Balarama Rasayatra & Sri Krsna Vasanta Rasa

Rasa Lila

Last night I noticed that the moon was full, and it reminded me that this must be Balarama Rasayatra, or the night that Lord Balarama danced the Rasa dance with the Gopis. It was also Sri Krsna Vasanta Rasa, the Lord’s springtime rasa lila pastime. We honor these pastimes with a chapter from the Krsna Book, entitled “Lord Balarama Visits Vrndavana”.

…Lord Balarāma could, of course, understand the ecstatic feelings of the gopīs, and therefore He wanted to pacify them. He was expert in presenting an appeal, and thus, treating the gopīs very respectfully, He began to narrate the stories of Kṛṣṇa so tactfully that the gopīs became satisfied. In order to keep the gopīs in Vṛndāvana satisfied, Lord Balarāma stayed there continually for two months, namely the months of Caitra (March-April) and Vaiśākha (April-May). For those two months He kept Himself among the gopīs, and He passed every night with them in the forest of Vṛndāvana in order to satisfy their desire for conjugal love. Thus Balarāma also enjoyed the rāsa dance with the gopīs during those two months. Since the season was springtime, the breeze on the bank of the Yamunā was blowing very mildly, carrying the aroma of different flowers, especially of the flower known as kaumudī. Moonlight filled the sky and spread everywhere, and thus the banks of the Yamunā appeared to be very bright and pleasing, and Lord Balarāma enjoyed the company of the gopīs there.

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Sri Krsna Rasa-yatra

Rasa Lila

Today being Purnima (the Full Moon), is also the End of Kartika, Sri Krsna Rasa-yatra (the purnima or full moon of Damodara month is the second full moon of the autumn season, and rasa lila is again celebrated), Tulasi-Saligrama Vivaha (this is the celebration of the marriage ceremony of Srimati Tulsi Devi and Lord Sri Krishna), and the Last Day of Caturmasya.

In honor of this auspicious day, we are posting the Introduction to the Rasa Dance, Chapter 29 of the Krsna Book.

…The appearance of the moon increased Kṛṣṇa’s desire to dance with the gopīs. The forests were filled with fragrant flowers. The atmosphere was cooling and festive. When Lord Kṛṣṇa began to blow His flute, the gopīs all over Vṛndāvana became enchanted. Their attraction to the vibration of the flute increased a thousand times due to the rising full moon, the red horizon, the calm and cool atmosphere, and the blossoming flowers. All these gopīs were by nature very much attracted to Kṛṣṇa’s beauty, and when they heard the vibration of His flute, they became apparently lustful to satisfy the senses of Kṛṣṇa.

Immediately upon hearing the vibration of the flute, they all left their respective engagements and proceeded to the spot where Kṛṣṇa was standing. While they ran very swiftly, all their earrings swung back and forth. They all rushed toward the place known as Vaṁśīvaṭa. Some of them were engaged in milking cows, but they left their milking business half finished and immediately went to Kṛṣṇa. One of them had just collected milk and put it in a milk pan on the oven to boil, but she did not care whether the milk overboiled and spilled–she immediately left to go see Kṛṣṇa. Some of them were breast feeding their small babies, and some were engaged in distributing food to the members of their families, but they left all such engagements and immediately rushed towards the spot where Kṛṣṇa was playing His flute. Some were engaged in serving their husbands, and some were themselves engaged in eating, but neither caring to serve their husbands nor eat, they immediately left. Some of them wanted to decorate their faces with cosmetic ointments and to dress themselves very nicely before going to Kṛṣṇa, but unfortunately they could not finish their cosmetic decorations nor put on their dresses in the right way because of their anxiety to meet Kṛṣṇa immediately. Their faces were decorated hurriedly and were haphazardly finished; some even put the lower part of their dresses on the upper part of their bodies and the upper part on the lower part.

While all the gopīs were hurriedly leaving their respective places, their husbands, brothers and fathers were all struck with wonder to know where they were going. Being young girls, they were protected either by husbands, elderly brothers or fathers. All their guardians forbade them to go to Kṛṣṇa, but they disregarded them. When a person becomes attracted by Kṛṣṇa and is in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he does not care for any worldly duties, even though very urgent. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is so powerful that it gives everyone relief from all material activities. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has written a very nice verse wherein one gopī advises another, “My dear friend, if you desire to enjoy the company of material society, friendship and love, then please do not go to see this smiling boy Govinda, who is standing on the bank of the Yamunā and playing His flute, His lips brightened by the beams of the full moonlight.” Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī indirectly instructs that one who has been captivated by the beautiful smiling face of Kṛṣṇa has lost all attraction for material enjoyments. This is the test of advancement in Kṛṣṇa consciousness: a person advancing in Kṛṣṇa consciousness must lose interest in material activities and personal sense gratification.

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The Process of Meditation

Radha Ramana Lotus feet

…The process of meditation recommended in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is not to fix one’s attention on something impersonal or void.

The process of meditation should begin from the lotus feet of the Lord and progress to His smiling face. The meditation should be concentrated upon the lotus feet, then the calves, then the thighs, and in this way higher and higher. The more the mind becomes fixed upon the different parts of the limbs, one after another, the more the intelligence becomes purified. (SB 2.2.13)

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Sri Hamsadutta

Radha and Krishna

This very beautiful translation of “Sri Hamsadutta” by Srila Rupa Goswami, is the work of His Grace Kusakratha prabhu (ACBSP).

Some of the literature, that Kuskratha Prabhu has translated, is so confidentially elevated that many devotees are not yet ready to grasp it. Nevertheless, these immortal works now stand as a vast body of reference material for the Vaisnava community to consult. Aside from accurately transmitting the words of the acaryas, Kusakratha has also rendered thousands of pages of glorification of Krishna through his personal English poetic composition. Some of these compositions have been published though many have not, as of yet.

More on Kuskratha Prabhu at bottom of post…but this is just a sampling of the Sri Hamsadutta before we post it here in its entirety.

May a certain blissful person in splendid yellow silk garments, the soles of His lotus feet glorious as a host of red roses, His form dark as a tamala tree, and His mouth playfully curved in a gentle smile, appear in my heart. (Text One)

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The Lord’s Omnipotency; Vaibhava-Prakasa

rasa dance

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Here is a new word for your Vaisnava Vocabulary; vaibhava-prakāśa. As I was reading the Krsna Book the other day this word vaibhava-prakāśa just jumped out from the pages, and I was reminded again of the Lord’s omnipotency.

“The Lord’s omnipotency is displayed by His simultaneous presence in every place. He is present always in His eternal abode Goloka Vṛndāvana, and still He is present in everyone’s heart and even within every invisible atom.” (SB 1.9.10 purport)

“The personal form of Kṛṣṇa can be divided into two: svayam-rūpa and svayam-prakāśa. As far as His svayam-rūpa (or pastime form) is concerned, it is in that form that He remains always in Vṛndāvana with the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana. This personal form (svayam-rūpa) can be further divided into the prābhava and vaibhava forms. For instance, Kṛṣṇa expanded Himself in multiple forms during the rāsa dance in order to dance with each and every gopī who took part in forms in order to accommodate His 16,108 wives.

… As far as Kṛṣṇa is concerned, when He manifested Himself in different forms, each and every one of them was a separate individual. When Nārada Muni visited Kṛṣṇa at different palaces at Dvārakā, he was astonished at this,…He wondered how the Lord was present with His queens in each and every one of His 16,108 palaces. With each queen, Kṛṣṇa Himself was in a different form, and He was acting in different ways. In one form He was engaged in playing with His children, and in yet another form He was performing some household work. These different activities are conducted by the Lord when He is in His “emotional” forms, which are known as vaibhava-prakāśa expansions. Similarly, there are other unlimited expansions of the forms of Kṛṣṇa, but even when they are divided or expanded without limit, they are still one and the same. There is no difference between one form and another. That is the absolute nature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” ( Teachings of Lord Chaitanya)

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Kṛṣṇa Rāsa-yātrā

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Today is a very auspicious day on the Vaisnave Calender, as it marks the end of Kartika, the end of Caturmasya, the Full Moon (Purnima) of the Month of Damodara, the Krsna Rasa-yatra, the Marriage of Tulasi & Salagrama, and the Appearance of Nimbarkacarya.

Just a word about Krsna Rasa-yatra from the Vaisnava Calendar …”The purnima or full moon of Damodara month is the second full moon of the autumn season, and rasa lila is again celebrated. This second rasa yatra is celebrated more in Bengal, whereas the first one is celebrated more in Vrndavana.

On this day one should perform full worship of Radha and Krsna with many flowers, and place them in a rasa mandapa surrounded by the gopis.”

In honor of all the auspiciousness, we are posting a chapter from Srila Prabhupada’s Kṛṣṇa Book entitled “The Rāsa Dance: Introduction”. Hare Krishna!

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Remembering Krishna

In the previous article, Srila Prabhupada is describing the nine types of devotional service recommended ….(hearing, chanting, remembering, worshiping, praying, serving, engaging as a servitor of the Lord, establishing friendly relations with the Lord, offering everything to the Lord). These are all easy to practice and should be joyfully performed. So with this in mind we are posting one of Krishna’s unlimited pastimes, to help us in remembering the Lord.

Both the gopīs and Kṛṣṇa entered the water of the Yamunā just to relieve their fatigue from the rāsa dance. The lily flower garlands around the necks of the gopīs were strewn to pieces due to their embracing the body of Kṛṣṇa, and the flowers were reddish from being smeared with the kuṅkuma on their breasts. The bumblebees were humming about in order to get honey from the flowers. Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs entered the water of Yamunā just as an elephant enters a water tank with his many female companions. Both the gopīs and Kṛṣṇa forgot their real identity, playing in the water, enjoying each others’ company and relieving the fatigue of rāsa dancing. The gopīs began to splash water on the body of Kṛṣṇa, all the while smiling, and Kṛṣṇa enjoyed this. As Kṛṣṇa was taking pleasure in the joking words and splashing water, the demigods in the heavenly planets began to shower flowers. The demigods thus praised the superexcellent rāsa dance of Kṛṣṇa, the supreme enjoyer, and His pastimes with the gopīs in the water of Yamunā. (Krsna The Supreme Personality of Godhead Chapter 32)

Image courtsy of Syamarani devi http://www.bhaktiart.net

Lord Balarāma Visits Vṛndāvana

Lord Balarāma Visits Vṛndāvana

Lord Balarāma could, of course, understand the ecstatic feelings of the gopīs, and therefore He wanted to pacify them. He was expert in presenting an appeal, and thus, treating the gopīs very respectfully, He began to narrate the stories of Kṛṣṇa so tactfully that the gopīs became satisfied. In order to keep the gopīs in Vṛndāvana satisfied, Lord Balarāma stayed there continually for two months, namely the months of Caitra (March-April) and Vaiśākha (April-May). For those two months He kept Himself among the gopīs, and He passed every night with them in the forest of Vṛndāvana in order to satisfy their desire for conjugal love. Thus Balarāma also enjoyed the rāsa dance with the gopīs during those two months.

Lord Balarāma Visits Vṛndāvana

From; Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Lord Balarāma became very anxious to see His father and mother, Mahārāja Nanda and Yaśodā. Therefore He started for Vṛndāvana on a chariot with great enthusiasm. The inhabitants of Vṛndāvana had been anxious to see Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma for a very long time. When Lord Balarāma returned to Vṛndāvana, all the cowherd boys and the gopīs had grown up; but still, on His arrival, they all embraced Him, and Balarāma embraced them in reciprocation. After this He came before Mahārāja Nanda and Yaśodā and offered His respectful obeisances unto them. In response, mother Yaśodā and Nanda Mahārāja offered their blessings unto Him. They addressed Him as Jagadīśvara, or the Lord of the universe who maintains everyone. The reason for this was that both Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma maintain all living entities, and yet Nanda and Yaśodā were put into such difficulties on account of Their absence. Feeling like this, they embraced Balarāma and, seating Him on their laps, began their perpetual crying, wetting Balarāma with their tears. Lord Balarāma then offered His respectful obeisances to the elderly cowherd men and accepted the obeisances of the younger cowherd men. Thus, according to their different ages and relationships, Lord Balarāma exchanged feelings of friendship with them. He shook hands with those who were His equals in age and friendship, and with loud laughing embraced each one of them.

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