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The Gopî Reveals Her Emotions: The Song of the Bee

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Srimad Bhagavatam » Conto 10c   

 The Gopî Reveals Her Emotions: The Song of the Bee

(1-2) S'rî S'uka said: 'When the women of Vraja saw him, the servant of Krishna, with his long arms, being so young, with his lotus eyes, wearing a yellow garment and a lotus garland and with his effulgent lotuslike countenance and polished earrings, wondered they quite astonished from where this handsome man had come and to whom he, wearing Krishna's clothes and ornaments, belonged. With all of them talking like this crowded they eagerly around him who was sheltered by the lotus feet of Uttamas'loka [the Lord Praised in the Scriptures]. (3) In proper respect bowing down to him in humility and shyly smiling with their glances, sweet words and all, inquired they with him, having taken him separate and seated on a pillow, for they had understood that he was an envoy of the Master of the Goddess of Fortune. (4) 'We know that you arrived here as the personal associate of the chief of the Yadus who as your Master has sent you here to satisfy by your mediation His parents. (5) We wouldn't know what there would be else for Him worth to remember in these cow pastures; the bonds of affection with one's relatives are even for a sage difficult to relinquish. (6) The interest in others manifests itself as friendship for as long as it takes; it is a pretense as good as the interest that bees show for flowers or that men show for women. (7) Prostitutes abandon a penniless man, citizens an incompetent king, graduates abandon their teacher and priests one abandons after compensating them. (8) Birds do so with a tree rid of the fruits and guests with the house where they ate; animals abandon the forest that burned down and likewise does a lover so once he has enjoyed an enamored woman.'

(9-10) The gopîs with Uddhava, the messenger of Krishna, having arrived in their midst, did so with their speech, bodies and minds aiming at Krishna, put aside their worldly concerns, singing and crying without restraint in the intense memory of the youth and childhood activities of their Sweetheart. (11) One [noted as Râdhâ, see also *] seeing a honeybee while meditating the association with Krishna imagined it a messenger sent by her Beloved and spoke the following. (12) The gopî said: 'O honeybee, you friend of a cheater, don't touch my feet with your whiskers carrying the kunkum from His garland that rubbed off from the breasts of our rival; He who has sent a messenger such as you is derided in the assembly of the Yadus - let the Lord of Madhu [Himself instead] be of mercy with the women! [prajalpa **] (13) Once He made us drink the nectar from His bewildering lips, but He has suddenly abandoned us like we were some flowers; I wonder why, like you [o bee], the goddess of fortune [Padmâ] serves His lotusfeet - that must be so because, alas, by the chitchat of Krishna her mind has been stolen [parijalpa ***]. (14) O mister sixlegs, why are you singing here so much about the Master of the Yadus in front of us, old friends of the Friend of Vijaya [Arjuna], who abandoned their homes; you better sing of His topics before the [present] girlfriends of whom He [now has] relieved of the pain of their breasts - His sweethearts will provide you the charity you seek [vijalpa *4]. (15) What women in heaven, on earth and below would not be available to Him so deceptive with His charming smiles and arching eyebrows; what is, when the wife of the Fortunate One is of worship with the dust of the feet, the value of us, we for whom being so wretched indeed He at least is there by the sound of 'Uttamas'loka' [ujjalpa *5]? (16) Keep your head off my foot! I know you, you expert who as a messenger from Mukunda learned the diplomacy of flatter! Why should I reconcile with Him who so ungrateful abandoned us, who for His sake in this life have abandoned their children, husbands and everything else [sañjalpa *6]? (17) Against the rules shot He [as Râma, see 9.10 & 11] as cruel as a hunter the king of the monkeys [Vâlî], was He won by a woman [Sîtâ], did He disfigure a woman driven by lust [S'ûrpanakhâ, the sister of Râvana] and did He, after consuming His tribute [as Vâmana], bind Bali up like a crow [see 8.21]; so therefore enough of that Black Boy whom of all friendships is so hard to give up with us losing ourselves in the topics about Him [avajalpa *7]. (18) The ears, just once partaking in a drop of the nectar of the pastimes He constantly performed, do remove one entirely from the duality and ruin the personal duties right away, because of which, rejecting their miserable homes and families, many people out here like birds pursue the livelihood of begging [abhijalpa *8]. (19) We, taking His deceptive speech for true, as foolish doe wives of the black deer trusting the hunter's song, repeatedly experienced this sharp pain of lust caused by the touch of His fingernails; o messenger, I beg, speak of another subject [âjalpa * 9]! (20) O sweet friend, have you by my Beloved once again been sent here - please choose whatever you wish, you are to be honored by me my dearest - why are you with us here raising this conflict of feelings with Him that is so impossible to give up; o gentle one, isn't there always present at His side His consort, the goddess of fortune S'rî, to His chest [pratijalpa * 10]? (21) It certainly is regrettable that the son of Nanda now resides in Mathurâ; does He remember the household affairs of His father, His friends and the cowherd boys so now and then, o great soul, or..., does He still in talks relate to us, the maidservants? When do we have a chance that He will lay His aguru-scented hand on our heads [sujalpa * 11]?'

(22) S'rî S'uka said: 'Uddhava, having heard how the cowherd girls were hankering for the sight of Krishna, next in order to pacify them spoke of the messages of their Sweetheart. (23) S'rî Uddhava said: 'You who in this manner dedicated your minds unto the Supreme Lord Vâsudeva, are for sure to be worshiped by all people, because you fulfilled the purpose of your good selves [of modeling the emotions of relating to Him]. (24) By donating, vows [of poverty, celibacy and fasting], sacrifices, the rosary [japa], by study, and by turning inward concentrating and meditating, and by all kinds of other auspicious practices [see also yama, niyama, vidhi and bhâgavata dharma] is indeed unto Krishna the bhakti, the devotional service, realized. (25) By your good selves unto the Supreme Lord, who is glorified in sublime poetry, have you - and my congratulations for that - established an unequaled devotion hard to attain even for the sages. (26) To your good fortune you chose to leave your sons, husbands, physical comforts, relatives and homes to associate with that superior male personality named Krishna. (27) By the rightful claim of your wholehearted love in separation from Adhokshaja, o glorious ones, have you done me [the Lord and everyone] a great favor. (28) Please, good ladies, hear what the message from your Beloved for you is for the reason of which I, as a faithful servant of my master's orders, came here.

(29) The Supreme Lord has said: 'You women are actually never separated from Me, who is ever present as the Soul of All; just as all the elements, the ether, the fire, the air, the water and the earth are part of all beings, am I likewise, to the elements of the mind, the life air, the senses, and their natural modes [guna, rasa and jalpa] there as their harbor. (30) Within Me do I Myself by means of Myself create, destroy and sustain through the power of My deluding potency that is made up by the elements, the senses and the modes. (31) The soul full of pure spiritual knowledge is, concerning the effect of the modes of nature, uninvolved in what is perceived by the functions of deep sleep, dream sleep and waking consciousness. (32) What one meditates by the senses that run after the objects is as false as a dream is when one wakes up; staying alert should one bring under control that what [in the mind] gathers from the input of the senses [compare B.G. 2: 68 and 6: 35-36]. (33) This, like all rivers ending in the ocean, is of the intelligent the end conclusion to all vedic studies, yoga, analysis, renunciation, penance, sense control and truthfulness [compare B.G. 2: 70]. (34) The fact then that I, who is so dear to your eyes, indeed am situated so far away from you, is according My wish that you, in your solicitude towards Me, are attracted to Me in the mind. (35) For the minds of women remain absorbed when the one dearest to them is far away and not so much the minds of those who have him present directly before their eyes. (36) Your minds totally absorbed in Me will - because of the constant remembrance of Me - having given up on all the restlessness, soon obtain Me. (37) Those remaining here in Vraja while I was sporting at night in the forest [see 10.29: 9] and for that reason not experienced the râsa dance, were as fortunate to achieve Me by thinking of My heroic acts.'

(38) S'rî S'uka said: 'The women of Vraja hearing the instructions this way imparted by their Beloved, next addressed Uddhava, pleased as they were to have their memories revived by the message. (39) The gopîs said: 'Fortunately has the cause of the suffering, the enemy of the Yadus Kamsa, together with his followers been killed. How good it is that Acyuta at present happily lives with His well-wishers who have attained all they desired. (40) O gentle one, perhaps is the elder brother of Gada [Krishna, see 9.24: 46] giving the women of the city the love that belongs to us, we who revere Him affectionately and bashful with inviting smiles and glances. (41) How will our Darling, so versed in all the matters of love, not become bound by the bewildering gestures and words of the city women, who are also [just as we] constantly of worship? (42) And... does Krishna, o pious one, remember us; does He ever mention us, village girls, when He freely talks in the company of the city women? (43) Does He recall those nights in which He enjoyed in Vrindâvana that place so enchanting because of the lotus, the jasmine and the moon, when He with tinkling ankle bells danced with us, His beloved girlfriends, who ever glorify Him with the charming stories about Him? (44) Will that descendant of Das'ârha come over here to bring, perhaps with His touch, back to life us who are tormented with the sorrow He Himself gave rise to, just like Indra would do to [replenish] a forest with his clouds? (45) But why would Krishna come over here now that He, surrounded by all His well-wishers, is happy having attained a kingdom, killed His enemies and married the daughters of kings? (46) What unto Him, the great Soul and husband of the goddess of fortune whose every desire is already fulfilled, would there be to fulfill as a purpose for us, forest-dwellers, or for other women; He's complete in Himself! (47) The highest happiness indeed is found in not hoping for anything, so even stated Pingalâ [a courtesan, see 11.8], yet for us who aware of that are focused on Krishna is it difficult not to hope. (48) Who is able to put out of his mind the thought of the intimate talks with Uttamas'loka, from whose body the goddess, even though He's not desiring her, never moves away? (49) With Sankarshana for His companion lived Krishna, o prabhu, by the rivers, the hills and places in the forest, the cows and the sounds of the flute. (50) Ah!, over and over do those places with the divine markings of His feet remind us of the son of Nanda we really can never forget. (51) O, how can we, whose hearts were stolen by His gait, His playful glances, His generous charming smiles and nectarean words, forget Him? (52) O Master, Master of the Goddess, Master of Vraja, o Destroyer of the Suffering, o Govinda lift Gokula up from the ocean of misery it is submerged in!'

(53) S'rî S'uka said: 'They, with their fever of separation removed by Krishna's messages, then worshiped him recognizing him as Adhokshaja Himself. (54) Remaining there for some months singing the topics of Krishna's pastimes, gave he joy to Gokula dispelling the sorrow of the gopîs. (55) All the days that Uddhava dwelled in Nanda's cowherd village passed for the residents of Vraja in a single moment, because they were all filled with discussions about Krishna. (56) Seeing the rivers, forests, mountains, valleys and flowering trees, took the servant of the Lord pleasure in inspiring the people of Vraja about Krishna. (57) Noticing all this and more of the gopîs' total absorption in Krishna and their agitation to it, was Uddhava extremely pleased and sang he, offering them all respect, the following: (58) 'These women, with success maintaining their bodies on this earth as cowherd women exclusively for Govinda, the Soul of All, all by themselves achieved perfection in their loving ecstasy - a love that is desired as well as by us as by the sages who fear a material existence; what use is it to be blessed with the [three] births of a brahmin [from his mother, his guru and his sacrifices] if one has the taste for the topics of the Unlimited Lord? (59) Where is one compared to these women who, impure in their conduct towards Krishna, wander in the forests; what is one's position compared to this stage of perfect love for the Supreme Soul? - most certainly is the Controller of the one who is of constant worship, even when he's not very learned, directly bestowing the highest good, the good that imbibed works like the very best of all medicines [that is: irrespective the person]. (60) The Vraja ladies in this being blessed by the embrace of Uttamas'loka in the râsa dance was, o pity, not reserved for the goddess on His chest who is so intimately related, this was not the favor for the women of heaven with their scent and luster of a lotus flower, and much less was it granted to others of worldly beauty [10.33]. (61) Oh, let me be devoted to the dust of the lotusfeet of the gopîs in Vrindâvana, let me be any of the bushes, creepers or herbs [there in relation] to them who, in worship of the feet of Mukunda, for whom one searches with the help of the Vedas, gave up the family members so difficult to leave behind and the path of civil correctitude. (62) The feet of the Supreme Lord of which the goddess, the unborn one, and the other gods, even being accomplished as masters of yoga, can only think of, were by them indeed in the gathering of the râsa dance placed on their breasts, so that by that embrace their anguish was vanquished. (63) To the dust of the feet of the cowherd women of Vraja, of whose loud chanting the stories of Krishna the three worlds are purified, my respects again and again.'

(64) S'rî S'uka said: 'Then taking permission to leave of the gopîs, of Yas'odâ and Nanda as also of the gopas, mounted the descendant of Das'ârha, ready to take off, his chariot. (65) Approaching him, as he was riding out, with various items of worship in their hands, spoke Nanda and the others affectionately with tears in their eyes. (66) 'May our minds always take to the shelter of the lotusfeet of Krishna, may our words express His names, and may our bodies bowing down and all of that, so act for His sake. (67) Wherever we for our work to the will of the Controller are being made to wander, may there, of what we do and give away in charity, be the auspiciousness of our attachment to Krishna our Lord.'

(68) After the gopas thus had honored him with Krishna bhakti, o first among men, turned Uddhava back to Mathurâ, the city that now enjoyed the protection of Krishna. (69) Before Krishna falling down to pay his respects, told he Him of the intense devotion of the residents of Vraja and gave he the gifts he had brought with him to Vasudeva, Balarâma and the king [Ugrasena].'  

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SOURCE: Translation: Anand Aadhar Prabhu, http://bhagavata.org/

Production: the Filognostic Association of The Order of Time, with special thanks to Sakhya Devi Dasi for proofreading and correcting the manuscript. http://theorderoftime.com/info/guests-friends.html

The sourcetexts, illustrations and music to this translation one can find following the links from: http://bhagavata.org/