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

The Bhajana-rahasya Text 14, 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 14 belonging to the chapter “Ashtama-yama-sadhana (Ratri-lila–prema-bhajana sambhoga)” representing from midnight to three-and-a-half praharas of the night: approximately 00.00 a.m.–3.30 a.m.

When the gopīs think of Kṛṣṇa wandering in the forest, they experience great sorrow.

A description of their deep love for Him at this time is given in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.31.11):

चलसि यद् व्रजाच् चारयन् पशून् नलिन-सुन्दरं नाथ ते पदम्
शिल-तृणाङ्कुरैः सीदतीति नः कलिलतां मनः कान्त गच्छति

calasi yad vrajāc cārayan paśūn nalina-sundaraṃ nātha te padam
śila-tṛṇāṅkuraiḥ sīdatīti naḥ kalilatāṃ manaḥ kānta gacchati

O Prāṇa-vallabha! O Kānta! When You go to the forests of Vraja to herd the cows, the soles of Your soft lotus feet, which are like beautiful blue lotuses, must suffer as they are pricked by small stones and dry straw. Thought of this disturbs our hearts and minds.

धेनु ल’ये व्रज ह’ते यबे याओ वने
नलिन-सुन्दर तव कमल-चरणे

dhenu la’ye vraja ha’te yabe yāo vane
nalina-sundara tava kamala-caraṇe

शिलाङ्कुरे कष्ट ह’बे मनेते विचारि’
महा-दुःख पाइ मोरा ओहे चित्तहारि

śilāṅkure kaṣṭa ha’be manete vicāri’
mahā-duḥkha pāi morā ohe cittahāri

Commentary: Bhajana-rahasya-vṛtti:

In the preceding verse [of Gopī-gīta, beginning prahasitaṃ priya] the vraja-sundarīs felt distress and their hearts became restless due to remembering their pūrva-rāga (attachment that proceeds meeting) towards their prāṇakānta Śrī Kṛṣṇa–His loving glances, His gentle smile, His joking and talking with them in a secluded place, and so forth. Now, they direct their words towards Śrī Kṛṣṇa, saying, “O deceiver of the heart, how we will ever attain peace, we do not know! Our hearts are anxious both when we meet with You and when we are separated from You; they are agitated in all conditions. O Kṛṣṇa, in the morning, You are surrounded by countless sakhās as You take innumerable cows to graze in the forest, and the Vrajavāsīs, deprived of Your darśana, are plunged into a deep ocean of separation from You. When we think of Your lotus feet, which are softer than a thousand-petalled lotus, being pierced by dry straw, thorns, sharp grass and so forth, our worry knows no bounds. How can we tolerate pain to Your lotus feet, which we consider nondifferent from our hearts? First, we suffer in separation from You, and then, on top of that, we experience the pain Your crimson lotus feet undergo. How can we tolerate this? Both types of pain break the limit of our endurance. O Prāṇakānta, please do not abuse Your lotus feet. We remember that while roaming throughout the forest with You, You would ask us to remove the thorns that pricked Your feet. We would take Your feet on our body and remove the thorns gently and slowly. But when Your feet are pricked now, who will care for them?”

Kānta kalilatāṃ mano gacchati–“We think, ‘O Kānta, surely Your soft, tender, lotus feet will be pierced by thorns, sharp grass and stone chips.’ By such thoughts, our minds begin to quarrel with us.

“Our minds tell us, ‘Does Kṛṣṇa not have eyes? He can see the thorns, sharp grass and stone chips as He walks, and He will avoid them.’

“To this we reply, ‘O cruel mind, the foolish cows gallop off into rough places that are full of thorns, sharp grass and stones. They do not feel them because they have hooves. But when Śyāmasundara runs after these galloping cows, will He see these things and tread carefully? His soft lotus feet will surely be pierced by thorns.’

“The mind argues, ‘O ignorant milkmaids, do you not know that Vṛndāvana’s thorns and stones are also very soft?’

“Then we say, ‘O mind, we do not believe this. We used to remove thorns and sharp grass from Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet ourselves.’”

In this way, the gopīs quarrel with their minds. Finally, their minds say, “You can remain in such anxiety–I am going to Kṛṣṇa.”

If Kṛṣṇa says, “O gopīs, why are you so worried about Me?” the gopīs will answer, “O Kānta, You make our minds restless and disturbed with transcendental lust, so our intelligence has become dull. O Prāṇanātha, please do not roam here and there in the forest. Quickly return and give us Your darśana.”

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