Vrndavana, Krsna’s Transcendental Abode

I always enjoy going back through our collection of Back to Godhead Magazines and re-reading some of the old articles. We share with you the original article with photos just as it appeared in BTG in 1974.

Vrndavana, Krsna’s Transcendental Abode

by Visakha-devi dasi

Ninety miles southeast of New Delhi, India, is a railway station known as Mathura. From Mathura, a bumpy seven-mile ride by horse-cart brings one to a unique town called Vrndavana. This simple village is unlike all other places in the world, for when Lord Krsna, the Supreme Godhead, comes to earth with His associates to display His pastimes, He comes only to Vrndavana. Indeed, Krsna never leaves Vrndavana-and, by His grace, pure devotees can appreciate the Lord’s presence in Vrndavana even today.

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THE ESSENCE OF EVERYTHING IS THE SUPREME LORD

Sometimes when I am sitting and reading from Srila Prabhupada’s Srimad Bhagavatam, a verse or sentence from the purport just jumps out from the page almost like it is in 3D, and I catch a glimpse of what the Spiritual World must be like. It is beyond even my imagination, but sometimes I catch a glimmer of light, through a transcendental window, by the grace of my spiritual master His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

…The transcendental abode of the Lord where the trees are all desire trees and the buildings are made of touchstone. The Lord Govinda is engaged there in herding the surabhi cows as His natural occupation.

“I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, the first progenitor who is tending the cows, yielding all desire, in abodes built with spiritual gems, surrounded by millions of purpose trees, always served with great reverence and affection by hundreds of thousands of lakṣmīs or gopīs.” (Bs 5.29)

…The Lord Govinda is engaged there in herding the surabhi cows as His natural occupation. And those who are artists, overtaken by the beautiful creation, should better see to the beautiful face of the Lord for complete satisfaction. The face of the Lord is the embodiment of beauty. What they call beautiful nature is but His smile, and what they call the sweet songs of the birds are but specimens of the whispering voice of the Lord.

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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda

Brief Biography

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda appeared in this world in 1896 in Calcutta, India. He first met his spiritual master, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī, in Calcutta in 1922. Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī, a prominent religious scholar and the founder of sixty-four Gauḍīya Maṭhas (Vedic institutes), liked this educated young man and convinced him to dedicate his life to teaching Vedic knowledge. Śrīla Prabhupāda became his student, and eleven years later (1933) at Allahabad he became his formally initiated disciple.

At their first meeting, in 1922, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura requested Śrīla Prabhupāda to broadcast Vedic knowledge through the English language. In the years that followed, Śrīla Prabhupāda wrote a commentary on the Bhagavad-gītā, assisted the Gauḍīya Maṭha in its work and, in 1944, without assistance, started an English fortnightly magazine, edited it, typed the manuscripts and checked the galley proofs. He even distributed the individual copies and struggled to maintain the publication. Once begun, the magazine never stopped; it is now being continued by his disciples in the West and is published in nineteen languages.

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The Scent of Krsna’s Body

Scent of Krishna

…Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī expressed to Her gopī friends how She hankers for the transcendental scent of Kṛṣṇa’s body. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu recited that same verse and made its meaning clear.

” ‘The scent of Kṛṣṇa’s transcendental body surpasses the aroma of musk and attracts the minds of all women. The eight lotuslike parts of His body distribute the fragrance of lotuses mixed with that of camphor. His body is anointed with aromatic substances like musk, camphor, sandalwood and aguru. O My dear friend, that Personality of Godhead, also known as the enchanter of Cupid, always increases the desire of My nostrils.’

“The scent of Kṛṣṇa’s body surpasses the fragrances of musk and the bluish lotus flower. Spreading throughout the fourteen worlds, it attracts everyone and makes the eyes of all women blind.

“My dear friend, the scent of Kṛṣṇa’s body enchants the entire world. It especially enters the nostrils of women and remains seated there. Thus it captures them and forcibly brings them to Kṛṣṇa.

“Kṛṣṇa’s eyes, navel and face, hands and feet are like eight lotus flowers on His body. From those eight lotuses emanates a fragrance like a mixture of camphor and lotus. That is the scent associated with His body.

“When sandalwood pulp with aguru, kuṅkuma and musk is mixed with camphor and spread on Kṛṣṇa’s body, it combines with Kṛṣṇa’s own original bodily perfume and seems to cover it.

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Vrndavana Bhajana

Srila Prabhupada in Vrindavan3

“Srila Prabhupada was poetic, not only in the literary sense, as evidenced by his beautiful poems glorifying his spiritual master and Lord Krsna, but in every aspect of his personality as well. His gesturing, walking, talking, singing, smiling, dancing andarcana were all performed with an extremely natural poetic grace, befitting a swanlike pure devotee of Lord Krsna. For those sensitive souls who had embarked upon a pilgrim’s progress in search of truth, beauty and ultimate happiness, association with Srila Prabhupada marked their journey’s end, and they happily gave up all mundane pursuits and engaged in his service. Such was the attractive force of Srila Prabhupada’s poetic nature, which manifested fully due to his superexcellent level of Krsna consciousness.” (from In Praise of Srila Prabhupada by Ajitananda das)

The following is a poem written by Srila Prabhupada entitled “Vrndavana Bhajana”

Vṛndāvana Bhajana

Written by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami in 1958,
Published December of that Year in Gauḍīya Patrika,
The Magazine of the Gauḍīya Vedānta Samiti.

Verse 1.

I am sitting alone in Vṛndāvana-dhāma
In this mood I am getting many realizations.
I have my wife, sons, daughters, grandsons, everything,
But I have no money so they are a fruitless glory.
Kṛṣṇa has shown me the naked form of material nature,
By his strength it has all become tasteless to me today.
yasyāham anugṛhṇāmi hariṣye tad-dhanaṁ śanaiḥ
“I gradually take away all the wealth of those upon whom I am merciful.”
How was I able to understand this mercy of the All-merciful?

Verse 2.

Everyone has abandoned me, seeing me as penniless,
Wife, relatives, friends, brothers, everyone.
This is misery, but it gives me a laugh. I sit alone and laugh.
In this māyā-saṁsāra, whom do I really love?
Where have all my loving father and mother gone to now?
And where are all my elders, who were my own folk?
Who will give me news of them, tell me who?
All that is left of this family life is a list of names.

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Divine Ecstasies

Krsna & the cowheard boys taking Prasadam

Today, being Monday, and the start of another workday week, I wanted to focus my mind, not on all the work ahead, but rather, on some Krishna Nectar from Srila Prabhupada’s Srimad Bhagavatam. We share with you a few of Srila Prabhupada’s divine ecstasies. As we mentioned is a previous post, there are two kṛṣṇa-kathās; narrations spoken by Kṛṣṇa, and narrations spoken about Kṛṣṇa. Please note text 5 & 6 which is spoken by Krsna.

…devotees who have accepted the essence of life, are attached to Kṛṣṇa in the core of their hearts, and He is the aim of their lives. It is their nature to talk only of Kṛṣṇa at every moment, as if such topics were newer and newer.

Like the whorl of a lotus flower surrounded by its petals and leaves, Kṛṣṇa sat in the center, encircled by lines of His friends, who all looked very beautiful. Every one of them was trying to look forward toward Kṛṣṇa, thinking that Kṛṣṇa might look toward him. In this way they all enjoyed their lunch in the forest.

Among the cowherd boys, some placed their lunch on flowers, some on leaves, fruits, or bunches of leaves, some actually in their baskets, some on the bark of trees and some on rocks. This is what the children imagined to be their plates as they ate their lunch.

Srimad Bhagavatam
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Canto 10, Chapter 13, Text 1-12

Translations and purports

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Beautiful Krishna

I just love this picture of Krishna. It is on my desktop computer so I see it every morning when I turn on my computer, and I always pause for a moment, to just gaze at the beautiful face of the Lord. We have included some nice verses which describe the Beauty of Krishna.

“O my Lord, the transcendental body of Krishna is very sweet, and His face is even sweeter than His body. The soft smile on His face, which is like the fragrance of honey, is sweeter still.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta: Madhya, 21.136)

“My dear friend, if you are indeed attached to your worldly friends, do not look at the smiling face of Lord Govinda as He stands on the bank of the Yamunā at Keśīghāṭa. Casting sidelong glances, He places His flute to His lips, which seem like newly blossomed twigs. His transcendental body, bending in three places, appears very bright in the moonlight.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta: Adi-lila 5.224)

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The Hands of Man

A man who works with his hands is a laborer.

A man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman.

A man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist.

-Louis Nizer

My wife shared this quote with me she saw on Facebook. I have spent the morning thinking about it and drawing inspiration from it. It has aslo reminded me that the Supreme Artist is God (Krishna). The following is a lecture by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada given at an art gallery in Auckland in 1972

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The Glories of Maharaja Pariksit

This morning I was reading about Maharaja Pariksit and of his qualities and position in life. He was in a position to enjoy life to the fullest extent,then why should he give up all these favorable circumstances and sit down on the bank of the Ganges, fasting till death? This is astonishing, and therefore all were eager to know the cause. He gave up everything to hear Sriman Bhagavatam from the lips of the pure devotee.

He was a great emperor and possessed all the opulences of his acquired kingdom. He was so exalted that he was increasing the prestige of the Pāṇḍu dynasty. Why did he give up everything to sit down on the bank of the Ganges and fast until death?

…There was nothing undesirable in his life. He was quite a young man and could enjoy life with power and opulence. So there was no question of retiring from active life. There was no difficulty in collecting the state taxes because he was so powerful and chivalrous that even his enemies would come to him and bow down at his feet and surrender all wealth for their own benefit. Mahārāja Parīkṣit was a pious king. He conquered his enemies, and therefore the kingdom was full of prosperity. There was enough milk, grains and metals, and all the rivers and mountains were full of potency. So materially everything was satisfactory. Therefore, there was no question of untimely giving up his kingdom and life. The sages were eager to hear about all this.

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The Appearance Day of Lord Sri Krishna.

Today we celebrate the Appearance Day of Lord Sri Krishna, otherwise known as Janmastami. We honor it with a full day fast, followed by a feast after midnight, with chanting, reading, and remembering, throughout the course of the day. We started our day by reading the first chapter from The Krsna Book, and we share it with you today.

Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda

Chapter One

The Advent of Lord Kṛṣṇa

Once the world was overburdened by the unnecessary defense force of different kings, who were actually demons, but were posing themselves as the royal order. At that time, the whole world became perturbed, and the predominating deity of this earth, known as Bhūmi, went to see Lord Brahmā to tell of her calamities due to the demoniac kings. Bhūmi assumed the shape of a cow and presented herself before Lord Brahmā with tears in her eyes. She was bereaved and was weeping just to invoke the lord’s compassion. She related the calamitous position of the earth, and after hearing this, Lord Brahmā became much aggrieved, and he at once started for the ocean of milk, where Lord Viṣṇu resides. Lord Brahmā was accompanied by all the demigods headed by Lord Śiva, and Bhūmi also followed. Arriving on the shore of the milk ocean, Lord Brahmā began to pacify the Lord Viṣṇu who formerly saved the earthly planet by assuming the transcendental form of a boar.

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