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

The Bhajana-rahasya Text 9, 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 9 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.

For a person attached to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, even a moment of separation from Him is intolerable. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.39.29) states:

नीताः स्म नः क्षणम् इव क्षणदा विना तं गोप्यः कथं न्व् अतितरेम तमो दुरन्तम्

nītāḥ sma naḥ kṣaṇam iva kṣaṇadā vinā taṃ gopyaḥ kathaṃ nv atitarema tamo durantam

Sakhīs, by His captivating, affectionate smile, sweet, intimate conversations, playful glances and loving embraces, the long, long nights of the rāsa-līlā passed in a moment. Indeed, how can we now overcome the boundless anguish we feel in His absence?

अनुराग-विलोकित, वल्गु-मन्त्र-सुललित,
स्मित-आलिङ्गन रास-स्थले
ब्रह्म-रात्र क्षने गेल, तबु तृप्ति ना हैल,
एबे कृष्ण-विरह घटिल

anurāga-vilokita, valgu-mantra-sulalita,
smita-āliṅgana rāsa-sthale
brahma-rātra kṣane gela, tabu tṛpti nā haila,
ebe kṛṣṇa-viraha ghaṭila

गोपीर एमन दिन केमने याइबे
दुःखेर सागरे डूबे प्राण हाराइबे

gopīra emana dina kemane yāibe
duḥkhera sāgare ḍūbe prāṇa hārāibe

Commentary: Bhajana-rahasya-vṛtti:

When Śrī Kṛṣṇa was about to depart for Mathurā, the vraja-gopīs, who were distressed by the fear of imminent separation from Him, began to lament and reproach Vidhātā (Providence) in various ways. They said, “Today cruel (krūra ) Vidhātā has arrived in Vraja, bearing the name Akrūra (‘not cruel’). We gave up our families and religious principles, and offered our everything unto the lotus feet of our prāṇakānta Śyāmasundara. Now what will happen to us? Oh! Destiny is unfavourable to us! There is no way to save us from this.”

Another gopī said, “O sakhī, today we shall give up all shyness and hesitation; we will somehow put a stop to Govinda’s journey. Seeing our boldness and independence, all of our relatives will be displeased, our family elders will not tolerate our shamelessness and our relatives and friends will punish us, threaten us with death, or forcibly evict us from our homes. But sakhī, we have already given up all attachment to home and bodily relationships. If we are put out of our homes, it will be auspicious for us, because then we will easily attain the company of Govinda. We shall give up our homes and roam here and there with Him. Even if they punish us with death, there will be no loss, because it is better to die than be separated from Govinda. If they lock us in our homes we will die happily, meditating on Govinda. Therefore sakhī, why wait? Go quickly! Do not delay in putting a stop to Govinda’s journey.” While Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s beloveds lamented in the burning heat of sepa ration, they fell unconscious. At that time, happy memories of meeting began to awaken in their hearts, where the previous night of rāsa manifested. Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s gentle, sweetly smiling and loving lotus face, His affectionate, charming conversations and His affectionate, strong embrace manifested on the screen of their hearts, and that night seemed to pass very slowly. The pain of separation, stimulated by the thought of being deprived of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s sweet company, felt like countless forest fires. The gopīs lamented, “How can we cross this ocean of suffering? How can we remain alive without our prāṇakānta? In the afternoon, when Śrī Kṛṣṇa, surrounded by the cowherd boys, returns home from the forest, the beauty of His face is unprecedented. The indescribable sound of the muralī and His sidelong glances stir our hearts. His face, which is covered by the dust that has been raised by the cows’ hooves, His curly locks of hair, the extraor dinarily beautiful garland of forest flowers around His neck, and His sidelong glances all reveal His love-filled desires. How can we forget all our loving exchanges?”

That day Śrī Kṛṣṇa prepared to go to Mathurā, leaving the gopīs behind. Who can express their deep anguish? When the time for departure came, the barrier of their composure broke and they all assembled, loudly expressing the great pain in their hearts by incessantly wailing, “O Govinda! O Dāmodara! O Mādhava!”

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