Krishna and Vraja vasis enter the holy land of Sri Brindavan
“Jai Brindavana! Jai Brindavana! Jai Jai Brindavana Brindavana!” The echo of these sweet words certainly sends down tickling blissful waves through every limb of the body, creating multitude of emotions in the heart and churning one’s very soul. Such is the greatness of the soil of Brindavan – a land infused with blemishless and unconditional love (aloukika prema) beyond the imagination and contemplation of this worldly plane, whose soil carries the imprints of the Lotus Feet of Sri Krishna (Krishna charaNankitha bhoomi) and His Gopis, who are the embodiment of prema-bhakti. Their selfless love for Krishna is unsurpassed and so is Krishna’s love for them. Srimad Bhagavatha Mahathmya, too describes the holy soil of Brindavan as a grandstand where Bhakthi Devi herself resides, plays and dances in ecstasy.
We have been reminiscing and enjoying the sweet Bala Leelas (childhood sports) of Lord Sri Krishna and now we shall relish Sri Krishna and the people of Vraja’s move to Brindavan and how they enjoyed the beauty and the pristine ambience of this divine abode.
Last month we saw how the sons of Kubera, redeemed of their sins, rendered a soulful prayer to Krishna and left to their abode.
Meanwhile, the falling of the twin Arjuna trees created a sound as loud as a thunderbolt. Hearing this, the residents of Vraja came running in fear. Amidst the trees they saw their dear Krishna tied to the mortar, posing an innocent look and dragging the mortar here and there. Nandababa, amused by this sight, untied Krishna and embraced Him affectionately.
As days rolled by, Krishna enhanced the joy of the inhabitants of Vraja by His charming ways and silly pranks. Sri Sridharacharya says, Krishna always “feared” that the people of Vraja might find His true nature and so, He often exhibited silly childlike behavior so they would forget his miraculous feats and only fondle Him. The Gopis bound Krishna with their love and He loved being bound by their love!
Once, He blessed a simple forest dwelling lady with so much joy. She earned a living selling fruits. One day, as she came, Krishna desired to buy some fruits and got some grains of rice to give in exchange for the fruits. Sri Shuka here remarks that, Lord Krishna, the bestower of all the four objects of human pursuits (like dharma, artha,kama,moksha) now, walked out, with a handful of grains to offer to the fruit-seller lady. This lady, who had been longing to have His darshan for a long time got lost in his beauty. She didn’t notice that most of the grains that Krishna had got had fallen on the way. She lovingly filled the hands of Krishna with many juicy fruits of varied colors and Krishna dropped the grains in her basket, in return. What a surprise! The grains that Krishna had dropped into her basket turned into precious gems and filled her basket. The woman, however had so much love for Krishna that she was not enamored by all this. She came back and adorned Krishna with jewelry made with those gems. She offered all that she got by His grace back to Him!
Meanwhile the elders in Vraja including Nandagopa, having seen many calamities and dangers in Brihadvana and Gokula (their current residence), gathered together and planned for the safety of all the residents, especially dear Krishna. Among all the Gopas was a wise, elderly Gopa by name Upananda. He was Nanda’s minister and also his elder brother. He always knew the right thing to do and moreover he always did what pleased Balarama and Krishna. He humbly suggested that they all shift their residence from Gokula to Brindavana. Our Krishna who used to go to Brindavana with his friends to play and graze the calves, loved the place very much. It was Krishna who had actually willed, in His mind to go to Brindavana and do leelas in this most enchanting place along the banks of the river Yamuna and so it was by His will indeed that the Gopas desired to shift to Brindavan.
As soon as all the Gopas heard this, all of them rejoiced and accepted his proposal enthusiastically. Upananda further went on to describe this beautiful forest. Brindavan, which literally means “the forest of Thulasi”, is also referred to as “nava kaananam” because of its freshly formed green lush trees, that now looked even more energized to welcome Krishna and be the abode of all His divine sports. Yamuna Devi, was earnestly awaiting Bhagawan’s tender Lotus Feet to caress her pure placid waters. The forest was fanned gently by the cool breeze wafting the fragrance of lotuses on the river. The forest where Krishna’s dear devotee – Thulasi (basil) was abound and where the Govardhan mountain stood majestically yet in complete reverence . A verdant surreal landscape enriched with trees, their boughs loaded with fruits and flowers, spread around with plants, climbers and filled with the divine musical chirping of cute little birds and flocks of cuckoos extending a welcome song with their sweet notes. Sri Swamiji, in one of his kirtans, beautifully expounds the greatness of this sacred land by saying that, all the plants, trees and creepers here are embodiments of pure consciousness (maram, cheDi, koDigaLellAm chinmayamAnadu) and the soil is verily the Brahmam! (maNNO brahmasvarUpamAnadu).
Upananda also highlighted that they, as cowherds, would further benefit because the pure waters from the river Yamuna would provide healthy green pastures for the cows to graze and for them to settle there. Without any further delay, the Gopas packed their belongings, gathered their respective cattle and got their carts ready to leave. Accommodating the aged gopas, infants and ladies in the carts, the cowherds armed themselves with bows and arrows for safety. The Gopas got ready so quickly because their main concern was the Lord’s safety.
The cattle proceeded in the front while the carts followed them behind. On the way, the Gopas blew their horns in all directions for safety. The gopis looked extremely beautiful, adorned with necklaces and draped with nice clothing. They delighted themselves by singing the leelas of Krishna throughout the journey. Rohini and Yashoda got into a single cart along with Krishna and Rama on their laps, eagerly listening and enjoying to the stories of Krishna that were sung by the other gopis. Once the Gopas and Gopis reached Brindavana they settled with their carts in the shape of a crescent moon with lot of free space in the front for the cattle to graze. Upon seeing Brindavan and its surroundings, the green Govardhan mountain and the captivating banks of river Yamuna lined by various rich green trees offering cool shade, Balarama and Krishna experienced great joy. Their hearts swelled with a great sense of elation when they beheld this beautiful forest, which is their eternal divine abode.
Many great Mahathmas have sung songs craving to be blessed with a birth in Sri Brindavanam, either as an animate or an inanimate being. In Srimad Bhagavatham too, Lord Brahma in his stuti beseeches the Lord to bless Him with such a birth so that he is always showered with the dust of the feet of the residents of Vraja.
The great Mahatma Oothukadu Venkatakavi, in one of his songs, sings the sweetness of the word, “Brindavanam” (Brindavanam enbadivaiyō – andappērukkutān enna suvaiyō) and says, that even inanimate objects like a stone and a grass in Brindavan end up conversing with each other about the glory of the soil (andapperumaiyil kallum pullum pēsikkoḷḷudē).
Sri Swamiji too has blessed us with many wonderful kirtans singing the praise of this holy kshethra like – manasa anname brindavanam sendriduvai, brindavanam thannil, brindavanam para para, brindavanam bhaje, to name a few.
Among these, we will now enjoy “Brindavanam bhaje…” set in Mayamalavagoula raga and Adi tala
RAgam: mAyAmALavagauLai thALam: Ekam
BrindAvanam bhajE brindAvanam – nityam brindAvanam bhajE brindAvanam
khagamriga bhramitam brindAvanam – vividha puShpairalankritam brindAvanam
yamunA lAlitam brindAvanam – nitya rAsOtsavastalam brindAvanam
haricharaNAnkitam brindAvanam – kriShNa leelAstalam shrI brindAvanam
bhUlOka gOlOkam brindAvanam – kriShNa bhaktAnAm Ashrayam brindAvanam
bhakthachittAkarshaNam brindAvanam – brahma niShTAkarShakam brindAvanam
Let’s think and sing (do the Bhajana) of Brindavan always!
Brindavan – The place where birds and animals roam around, Brindavan – The place that is adorned with blooming flowers.
Brindavan – The place where River Yamuna flows gracefully, Brindavan – The place where rAsam happens everyday.
Brindavan – The place that bears Sri Hari’s footprints everywhere, Brindavan – The place where Krishna played his divine sports.
Brindavan – The Goloka on earth, Brindavan – the refuge for all Krishna bhakthas.
Brindavan – The place that attracts the heart of all Krishna bhakthas, Brindavan – The place that attracts all the Brahmanishtas.