the citizens, the Nourisher of Lovers expanded his affectionate glances upon all of them as he entered the city.

~ ~ ~

Human beings turn to the gods for help in facing the trials and tribulations of daily lives. And certainly these powerful beings can help somehow or another. But since they too are under the sway of all powerful destiny, they are limited in how they can protect one from fate. The All-Attractive Original Person who existed before destiny began, and who controls its impartial enforcement, is the only being who can grant the topmost perfection.

Kṛṣṇa is the singular undifferentiated being, but for our sake he manifests multiplicity. It is only out of a desire to share the pure bliss of existence with others that the One becomes Many. Towards those many he takes personal roles which seem to be far less than his natural station as the supreme authority and divinity – becoming the mother, father and protector of many. In truth, however, these stations are superior to the hierarchical station of the All-Powerful, because they exhibit the most important essence of Godhead: loving, personal blissful affection.

The citizens express “Aho! You have become our focal point.” The key word here is sanātha. Everyone requires a nātha, a focal point. Thus men and women walk about the world in the peculiar manner in which we do, as if involved in some sort of parade or exhibition – searching for an attractive person to make our focal point. Those without focal points, or with blurry, boring and old ones, envy those focused newly paired couples walking down the sidewalk exuding their good fortune. To be without a nātha, without a focal point, is universally pitiful. The residents of Dvārakā how found the ultimate focal point, the All-Attractive personality whom everyone in the tree worlds, including the gods themselves, desires.

The citizens consider their most valuable treasure to be the loving glances of Kṛṣṇa. So when Kṛṣṇa looks away from them, it is as calamitous as being robbed blind. Kṛṣṇa’s mind is always full of concern for the people of Kuru (the Pāṇḍava) and the people of Madhu (Mathurā and Vṛṇdāvana). He makes great efforts to keep his glances upon the people of Dvārakā but from time to time cannot help but allow his eyes to move away from them and towards Kuru and Mathurā. When this happens, the people of Dvārakā become very, very anxious. Each moment that Kṛṣṇa’s glance is not upon them drags out for millions of years. Not seeing Kṛṣṇa’s satisfied glance, they think their eyes have become blind – like eyes in the absence of light. This addiction for the satisfied recognition of Kṛṣṇa is a trademark shared by all self-realized personalists, and which becomes more and more intense the more intimate the realization becomes. Śrī Caitanya expressed this same sentiment very poignantly in his eight-verse poem: “Moments become like ages… Floods pour from my eyes… The world becomes empty… without Govinda.”

If even the anticipation of Kṛṣṇa’s departure causes such anxiety, how could the residents of Dvārakā survived the long months he was away during the war? They simply could not have. Therefore Kṛṣṇa never leaves his devotee. He is within and without everything. Once one has tangibly and directly established a relationship with him, that relationship is never lost. If he is not present physically, he is even more present emotionally.

Kṛṣṇa fulfilled everyone’s desires by abundantly showering each and every one with sweet glances of heartfelt affection as they all moved towards the edge of the city itself. This sort of attentiveness is why Kṛṣṇa is called the “Nourisher of Lovers” (bhakta-vatsala).

 


Philosophy in the City – Part 3

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This man, O friend, is certainly the most fitting topic for song,
The most intimate object known by the most intimate knowers.
He alone is the master of everything,
As his own play he creates, maintains and destroys it without attachment.

Another girl turns to a friend close by her side, tugs gently upon her arm and says, “Dear friend, that man is the real topic for love songs! Such songs are real spiritual discussion.”

“Ah,” answers her friend, “but who will write such songs?  The world is full instead of worthless hymns, mantras, poems, and lyrics.”

The girl answers quickly and confidently, “We will! And we will inspire others too! We are guhya-vādī – the most intimate philosophers. We alone know the Veda’s most intimate secret (vedeṣu guhyeṣu). That is why our gossip and chatter is better than any sermon, it is sat-katha! Those who listen to the lyrics we now weave will later expand them into new song!”

At this point, an older woman who was sitting a bit apart with folded arms finally expressed her growing dissatisfaction and suspicion of these young ladies, “Oh please,” she blurted out. “You are just ridiculously in love with that charismatic heartbreaker, that’s all. You are just lusty, pritter-prattering young urban girls. Why on earth are you insulting priests, scholars and real spiritualists by pretending to be some deep and mysterious philosophers and transcendentalists!?”

“Oh be quiet, you old crow!” Shout the young ladies in unison. “If you had half an ear you would already know the answer to your own question, for we have already explained all that. He is no ordinary charmer! He alone is the true master of everything in the universe! You people speak of gods of universal creation, maintenance and annihilation – but the truth is that all such things take place effortlessly as a result of his playful will!”

“Playful!?”  The old woman attempts to retort. “What could possibly be ‘playful’ about universal creation and destruction!?!?”

With a long sigh and quiet laugh, the girls said, “You really are thick-headed, grandma. Everything exists merely for the sake of joy, for play. All the sufferings and disasters in this world are our own doing, as a result of protest against our inherent nature to facilitate his play. Yes, we say this entire universe is nothing but play.”

Seeing the persistent sour look on the old woman’s face start to barely give way to curiosity, they invited her, “Unfold your arms, and come over here with us. Get a good clear view of our handsome Master. We think your dry old breasts will again perk up when you see him with your own eyes! And when your bosom blossoms with love for him you too will clearly see all these confidential secrets of reality kept hidden from those with eyes blinded by turning away from the sunlight of Godhead towards the darkness of ego.”

Opening their arms and waving her over, the encouraged, “Come dear woman, come…”

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When immoral and dark-hearted kings thrive
Then, with his absolute goodness he manifests
Opulence, reality, truthfulness, compassion and fame
In many forms, aeon after aeon.

Now the old, reluctant woman has joined the young ladies and looks down upon Śrī Kṛṣṇa seated upon a fabulous chariot slowly rolling into the road in front of the palace. The young ladies help the old woman appreciate him by recounting a well-known philosophical principle of the time.

“You see that handsome man?” They gently ask her. “He is the one that scriptures say appears aeon after aeon in so many different forms for the sake of counteracting immorality and dark-heartedness by broadcasting his beautiful opulence, reality, truthfulness, compassion.”

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Aho! How very praiseworthy is the Yadu family!
Aho! How very praiseworthy is the Sweet Forest!
The greatest person of all, the husband of the Goddess of Fortune,
Was born from them, and walked amongst them!

Now all the women, young and old, overcome with the ecstasy and deepest profound visions of divine love exclaim Kṛṣṇa’s glories in one voice: This man who walks among us is actually that All-Attractive godhead who sets the world aright age after age. How fortunate and lucky are we, therefore!

We often have “God” rammed down our throats, “now get down on your knees and fear his wrath, and be in awe of his power.” So, we are prone to misunderstand Kṛṣṇa as a self-centered being, imparting on him the imperfections of greed and hunger ingrained within our own mentalities. In fact Kṛṣṇa is a being of purely selfless love who purposefully invests other persons, places and things with the power to lift him to his highest heights. Thus the husband of the Goddess of Fortune decides to be born amongst simple cowherd people in the sweet forest of Madhu-vana, and be loved, raised, and even protected by them.