by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura Mahasaya | 2010 | 123,965 words

The Bhajana-rahasya Text 3, English translation, including commentary (vritti). The Bhajana-rahasya is a compilation of verses describing the mercy of the eight pairs of names (Yugala-nama) of the Maha-mantra. This is text 3 belonging to the chapter “Saptama-yama-sadhana (Pradosha-kaliya-bhajana–vipralambha-prema)” representing from six dandas of the night until midnight: approximately 8.30 p.m.–00.00 a.m.

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.21.11) describes the good fortune of the does and their husbands when they hear the sound of the flute:

धन्याः स्म मूढ-गतयो’पि हरिण्य एता या नन्द-नन्दनम् उपात्त-विचित्र-वेशम्
आकर्ण्य वेणु-रणितं सह-कृष्ण-साराः पूजां दधुर् विरचितां प्रणयावलोकैः

dhanyāḥ sma mūḍha-gatayo’pi hariṇya etā yā nanda-nandanam upātta-vicitra-veśam
ākarṇya veṇu-raṇitaṃ saha-kṛṣṇa-sārāḥ pūjāṃ dadhur viracitāṃ praṇayāvalokaiḥ

O sakhī, when Nanda-nandana Śyāmasundara, wearing beautiful, multi-coloured attire, vibrates a sweet melody on His flute, even the does, who are foolish due to having taken birth from the wombs of ignorant animals, run towards Him along with their husbands and gaze upon Him with love-laden eyes. They are not merely gazing, sakhī, but they are worshipping Him with crooked sidelong glances from their large lotus-like eyes, and He is accepting their worship with His own loving sidelong glance. The lives of these deer are truly blessed. Sakhī, although we are gopīs of Vṛndāvana, we are unable to offer ourselves like this because our family members harass us. How ironic!

कृष्ण-चित्र-वेश स्वीय चक्षेते हेरिया
ताङ्हार वांशरी-ध्वनि कर्णेते शुनिया

kṛṣṇa-citra-veśa svīya cakṣete heriyā
tāṅhāra vāṃśarī-dhvani karṇete śuniyā

पूजार विधान कैल प्रणय-नयने
कृष्ण-सार-सह आज धन्य मृगी-गणे

pūjāra vidhāna kaila praṇaya-nayane
kṛṣṇa-sāra-saha āja dhanya mṛgī-gaṇe

Commentary: Bhajana-rahasya-vṛtti:

The vraja-ramaṇīs are always restless to meet with Kṛṣṇa. This restlessness is due to their inability to be satisfied, which is a natural characteristic of their prema. They are also unable to steady their minds in any way. They consider anyone who has even the slightest relationship with Kṛṣṇa to be extremely fortunate. While sitting in their homes, the gopīs hear the flute-song of Govinda, who steals the hearts of all beings in Vṛndāvana, and they become completely submerged in prema-rasa. With eyes of bhāva, they see the does in the forest not only abandon grazing when they hear the sound of the veṇu, but ignore their offspring and everything else as well. These does dash towards Kṛṣṇa with great speed, coming up so close to Him that He can touch them with His hands.

The gopīs express their moods in a concealed way (avahitthabhāva). One says, “O sakhī, just see the affection that these does, from the animal kingdom, have for Kṛṣṇa. Indeed, they are blessed! We, on the other hand, who have taken birth as human beings, are deprived of taking such darśana and performing such sevā, which are a human being’s right. This is the frustration of our lives.”

In autumn, Vrajendra-nandana Śrī Kṛṣṇa, beautifully decorated in marvellous attire suitable for roaming in the forest, enters Vṛndāvana to herd the cows and blissfully plays enchanting notes on His flute. Śyāmasundara, with His sweet form, steals the hearts of everyone in the universe. Seeing His sweet form and hearing the sound of His flute, the does feel content. One sakhī begins to speak, saying, “When the does hear the sound of prāṇanātha Śyāmasundara’s flute, they become senseless and proceed towards Him, staggering and stumbling. At that time, their husbands, the kṛṣṇa-sāra deer, follow behind them, accepting the guidance of their wives. In this way, no obstacle prevents the does from meeting with Kṛṣṇa.” Kṛṣṇa-sāra means that Kṛṣṇa alone is the essence of their lives.

Hearing this, another sakhī says, “O friend, this is really true. We do not have such fortune. We are females and the wives of other men, so we cannot overcome our fear of public condemnation. When Śyāmasundara leaves for cowherding on the path that runs by our homes, we can only gaze upon Him through the holes in the latticed windows. For this only, our family members abuse us and create obstacles for us. Our husbands are also disapproving. Birth as a deer would be more useful than birth as a human.”

The vraja-devīs’ longing to meet with Kṛṣṇa increases more and more. Eagerness (utkaṇṭhā ) and longing (lālasā) to meet Śrī Kṛṣṇa are very helpful for a sādhaka.

Praṇayāvalokaiḥ pūjāṃ dadhau means that the does lovingly look upon Kṛṣṇa with their very beautiful eyes, which serve as lamps to perform ārati to Him. Kṛṣṇa reciprocates by accepting their worship.

In Śrī Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī defines praṇaya as the state in which the hearts of both the hero (nāyaka) and heroine (nāyikā ) become one. The hearts of the does are one with Kṛṣṇa’s heart, and therefore, the gopīs have used the word praṇayāvalokaiḥ. With these glances, the does offer their bhāvas as flowers and other articles to worship Kṛṣṇa. In this Text, the sweetness of the vrajadevīs’ paramour love is expressed through metaphors.

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