The Bhagavata Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 780,972 words | ISBN-10: 8120838203 | ISBN-13: 9788120838208

This page describes Search after Krishna which is chapter 30 of the English translation of the Bhagavata Purana, one of the eighteen major puranas containing roughly 18,000 metrical verses. Topics include ancient Indian history, religion, philosophy, geography, mythology, etc. The text has been interpreted by various schools of philosophy. This is the thirtieth chapter of the Tenth Skandha of the Bhagavatapurana.

Chapter 30 - Search after Kṛṣṇa

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

[Note: This is chapter no. 28 in Padaratnāvalī. This chapter shows that none but Lord Hari by His nature possesses all yogic powers. It also shows the intensity of devotion of the GopīsPadaratnāvalī]

Śrī Śuka continued:

1. When the Lord suddenly disappeared, the damsels from Vraja, like she-elephants which have missed the leader of their herd, were deeply distressed, when they could not see him.

2. With their hearts captivated by the graceful movements, loving smiles, lustful glances as also by delightful discourses, amorous dalliances and frolics of the Lord of goddess Lakṣmī (Kṛṣṇa), those young damsels mentally identified themselves with him and began to emulate his various acts and sports.

3. Identifying themselves with Lord Kṛṣṇa and exhibiting Kṛṣṇa’s sportful movements and amorous dalliances, the Gopīs, the beloveds of their darling (Kṛṣṇa), whose persons had become (as it were) the duplicates (of Kṛṣṇa) in deportment, graceful smiling, glancing, speech etc., declared (to each other) “I am Kṛṣṇa.”

4. Singing aloud of Kṛṣṇa’s glory in a chorus, they sought for him, like lunatics, from forest to forest, enquiring of trees about that Lord (the Supreme Man) who, like ether, was pervading all the creatures from within and without.

5. “Oh Aśvattha! Oh Plakṣa! Oh Nyagrodha! (varieties of Indian fig trees). Have you seen the son of Nanda who has absconded, stealing away our hearts by his captivating smiles and bewitching glances?

6. Oh Kurabaka, Asoka, Nāga, Punnāga and Campaka trees! Did the younger brother of Balarāma who humbles the pride of proud women by his smiles pass this way?

7. Oh blessed Tulasī (Basil plant) to whom the feet of Lord Govinda (Kṛṣṇa) are so dear! Have you seen Acyuta, so very beloved of you, wearing you (in a wreath) swarming with bees.

8. (Addressing various flowering trees) Oh Mālatī! Oh Mallikā! Oh Jāti! Oh Yūthikā! Was Mādhava (Lord of Lakṣmī, Kṛṣṇa) seen by you giving you delight by the touch of his hands, while passing by the way?

9. (Invoking other trees) Oh mango tree (of the cūta variety)! Oh Priyāla, Panasa (Jack-fruit tree), Asana, Kovidāra, Jambū (Rose-apple tree), Arka (the sun plant), Bilva (the wood-apple tree), Bakula, Āmra (a variety of mango tree), Kadamba and Nīpa trees and other trees on the bank of the Yamunā—Born as you are for the benefit of others! May you direct the path of Kṛṣṇa to us whose minds are vacant (due to separation from Hari).

10. What austere penance have you performed, Oh Earth, inasmuch as you appear resplendent with your hair standing on their ends through the thrill of joy, at the touch of the feet of Keśava (Kṛṣṇa)! But is this ecstasy due to (the touch of) Kṛṣṇa’s feet just now or is it due to your being bestridden (formerly) by Lord Trivikrama (Viṣṇu, as Vāmana who covered the universe in three steps) or is it caused by the embrace of the Lord when incarnated as a boar (even before Vāmana-incarnation)?

11. Oh female deer! Here is permeated the fragrance of our leader’s—Lord Kṛṣṇa’s—garland of Kunda flowers tinged with (the scent of) saffron applied to the breast of his lady-love (when he hugged her). Did Kṛṣṇa pass this way along with his beloved, giving delight to your eyes by his graceful limbs Oh friend?

12. (To trees which bent low with the load of fruits) Oh trees! Did the younger brother of Balarāma, placing one (i.e. left) hand on the shoulder of his beloved and holding a lotus in the other (i.e. right) hand (to protect his beloved by warding off) the swarms of bees attracted by (the fragrance of) Tulasī and blinded by the intoxication (caused by the fragrance) which followed him—did Kṛṣṇa (ever) come here and was pleased to accept your low bows with glances full of affection (and appreciation)?

13. (Oh friends!) Ask these creepers which have embraced the arms (i.e. branches) of their husbands, the trees, as they certainly exhibit the thrill (sprouts or flowers) of joy at the touch of his finger-nails while plucking a flower for his beloved)

14.[1] Thus the cowherd women became bewildered in their vain search of Kṛṣṇa and raved in this way. With their hearts engrossed (and as if identical) with him, they began to emulate the divine sports of the Lord.

15. One of the Gopīs who imitated Kṛṣṇa sucked the breast of another Gopī who played the part of Pūtanā. Another Gopī emulating Kṛṣṇa, the baby, began to cry and kicked another Gopī who acted the part of a cart (Śakaṭa).

16. Acting the role of a demon (viz. Tṛṇāvarta) carried away another Gopī who behaved like an infant Kṛṣṇa, while a third crawled on all fours dragging the feet and thereby making a jingling sound of the anklets.

17. Two Gopīs enacted[2] the role of Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa while others played the part of cowherds. Out of them one struck a third gopī that played the part of Vatsāsura (a demon in the form of a calf), while another (acting as Kṛṣṇa) struck another (fourth) Gopī who enacted the role of the demon Baka.

18. One imitated Kṛṣṇa shouting out at cows from a distance, while another emulated him and played upon the flute, while others applauded her saying “Well done.”

19. Another Gopī who mentally identified herself with Kṛṣṇa placed her arm on some other Gopī and while following her, told the other “Lo! I am Kṛṣṇa. Look at my graceful gait.”

20. “Don’t be afraid of tempestuous winds and (driving) shower. Protection against them has been provided by me”. Saying so, another Gopī strained herself and held up (a part of) her garment with one hand (as if it were the mount Govardhana[3]).

21. Treading on the head of another Gopī and mounting thereon (one Gopī) ordered, “Now that I, the wielder of the rod of punishment to the wicked, have incarnated, get out from this place, Oh wicked serpent.”[4]

22. (Imagining that all the Gopas are surrounded by forest conflagration and to vouchsafe their protection) another Gopī said, “Oh cowherds! Lo that raging forest fire. Shut up your eyes quickly. I shall speedily accomplish your welfare (rescue from fire)

23. Tied to (a Gopī who represented) a mortar with a wreath by another (Gopī who acted the part of Yaśodā).

23(A).[5] [“Now I bind the thief who has stolen butter and broken a number of (earthen) pots”]. And the lady with beautiful eyes (who was thus bound) covered her face (with hands) and feigned fear (put up a show of trembling with fear).

24. While they were enquiring of the creepers and trees of Vṛndāvana about Kṛṣṇa, they noticed in a certain part of the forest, the foot-prints of the Supreme soul (Kṛṣṇa).

25. “It is obvious that the footprints are definitely those of the noble-souled son of Nanda, as they are identified by the marks such as a flag, a lotus, a vajra, a goad and a barley seed”[6]

26. While they went ahead tracing his path by following those footprints, the poor women were sorely distressed at heart to find them interspersed with those of a young woman and spoke to each other.

27. “Whose foot-prints possibly these can be? Who can be this woman who walked in his company with his hand resting on her shoulder, even as a she-elephant with the trunk of her mate on hers.

28. Certainly the Supreme Ruler, the glorious Lord Hari, has been propitiated[7] by this lady. Hence, being pleased with her, Lord Kṛṣṇa took her to a rendezvous abandoning us all.

29. Oh friends! How blessed are the particles of dust under the Lotus-feet of Lord Govinda—the particles which god Brahmā. Śiva, and goddess Lakṣmī bore on the crowns of their head, for absolving themselves of the sins (which separated them from him. Let us do so, so that by placing the dust on our heads we shall be united with Kṛṣṇa).

30. But these foot-prints of hers cause distress to our hearts inasmuch as only she (out of all Gopīs) has stolen away Kṛṣṇa (who belongs to all of us) and enjoys his kisses in a secret place.

31. But here her foot-prints are not visible. Most probably, seeing that the tender soles of his beloved’s feet are pricked with sharp and pointed blades of grass, her darling Kṛṣṇa has carried her on his shoulders.

32(A).[8] These foot-prints have been sunk more deeply (in the soil) as he was carrying the young woman. Have a look at these foot-prints of love-lorn Kṛṣṇa (obviously) weighed down under a heavy load.

33(B). (Going a few paces ahead, they observe:) It appears that here he set her down for gathering flowers (for putting them in her braid of hair).

32. (Proceeding still further) Here flowers are gathered by the Lover for his beloved. Behold these foot-prints which are not entire as he stood on tip-toe.

33. (Most probably) on this spot the lust-ful Lord has performed the decoration of the hair of his lady-love. He must have certainly taken his seat here for fastening the flowers in her braid.

34. It is with a view to demonstrate to the world the wretched plight of the love-stricken as well as the stone- hearted nature of women that the Lord sported with the lady even though he is ever delighted in his own blissful self, selfsporting Perfect Person unattracted by the amours of women.

35-36. Showing to each other the traces of Kṛṣṇa’s foot-prints in this way, the Gopīs wandered in a despondent mood (concentrating on Kṛṣṇa). And the Gopī whom Kṛṣṇa (in preference to other Gopīs, and) leaving others in the forest, had brought there, now began to regard herself as the most beautiful of all women. Thought she to herself, “the beloved Lord resorts to me only, abandoning all other Gopīs who too love him.”

37. Thereupon, after going to a certain place in the forest, she, being affected with pride, told Śrī Kṛṣṇa, “I am not able to walk any further. Therefore (give me a lift and) take me whither-so-ever you please”.

38. When requested thus, he told his beloved, “Mount on my shoulder” and he disappeared. And the lady lamented in repentance.

39. “Oh Lord! My darling! Oh most beloved one! Where have you gone? I am your miserable slave. Be pleased with me to reveal your Presence, Oh mighty armed Lord!”

40. While the (other) cowherd women went on tracing the path of the Lord, they noticed from a distance, their distressed friend bewildered through her separation from her darling.

41. Listening to her report as to how she was received with honour by Madhava (Kṛṣṇa) and was humiliated by him through her own wickedness, they were extremely astonished.

42. They further probed into the forest (for Kṛṣṇa) so long as the moon-light was available. Seeing that darkness was setting in, they returned from that spot.

43. With their minds absorbed in him, they talked about Kṛṣṇa only; they imitated his movements and sang about his excellences. They became oblivious of their persons, as well as of their homes.

44. Returning to the sandy bank of the Yamunā, the Gopīs contemplated on Kṛṣṇa only. Anxiously waiting for his arrival, they sang of Kṛṣṇa in a chorus.

Footnotes and references:


Padaratnāvalī’s text does not include io verses from this verse (i.e. vv. 14-23 both inclusive).


Historical present is used in some of these verses but for consistent use of tense, past tense is used in translation.


Cf. Viṣṇu Purāṇa 5.13-28.


Cf. Viṣṇu Purāṇa 5. 13. 27.


Bhāgavata Candrikā’s text adds this half-verse.


Cf. Viṣṇu Purāṇa 5.13-32.


SG.: Here the name of that Gopī is Rādhā is indicated by the text: rādhayati ārādhayati iti śrī-rādhā iti nāmakaraṇaṃ darśiṭam’. Although the text of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa. is silent on this point, all commentators of the Bengal school of Vaiṣṇavism presumed that she was Rādhā and have written interesting extensive commentaries on these verses.


31(A) Not found in the Text of Bhāvāratha Dīpikā and Subodhinī

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