Further Features of Ecstatic Love for Kṛṣṇa
There is the following statement in the Haṁsa-dūta: “One day when Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī was feeling much affliction because of Her separation from Kṛṣṇa, She went to the bank of the Yamunā with some of Her friends. There Rādhārāṇī saw a cottage wherein She and Kṛṣṇa had experienced many loving pleasures, and by remembering those incidents She immediately became overcome with dizziness. This dizziness was very prominently visible.” This is an instance of confusion caused by separation.
Similarly, there is a statement describing confusion caused by fearfulness. These symptoms were exhibited by Arjuna when he saw Kṛṣṇa’s universal form on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra. His confusion was so strong that his bow and arrows fell from his hand and he could not perceive anything clearly.
Once the Bakāsura demon assumed the shape of a very big duck and opened his mouth in order to swallow Kṛṣṇa and all the cowherd boys. When Kṛṣṇa was entering into the demon’s mouth, Balarāma and the other cowherd boys almost fainted and appeared as though they had no life. Even if devotees are illusioned by some ghastly scene or by any accidental occurrence, they never forget Kṛṣṇa. Even in the greatest danger they can remember Kṛṣṇa. This is the benefit of Kṛṣṇa consciousness: even at the time of death, when all the functions of the body become dislocated, the devotee can remember Kṛṣṇa in his innermost consciousness, and this saves him from falling down into material existence. In this way Kṛṣṇa consciousness immediately takes one from the material platform to the spiritual world.
In this connection there is a statement about persons who died at Mathurā: “These persons had a slight breathing exhilaration, their eyes were wide open, the colors of their bodies were changed, and they began to utter the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. In this condition they gave up their material bodies.” These symptoms are prior manifestations of death.
When, because of self-satisfaction or dislike of excessive labor, a person does not perform his duty in spite of having the energy, he is called lazy. This laziness is also manifested in ecstatic love of Kṛṣṇa. For example, when some brāhmaṇas were requested by Nanda Mahārāja to circumambulate Govardhana Hill, they told him that they were more interested in offering benedictions than in circumambulating Govardhana Hill. This is an instance of laziness caused by self-satisfaction.
Once when Kṛṣṇa, along with His cowherd boyfriends, was having a mock battle, Subala showed the symptoms of fatigue. Kṛṣṇa immediately told His other friends, “Subala is feeling too fatigued from mock-fighting with Me. So please do not disturb him any more by inviting him to fight.” This is an instance of laziness caused by dislike of excessive labor.
In the Tenth Canto, twenty-first chapter, verse 13 of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, there is an appreciation by the gopīs of the inertia of the cows in Vṛndāvana. The gopīs saw that the cows were hearing the sweet songs vibrated by Kṛṣṇa’s flute and were appearing to be drinking the nectar of these transcendental sounds. The calves were stunned, and they forgot to drink the milk from the milk bags. Their eyes seemed to be embracing Kṛṣṇa, and there were tears in their eyes. This is an instance of inertia resulting from hearing the transcendental vibrations of Kṛṣṇa’s flute.
When Lakṣmaṇā became disturbed upon hearing words against Kṛṣṇa, she remained inert and did not move her eyelids. This is another example of inertia caused by hearing.
In the Tenth Canto, seventy-first chapter, verse 39 of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, there is an account of King Yudhiṣṭhira’s bewilderment after his bringing Kṛṣṇa into his home with the greatest respect. King Yudhiṣṭhira was very much bewildered because of his transcendental pleasure at having Kṛṣṇa present in his house. In fact, while receiving Kṛṣṇa, King Yudhiṣṭhira forgot himself. This is an instance of inertia resulting from the ecstasy of seeing Kṛṣṇa.
There is another instance in the Tenth Canto, thirty-ninth chapter, verse 36 of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. When Kṛṣṇa was going to Mathurā, all of the gopīs were standing behind Kṛṣṇa, and upon seeing the chariot leaving, they stood there stunned and did not move. They remained like that until the flag of the chariot and the dust thrown up by its wheels became invisible.
Kṛṣṇa was once addressed by His friend thus: “My dear Mukunda [Kṛṣṇa], due to their being separated from You, the cowherd boys are standing just like neglected Deities in the house of a professional brāhmaṇa.” There is a class of professional brāhmaṇas who take to Deity worship as a means of earning their livelihood. Brāhmaṇas in this class are not very interested in the Deity; they are interested mainly in the money they can earn as holy men. So the Deities worshiped by such professional brāhmaṇas are not properly decorated, Their dress is not changed, and Their bodies are not cleaned. They look dirty and are not very attractive. Actually, Deity worship should be done very carefully: the dress should be changed daily, and as far as possible there should be ornaments. Everything should be so clean that the Deity is attractive to all visitors. Here the example is given of the Deities in the house of a professional brāhmaṇa because such Deities are not at all attractive. The friends of Kṛṣṇa, in the absence of Kṛṣṇa, were appearing like such neglected Deities.
When Rādhārāṇī was first introduced to Kṛṣṇa, She felt very bashful. One of Her friends addressed Her in this way: “My dear friend, You have already sold Yourself and all Your beauty to Govinda. Now You should not be bashful. Please look upon Him cheerfully. One who has sold an elephant to another person should not make a miserly quarrel about selling the trident that controls the elephant.” This kind of bashfulness is due to a new introduction in ecstatic love with Kṛṣṇa.
The heavenly king, Indra, upon being defeated in his fight with Kṛṣṇa for possession of the pārijāta flower, became very bashful because of his defeat. He was standing before Kṛṣṇa, bowing down his head, when Kṛṣṇa said, “All right, Indra, you can take this pārijāta flower. Otherwise, you will not be able to show your face before your wife, Śacīdevī.” Indra’s bashfulness was due to defeat. In another instance, Kṛṣṇa began to praise Uddhava for his various high qualifications. Upon being praised by Kṛṣṇa, Uddhava also bowed down his head bashfully.
In the Hari-vaṁśa, Satyabhāmā, feeling slighted by Rukmiṇī’s high position, said, “My dear Kṛṣṇa, the Raivataka Mountain is always full of spring flowers, but when I have become persona non grata to You, what is the use of my observing them?” This is an instance of bashfulness resulting from being defeated.
There is a symptom of ecstatic love known as concealment, or trying to hide one’s real mental condition by externally showing another attitude. In this state of mind one tries to hide his mind by looking away in different directions, by unnecessarily trying for something that is impossible, or by using words that cover one’s real thoughts. According to ācāryas expert in the study of psychological activities, these attempts at hiding one’s real affections are another part of ecstatic feeling for Kṛṣṇa.
In the Tenth Canto, thirty-second chapter, verse 15 of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Śukadeva Gosvāmī states, “My dear King, the gopīs were always beautiful and decorated with confidential smiles and alluring garments. In their movements, intended to give impetus to lusty feelings, they would sometimes press Kṛṣṇa’s hand on their laps, and sometimes they would keep His lotus feet on their breasts. After doing this, they would talk with Kṛṣṇa as if they were very angry with Him.”
There is another instance of this concealment in ecstatic love. When Kṛṣṇa, the supreme joker, planted the pārijāta tree in the courtyard of Satyabhāmā, Rukmiṇī, the daughter of King Vidarbha, became very angry, but due to her natural gentle behavior, she did not express anything. No one could understand Rukmiṇī’s real mental condition. This is an instance of competitive concealment.
There is another instance in the First Canto, eleventh chapter, verse 32 of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. After entering Dvārakā, Kṛṣṇa was received in different ways by different members of His family. Upon seeing their husband from a distance, the queens of Dvārakā immediately embraced Him within their minds and slowly glanced over Him. As Kṛṣṇa came nearer, they pushed their sons forward to embrace Him. Others were trying, out of shyness, not to shed tears, but they still could not keep the tears from gliding down. This is an instance of concealment caused by shyness.
On another occasion, when Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī thought that Kṛṣṇa was involved with another woman, She addressed Her friend in this manner: “My dear friend, as soon as I think of Kṛṣṇa the cowherd boy attached to some other woman, I become stricken with fear and the hairs on My body stand up. I must be very careful that Kṛṣṇa not see Me at such times.” This is an instance of concealment caused by shyness and diplomatic behavior.
It has been stated, “Although Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī developed a deep loving affection for Kṛṣṇa, She hid Her attitude in the core of Her heart so that others could not detect Her actual condition.” This is an instance of concealment caused by gentleness.
Once when Kṛṣṇa and His cowherd friends were enjoying friendly conversation, Kṛṣṇa began to address His associates in casual language. At that time Kṛṣṇa’s servant Patrī was also enjoying the conversation. But then, remembering his position of servitude, Patrī bowed down before his master, and with great respect and control, he stifled his smiling. This subdued smiling is an instance of concealment caused by a respectful attitude.
There are many symptoms of ecstatic love caused by remembering Kṛṣṇa. For example, one friend of Kṛṣṇa informed Him, “My dear Mukunda, just after observing a bluish cloud in the sky, the lotus-eyed Rādhārāṇī immediately began to remember You. And simply by observing this cloud She became lusty for Your association.” This is an instance of remembering Kṛṣṇa in ecstatic love because of seeing something resembling Him. Kṛṣṇa’s bodily complexion is very similar to the bluish hue of a cloud, so simply by observing a bluish cloud, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī remembered Him.
One devotee said that even when he was not very attentive he would sometimes, seemingly out of madness, remember the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa within his heart. This is an instance of remembrance resulting from constant practice. In other words, devotees who are constantly thinking of the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, even if they are momentarily inattentive, will see the figure of Lord Kṛṣṇa appearing within their hearts.
Madhumaṅgala was an intimate friend of Kṛṣṇa coming from the brāhmaṇa community. Kṛṣṇa’s friends were mostly cowherd boys belonging to the vaiśya community, but there were others who belonged to the brāhmaṇa community. Actually, in Vṛndāvana the vaiśya community and the brāhmaṇa community are considered prominent. This Madhumaṅgala one day addressed Kṛṣṇa in this fashion: “My dear friend, I can see that You are not aware of the peacock feathers that are falling on the ground, and at the same time You are unmindful of the flower garlands that are offered to You. I think I can guess the reason for Your absentmindedness when I see Your two eyes flying over to the eyes of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, just like black drones flying to lotus flowers.” This is an instance of an argumentative suggestion in ecstatic love.
Once while Kṛṣṇa was out walking, one of the associates of Rādhārāṇī told Her, “My dear friend, do You think that this walking personality is a tamāla tree?* If He is a tamāla tree, then how is it possible for Him to walk and be so beautiful? Then, this personality might be a cloud. But if He’s a cloud, then where is the beautiful moon within? Under the circumstances, I think it may be granted that this person is the same enchanting Personality of Godhead by whose flute vibration the three worlds are captivated. He must be the same Mukunda who is standing before Govardhana Hill.” This is another instance of an argumentative presentation of ecstatic love.
* The tamāla tree is always described as being the same color as Kṛṣṇa.
In the Tenth Canto, twenty-ninth chapter, verse 29 of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, when Kṛṣṇa asked all the gopīs to go back to their homes, they did not like it. Because of their grief at this, they were sighing heavily and their beautiful faces appeared to be drying up. In this condition they remained, without making a sound. They began to draw lines on the ground with their toes, and with their tears they washed the black ointment from their eyes onto their breasts, which were covered with red kuṅkuma powder. This is an instance of anxiety in ecstatic love.
One of the friends of Kṛṣṇa once informed Him, “My dear killer of the demon Mura, Your kind and gentle mother is very anxious because You have not returned home, and with great difficulty she has passed the evening constantly sitting on the balcony of Your home. It is certainly astonishing how You could forget Your mother while You are off somewhere engaged in Your playful activities!” This is another instance of deep anxiety in ecstatic love.
When mother Yaśodā was very anxiously waiting for Kṛṣṇa to return from Mathurā, Mahārāja Nanda gave her this solace: “My dear Yaśodā, please don’t be worried. Please dry your beautiful lotuslike face. There is no need for you to breathe so hotly. I will go immediately with Akrūra to the palace of Kaṁsa and get your son back for you.” Here is an instance of anxiety in ecstatic love caused by Kṛṣṇa’s awkward position.
In the Vaiśākha-māhātmya section of the Padma Purāṇa a devotee states that though in some of the eighteen Purāṇas the process of glorifying Lord Viṣṇu is not mentioned and the glorifying of some demigod is offered, such glorification must be continued for millions of years. For when one studies the Purāṇas very scrutinizingly, he can see that ultimately Lord Viṣṇu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is an instance of ecstatic love developed out of thoughtfulness.
In the Tenth Canto, sixtieth chapter, verse 39 of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, there is an account of Rukmiṇī-devī’s writing a letter to Kṛṣṇa requesting Him to kidnap her before her marriage to another person. At that time the specific attachment of Rukmiṇī for Kṛṣṇa was expressed by Rukmiṇī as follows: “My dear Lord Kṛṣṇa, Your transcendental glories are chanted by great sages who are free from material contamination, and in exchange for such glorification You are so kind that You freely distribute Yourself to such devotees. As one can elevate oneself simply by Your grace, so also by Your direction alone one may be lost to all benedictions, under the influence of eternal time. Therefore I have selected Your Lordship as my husband, brushing aside personalities like Brahmā and Indra – not to mention others.” Rukmiṇī enhanced her love for Kṛṣṇa simply by thinking of Him. This is an instance of thoughtfulness in ecstatic love.
When a person is fully satisfied due to attaining knowledge, transcending all distress or achieving his desired goal of life in transcendental devotional service to God, his state of endurance or steady-mindedness is called dhṛti. At this stage one is not perturbed by any amount of loss, nor does anything appear to be unachieved by him.
According to the opinion of Bhartṛhari, a learned scholar, when a person is elevated to this state of endurance, he thinks as follows: “I do not wish to be a highly posted government servant. I shall prefer to remain naked, without proper garments. I shall prefer to lie down on the ground without any mattress. And despite all these disadvantages, I shall refuse to serve anyone, even the government.” In other words, when one is in ecstatic love with the Personality of Godhead, he can endure any kind of disadvantages calculated under the material concept of life.
Nanda Mahārāja, the father of Kṛṣṇa, used to think, “In my pasturing ground the goddess of fortune is personally present, and I possess more than ten hundred thousand cows, which loiter here and there. And above all, I have a son like Kṛṣṇa, who is such a powerful, wonderful worker. Therefore, even though I am a householder, I am feeling so satisfied!” This is an instance of mental endurance resulting from the absence of all distress.
In another instance a devotee says, “I am always swimming in the nectarean ocean of the pastimes of the Personality of Godhead, and as such I have no more attraction for religious rituals, economic development, sense gratification or even the ultimate salvation of merging into the existence of Brahman.” This is an instance of the mind’s endurance due to achieving the best thing in the world. The best thing in the world is absorption in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
It is described in the Viṣṇu Purāṇa that when Akrūra came to take Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma to Mathurā, just by seeing Their faces he became so cheerful that all over his body there were symptoms of ecstatic love. This state is called happiness.
It is stated in the Tenth Canto, thirty-third chapter, verse 11 of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, “Upon seeing that Kṛṣṇa’s arm was placed on her shoulder, one of the gopīs engaged in the rāsa dance became so ecstatically happy that she kissed Kṛṣṇa on His cheek.” This is an instance of feeling happiness because of achieving a desired goal.
In the Tenth Canto, seventy-first chapter, verse 33 of Śrīmad–Bhāgavatam, it is said, “When Kṛṣṇa first came from His kingdom, Dvārakā, to Indraprastha,* the young females of the city became so eager to see Him that even at night, when they were lying down with their husbands, they could not restrain their eagerness. Even though they were not properly dressed and although their hair was loose and there were many household duties to perform, they still gave up everything and immediately went into the street to see Kṛṣṇa.” This is an instance of eagerness in ecstatic love.
* Indraprastha is the present-day Delhi.
In his book Stavāvalī, Śrī Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī has prayed for the mercy of Rādhārāṇī, who was so captivated by the flute vibrations of Kṛṣṇa that She immediately asked information of His whereabouts from residents in the Vṛndāvana forest. Upon first seeing Kṛṣṇa, She was filled with such ecstatic love and pleasure that She began to scratch Her ears. The damsels of Vraja and Rādhārāṇī were very expert in talking cunningly, so as soon as they saw Kṛṣṇa they began their talkings; and Kṛṣṇa, pretending to go for some flowers for them, immediately left that place and entered into a mountain cave. This is another instance of eager loving exchanges on the parts of both the gopīs and Kṛṣṇa.
When Kṛṣṇa was fighting with the Kāliya snake by dancing on his heads, Kāliya bit Kṛṣṇa on the leg. At that time Garuḍa became infuriated and began to murmur, “Kṛṣṇa is so powerful that simply by His thundering voice the wives of Kāliya have had miscarriages. Because my Lord has been insulted by this snake, I wish to devour him immediately, but I cannot do so in the presence of my Lord because He may become angry with me.” This is an instance of eagerness to act in ecstatic love as a result of dishonor to Kṛṣṇa.
When Śiśupāla objected to the worship of Kṛṣṇa in the Rājasūya arena at a sacrifice organized by Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, Sahadeva, the younger brother of Arjuna, said, “A person who cannot tolerate the worship of Kṛṣṇa is my enemy and is possessed of a demoniac nature. Therefore I wish to strike my left foot upon his broad head, just to punish him more strongly than the wand of Yamarāja!” Then Baladeva began to lament like this: “Oh, all auspiciousness to Lord Kṛṣṇa! I am so surprised to see that the condemned descendants of the Kuru dynasty, who so unlawfully occupied the throne of the Kuru kingdom, are criticizing Kṛṣṇa with diplomatic devices. Oh, this is intolerable!” This is another instance of eagerness caused by dishonor to Kṛṣṇa.
HAUGHTINESS, RESULTING IN DISHONORABLE WORDS
In the Vidagdha-mādhava, Jaṭilā, the mother-in-law of Rādhārāṇī, began to criticize Kṛṣṇa in this way: “Kṛṣṇa, You are standing here, and Rādhārāṇī, who has just been married to my son, is also standing here. Now I know both of You very well, so why should I not be very anxious to protect my daughter-in-law from Your dancing eyes?” This is an instance of dishonorable words used to indirectly criticize Kṛṣṇa.
Similarly, some of the gopīs once began to address Kṛṣṇa with these dishonorable words: “My dear Kṛṣṇa, You are a first-class thief. So please leave this place immediately. We know You love Candrāvalī more than us, but there is no use in praising her in our presence! Kindly do not contaminate the name of Rādhārāṇī in this place!” This is another instance of dishonorable words cast upon Kṛṣṇa in ecstatic love.
There is another statement in the Tenth Canto, thirty-first chapter, verse 16 of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. When all the gopīs came out of their homes to meet Kṛṣṇa in the Vṛndāvana forest, Kṛṣṇa refused to accept them and asked them to go home, giving them some moral instruction. At that time the gopīs spoke as follows: “Dear Kṛṣṇa, there is extreme distress in being out of Your presence, and there is extreme happiness simply in seeing You. Therefore we have all left our husbands, relatives, brothers and friends and have simply come to You, being captivated by the sound of Your transcendental flute. O infallible one, You had better know the reason for our coming here. In plain words, we are here simply because we have been captivated by the sweet sound of Your flute. We are all beautiful girls, and You are so foolish that You are rejecting our association. We do not know anyone other than Yourself who would miss this opportunity to associate with young girls in the dead of night!” This is another instance of indirect insults used against Kṛṣṇa in ecstatic love.
In the Padyāvalī, one of the friends of Rādhārāṇī once addressed Her thus: “My dear friend, please do not be too puffed up because Kṛṣṇa has decorated Your forehead with His own hand. It may be that Kṛṣṇa is yet attracted by some other beautiful girl. I see that the decoration on Your forehead is very nicely made, and so it appears that Kṛṣṇa was not too disturbed in painting it. Otherwise, He could not have painted such exact lines!” This is an instance of envy caused by Rādhā’s good fortune.
In the Tenth Canto, thirtieth chapter, verse 30 of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, there is the following statement: “When the gopīs were searching for Kṛṣṇa and Rādhā after the rāsa dance, they thus began to speak among themselves: ‘We have seen the footprints of Kṛṣṇa and Rādhā on the ground of Vṛndāvana, and they are giving us great pain, because although Kṛṣṇa is everything to us, that girl is so cunning that She has taken Him away alone and is enjoying His kissing without sharing Him with us!’ ” This is another instance of envy of the good fortune of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.
Sometimes when the cowherd boys used to play in the forests of Vṛndāvana, Kṛṣṇa would play on one side, and Balarāma would play on another. There would be competition and mock fighting between the two parties, and when Kṛṣṇa’s party was defeated by Balarāma, the boys would say, “If Balarāma’s party remains victorious, then who in the world can be weaker than ourselves?” This is another instance of envy in ecstatic love.
In the Tenth Canto, fifty-second chapter, verse 41 of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Rukmiṇī addresses a letter to Kṛṣṇa as follows: “My dear unconquerable Kṛṣṇa, my marriage day is fixed for tomorrow. I request that You come to the city of Vidarbha without advertising Yourself. Then have Your soldiers and commanders suddenly surround and defeat all the strength of the King of Magadha, and by thus adopting the methods of the demons, please kidnap and marry me.”
According to the Vedic system there are eight kinds of marriages, one of which is called rākṣasa-vivāha. Rākṣasa-vivāha refers to kidnapping a girl and marrying her by force. This is considered to be a demoniac method. When Rukmiṇī was going to be married to Śiśupāla by the choice of her elder brother, she wrote the above letter to Kṛṣṇa requesting Him to kidnap her. This is an instance of impudence in ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa.
One of the gopīs said, “May Kṛṣṇa’s sweet flute be washed away by the waves of the Yamunā, and let it fall into the ocean! The sweet sound of that flute is so impudent that it makes us lose all composure before our superiors.”
Every evening at sunset Kṛṣṇa used to return from the pasturing ground where He herded cows. Sometimes when mother Yaśodā could not hear the sweet vibration of His flute she would become very anxious, and because of this she would feel dizzy. Thus, dizziness caused by anxiety in ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa is also possible.
When Yaśodā had tied Kṛṣṇa up one time, she began to think, “Kṛṣṇa’s body is so soft and delicate. How could I have tied Him with rope?” Thinking this, her brain became puzzled, and she felt dizziness.
The gopīs were advised by their superiors to bolt the doors at night, but they were so carefree that they did not carry out this order very rigidly. Sometimes, by thinking of Kṛṣṇa, they became so confident of being out of all danger that they would lie down at night in the courtyards of their houses. This is an instance of dizziness in ecstatic love due to natural affection for Kṛṣṇa.
It may be questioned why devotees of Kṛṣṇa should be attacked by dizziness, which is usually considered a sign of the mode of ignorance. To answer this question, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī has said that the devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa are always transcendental to all the modes of material nature; when they feel dizziness or go to sleep, they are not considered to be sleeping under the modes of nature, but are accepted as being in a trance of devotional service. There is an authoritative statement in the Garuḍa Purāṇa about mystic yogīs who are under the direct shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead: “In all three stages of their consciousness – namely, wakefulness, dreaming and deep sleep – the devotees are absorbed in thought of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, in their complete absorption in thought of Kṛṣṇa, they do not sleep.”
Once Lord Baladeva began to talk in His sleep as follows: “O lotus-eyed Kṛṣṇa, Your childhood adventures are manifest simply according to Your own will. Therefore, please immediately dispose of the stubborn pride of this Kāliya serpent.” By saying this, Lord Baladeva astonished the assembly of the Yadus and made them laugh for some time. Then, yawning so hard as to make ripples on His abdomen, Lord Baladeva, the bearer of the plow, returned to His deep sleep. This is an instance of sleepiness in ecstatic love.
A devotee once stated, “I have already conquered the mode of ignorance, and I am now on the platform of transcendental knowledge. Therefore I shall be engaged only in searching after the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” This is an instance of alertness in ecstatic love. Transcendental alertness is possible when the illusory condition is completely overcome. At that stage, when in contact with any reaction of material elements, such as sound, smell, touch or taste, the devotee realizes the transcendental presence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In this condition the ecstatic symptoms (e.g., standing of the hair on the body, rolling of the eyeballs and getting up from sleep) are persistently visible.
When Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī first saw Kṛṣṇa, She suddenly became conscious of all transcendental happiness, and the functions of Her different limbs were stunned. When Lalitā, Her constant companion, whispered into Her ear the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, Rādhārāṇī immediately opened Her eyes wide. This is an instance of alertness caused by hearing the sound of Kṛṣṇa’s name.
One day, in a joking mood, Kṛṣṇa informed Rādhārāṇī, “My dear Rādhārāṇī, I am going to give up Your company.” Upon saying this, He immediately disappeared, and because of this Rādhārāṇī became so afflicted that the hue of Her body changed and She immediately fell down upon the ground of Vṛndāvana. She had practically stopped breathing, but when She smelled the flavor of the flowers on the ground, She awoke in ecstasy and got up. This is an instance of transcendental alertness caused by smelling.
When Kṛṣṇa was touching the body of one gopī, the gopī addressed her companion thus: “My dear friend, whose hand is this touching my body? I had become very afraid after seeing the dark forest on the bank of the Yamunā, but suddenly the touch of this hand has saved me from hysterical fits.” This is an instance of alertness caused by touching.
One of the gopīs informed Kṛṣṇa, “My dear Kṛṣṇa, when You disappeared from the arena of the rāsa dance, our most dear friend, Rādhārāṇī, immediately fell on the ground and lost consciousness. But after this, when I offered Her some of Your chewed betel nut remnants, She immediately returned to consciousness with jubilant symptoms in Her body.” This is an instance of alertness caused by tasting.
One night Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī was talking in a dream. “My dear Kṛṣṇa,” She said, “please do not play any more jokes on Me! Please stop! And please don’t touch My garments either. Otherwise I shall inform the elderly persons, and I shall disclose all of Your naughty behavior.” While She was talking like this in a dream, She suddenly awoke and saw some of Her superiors standing before Her. Thus Rādhārāṇī became ashamed and bowed Her head. This is an instance of alertness after awakening from sleep.
There is another instance of this. A messenger from Kṛṣṇa came to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī while She was sleeping, and Rādhārāṇī immediately awakened. Similarly, when Kṛṣṇa began to blow on His flute in the night, all of the gopīs, the beautiful daughters of the cowherd men, immediately got up from their sleep. There is a very beautiful comparison made in this connection: “The lotus flower is sometimes surrounded by white swans, and sometimes it is surrounded by black wasps who are collecting its honey. When there is a thundering in the sky, the swans go away, but the black wasps stay to enjoy the lotus flowers.” The gopīs’ sleeping condition is compared to the white swans, and the sound of Kṛṣṇa’s flute is compared to a black wasp. When Kṛṣṇa’s flute sounded, the white swans, which represent the sleeping condition of the gopīs, were immediately vanquished, and the black wasp sound of the flute began to enjoy the lotus flower of the gopīs’ beauty.
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