Monday, November 14, 2016

Purnima and Rasa Yatra November 14th

Today is Purnima and Krsna Rasa-yatra, November 14th

Kṛṣṇa's rāsa dance should never be compared with any kind of material dance, such as a ball dance or a society dance. The rāsa dance is a completely spiritual performance. In order to establish this fact, Kṛṣṇa, the supreme mystic, expanded Himself in many forms and stood beside each gopī. Placing His hands on the shoulders of the gopīs on both sides of Him, He began to dance in their midst. The mystic expansions of Kṛṣṇa were not perceived by the gopīs because Kṛṣṇa appeared alone to each of them. Each gopī thought that Kṛṣṇa was dancing with her alone. 

Above that wonderful dance flew many airplanes carrying the denizens of the heavenly planets, who were very anxious to see the wonderful dance of Kṛṣṇa with the gopīs. The Gandharvas and the Kinnaras began to sing, and, accompanied by their respective wives, all the Gandharvas began to shower flowers on the dancers.

As the gopīs and Kṛṣṇa danced together, a very blissful musical sound was produced from the tinkling of their bells, ornaments and bangles. It appeared that Kṛṣṇa was a greenish sapphire locket in the midst of a golden necklace decorated with valuable stones. While Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs danced they displayed extraordinary bodily features. The movements of their legs, their placing their hands on one another, the movements of their eyebrows, their smiling, the movements of the breasts of the gopīs and their clothes, their earrings, their cheeks, their hair with flowers -- as they sang and danced these combined together to appear like clouds, thunder, snow and lightning. 

Kṛṣṇa's bodily features appeared just like a group of clouds, their songs were like thunder, the beauty of the gopīs appeared to be just like lightning in the sky, and the drops of perspiration visible on their faces appeared like falling snow. In this way, both the gopīs and Kṛṣṇa fully engaged in dancing.
The necks of the gopīs became tinted with red due to their desire to enjoy Kṛṣṇa more and more. To satisfy them, Kṛṣṇa began to clap His hands in time with their singing. Actually the whole world is full of Kṛṣṇa's singing, but it is appreciated in different ways by different kinds of living entities. 

This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā: ye yathā māṁ prapadyante. Kṛṣṇa is dancing, and every living entity is also dancing, but there is a difference in the dancing in the spiritual world and in the material world. This is expressed by the author of Caitanya-caritāmṛta, who says that the master dancer is Kṛṣṇa and everyone is His servant. Everyone is trying to imitate Kṛṣṇa's dancing. Those who are actually in Kṛṣṇa consciousness respond rightly to the dancing of Kṛṣṇa: they do not try to dance independently. 

But those in the material world try to imitate Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The living entities are dancing under the direction of Kṛṣṇa's māyā and are thinking that they are equal to Kṛṣṇa. But this is not a fact. In Kṛṣṇa consciousness, this misconception is absent, for a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness knows that Kṛṣṇa is the supreme master and everyone is His servant. One has to dance to please Kṛṣṇa, not to imitate or to become equal to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The gopīs wanted to please Kṛṣṇa, and therefore as Kṛṣṇa sang, they responded and encouraged Him by saying, "Well done, well done." Sometimes they presented beautiful music for His pleasure, and He responded by praising and singing.

When some of the gopīs became very tired from dancing and moving their bodies, they placed their hands on the shoulders of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Then their hair loosened and flowers fell to the ground. When they placed their hands on Kṛṣṇa's shoulder they became overwhelmed by the fragrance of His body which emanated from the lotus, other aromatic flowers, and the pulp of sandalwood. They became filled with attraction for Him, and they began to kiss one another. Some gopīs touched Kṛṣṇa cheek to cheek, and Kṛṣṇa began to offer them chewed betel nuts from His mouth, which they exchanged with great pleasure by kissing. 

And by accepting those betel nuts, the gopīs spiritually advanced.

The gopīs became tired after long singing and dancing. Kṛṣṇa was dancing beside them, and to alleviate their fatigue they took Śrī Kṛṣṇa's hand and placed it on their raised breasts. Kṛṣṇa's hand, as well as the breasts of the gopīs, are eternally auspicious; therefore when they combined, both of them became spiritually enhanced. The gopīs so enjoyed the company of Kṛṣṇa, the husband of the goddess of fortune, that they forgot that they had any other husband in the world, and upon being embraced by the arms of Kṛṣṇa and dancing and singing with Him, they forgot everything. 

The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam thus describes the beauty of the gopīs while they were rāsa dancing with Kṛṣṇa. There were lotus flowers over both their ears, and their faces were decorated with sandalwood pulp. They wore tilaka, and there were drops of sweat on their smiling mouths. From their feet came the tinkling sound of ankle bells as well as bangles. The flowers within their hair were falling to the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, and He was very satisfied.

As stated in the Brahma-saṁhitā, all these gopīs are expansions of Kṛṣṇa's pleasure potency. Touching their bodies with His hands and looking at their pleasing eyes, Kṛṣṇa enjoyed the gopīs exactly as a child enjoys playing with the reflection of his body in a mirror. When Kṛṣṇa touched the different parts of their bodies, the gopīs felt surcharged with spiritual energy. They could not adjust their loosened clothes, although they tried to keep them properly. Their hair and garments became scattered, and their ornaments loosened as they forgot themselves in company with Kṛṣṇa.

While Kṛṣṇa was enjoying the company of the gopīs in the rāsa dance, the astonished demigods and their wives gathered in the sky. The moon, being afflicted with a sort of lust, began to watch the dance and became stunned with wonder. The gopīs had prayed to the goddess Kātyāyanī to have Kṛṣṇa as their husband. Now Kṛṣṇa was fulfilling their desire by expanding Himself in as many forms as there were gopīs and enjoying them exactly as a husband.
Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī has remarked that Kṛṣṇa is self-sufficient--He is ātmārāma. He doesn't need anyone else for His satisfaction. Because the gopīs wanted Kṛṣṇa as their husband, He fulfilled their desire. 

When Kṛṣṇa saw that the gopīs were tired from dancing with Him, He immediately began to smear His hands over their faces so that their fatigue would be satiated. In order to reciprocate the kind hospitality of Kṛṣṇa, the gopīs began to look at Him lovingly. They were overjoyed by the auspicious touch of the hand of Kṛṣṇa. 

Their smiling cheeks shone with beauty, and they began to sing the glories of Kṛṣṇa with transcendental pleasure. As pure devotees, the more the gopīs enjoyed Kṛṣṇa's company, the more they became enlightened with His glories, and thus they reciprocated with Him. They wanted to satisfy Kṛṣṇa by glorifying His transcendental pastimes. Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the master of all masters, and the gopīs wanted to worship Him for His unusual exhibition of mercy upon them.

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.

After this, Lord Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs came out of the water and began to stroll along the bank of the Yamunā, where a nice breeze was blowing, carrying the aroma of different kinds of flowers over the water and land. While strolling on the bank of the Yamunā, Kṛṣṇa recited various kinds of poetry. He thus enjoyed the company of the gopīs in the soothing moonlight of autumn.

Sex desire is especially excited in the autumn season, but the wonderful thing about Kṛṣṇa's association with the gopīs is that there was no question of sex desire. It was, as clearly stated in the Bhāgavata description by Śukadeva Gosvāmī, avaruddha-saurataḥ, namely the sex impulse was completely controlled. There is a distinction between Lord Kṛṣṇa's dancing with the gopīs and the ordinary dancing of living entities within the material world. In order to clear up further misconceptions about the rāsa dance and the affairs of Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs, Mahārāja Parīkṣit, the hearer of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, told Śukadeva Gosvāmī, "Kṛṣṇa appeared on the earth to establish the regulative principles of religion and to curb the predominance of irreligion. 

But the behavior of Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs might encourage irreligious principles in the material world. I am simply surprised that He would act in such a way, enjoying the company of others' wives in the dead of night." This statement of Mahārāja Parīkṣit's was very much appreciated by Śukadeva Gosvāmī. The answer anticipates the abominable acts of the Māyāvādī impersonalists who place themselves in the position of Kṛṣṇa and enjoy the company of young girls and women.

The basic Vedic injunctions never allow a person to enjoy sex with any woman except one's own wife. Kṛṣṇa's appreciation of the gopīs appeared to be distinctly in violation of these rules. Mahārāja Parīkṣit understood the total situation from Śukadeva Gosvāmī, yet to further clear the transcendental nature of Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs in rāsa dance, he expressed his surprise. This is very important in order to check the unrestricted association with women by the prakṛta-sahajiyā.

In his statement, Mahārāja Parīkṣit has used several important words which require clarification. The first word, jugupsitam, means abominable. The first doubt of Mahārāja Parīkṣit was as follows: Lord Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead who has advented Himself to establish religious principles. Why then did He mix with others' wives in the dead of night and enjoy dancing, embracing and kissing? According to the Vedic injunctions, this is not allowed. 

Also, when the gopīs first came to Him, He gave instructions to them to return to their homes. To call the wives of other persons or young girls and enjoy dancing with them is certainly abominable according to the Vedas. Why should Kṛṣṇa have done this?.

Another word used here is āptakāma. Some may take it for granted that Kṛṣṇa was very lusty among young girls, but Parīkṣit Mahārāja said that this was not possible. He could not be lusty. First of all, from the material calculation He was only eight years old. At that age a boy cannot be lusty. Āptakāma means that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is self-satisfied. Even if He were lusty, He doesn't need to take help from others to satisfy His lusty desires. The next point is that, although not lusty Himself, He might have been induced by the lusty desires of the gopīs. 

But Mahārāja Parīkṣit then used another word, yadu-pati, which indicates that Kṛṣṇa is the most exalted personality in the dynasty of the Yadus. The kings in the dynasty of Yadu were considered to be the most pious, and their descendants were also like that. Having taken birth in that family, how could Kṛṣṇa have been induced, even by the gopīs? It is concluded, therefore, that it was not possible for Kṛṣṇa to do anything abominable. But Mahārāja Parīkṣit was in doubt as to why Kṛṣṇa acted in that way. 

What was the real purpose?
Another word Mahārāja Parīkṣit used when he addressed Śukadeva Gosvāmī is suvrata, which means to take a vow to enact pious activities. Śukadeva Gosvāmī was an educated brahmacārī, and under the circumstances, it was not possible for him to indulge in sex. This is strictly prohibited for brahmacārīs, and what to speak of a brahmacārī like Śukadeva Gosvāmī. But because the circumstances of the rāsa dance were very suspect, Mahārāja Parīkṣit inquired for clarification from Śukadeva Gosvāmī. Śukadeva Gosvāmī immediately replied that transgressions of religious principles by the supreme controller testify to His great power. For example, fire can consume any abominable thing; that is the manifestation of the supremacy of fire. Similarly, the sun can absorb water from a urinal or from stool, and the sun is not polluted; rather, due to the influence of sunshine, the polluted, contaminated place becomes disinfected and sterilized.

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