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Amma’s stories on Krishna– The Gopi’s selfless love on Krishna (18 stories)

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  1. The sorrow and joy of Gopis

[Amma: “Where there is true love, one gets happiness in seeing  the beloved one being happy, even if the beloved one is the cause of one’s own sorrow.” ]

Once a visitor from Mathura travelled to Brindavan and met the Gopi’s there. He noticed that the Gopis were still immersed in the sorrow of having been separated from their beloved Krishna.  With tearful eyes, they expressed their anguish of living without the blissful company of lord Krishna. They took the visitor to many places in Brindavan to show where Krishna enacted his childhood leelas — “See, this is the place where Krishna killed the poisonous snake Kalia; this is the meadow where Krishna used to take the cows for grazing. This is the place where he killed Chakadasura…” .

They asked: “How is our Krishna? Does he ever remember us? Is he happy there at Mathura? When will he come back to see us all?”

The visitor felt very pained to see the sorrow of the Gopis.  He said remorsefully, “As far as I know, Krishna is living very happily at Mathura. He is having a joyful time with his wives Bhama and Rugmini. While you are crying here thinking about Krishna, I don’t think he is concerned about you at all any longer there”. The visitor sincerely thought that his statement would make the Gopis remorseful, kindle some anger on Krishna in their minds and help them emotionally detach themselves from Krishna. But nothing of that sort happened.

The moment they heard that Krishna was living happily, their faces brightened up! “Oh! Is that so? Our Krishna is happy there? What else do we want? His happiness is our only happiness! Thank you for bringing such a good news to us!” Saying so, the Gopis started removing their golden bangles and rings to present to the visitor who brought such a good news to them!

When the visitor was about to return to Mathura, the Gopis surrounded him said to him: “We have just one request. Our Krishna loved our butter so much those days! Please take some butter from us and give it to Krishna, but don’t ever mention about us to him. Don’t ever tell him that we are still sorrowful on account of our separation from him. If you mention it, he too will become sorrowful, thinking of us.  We only wish that he remains happy for ever”

The visitor was deeply moved by Gopi’s love on Krishna. With heavy heart, he took the vessel containing the butter and bid farewell to the Gopis. Upon return to Mathura, the visitor went straight to Lord Krishna’s palace.

As the visitor was entering the palace, Krishna had just sat to take his meals and Rugmini was about to serve him food.  Krishna stopped Rugmini and said, “Wait. I could feel the smell of Brindavan from here. I think a visitor from Brindavan has just entered into our house. Go immediately to receive him reverentially; wash his feet that has been purified by dust of Brindavan and bring it to me; let me first drink that holy water surcharged with Gopi’s unadulterated and pure love on me before consuming any food! Also bring the butter that the Gopis would have surely sent for me through the visitor!”

(From Amma’s Satsang)

 

2. The second thief at Brindavan!

Once a stray thief came to Brindavan. Seeing the prosperity all around, he decided to steal valuables from the various houses of Gopis.  At midnight, he sneaked into the houses of Gopis one after another to raid their cupboards and vaults. Practically, in every Gopi’s house, he found a very safely kept cloth bundle tightly tucked with a rope at the deepest niche of the vaults.  ‘Ah! These must be the most precious diamonds and jewels of the Gopis! Let me pick only these bundles and not waste time on other sundries!’ — thinking so, the thief picked up those bundles and ran away to the nearby forest before dawn.

After dawn, sitting comfortably on a tree branch, the thief started inspecting his booty.  He picked up one bundle, untied it carefully. Once the outer cloth sheath was removed, there was yet another bundle inside. Surprised, he untied it and noticed yet another bundle inside. After uncovering several layers like this, finally what he found was a small piece of peacock feather inside.

The thief took another bundle and there again there were bundles one-inside-another;  finally what he got was a small piece of broken flute. The thief got exasperated!

Impatiently, the thief went through the procedure on all the rest of the bundles and what he ended up were — a piece of yellow silk cloth, a broken  piece of a bracelet, a small conch, a piece of broken mud pot etc — all worthless items! The thief was frustrated as well as surprised.

Why on earth these Gopis kept such worthless items so safely tucked in their vaults? What makes them so valuable to them? At the risk of even getting a punishment for stealing, the thief was overwhelmed with curiosity to know the truth.

He took all the items with him and went to Brindavan again.

As he entered into the street, he noticed that several Gopis were standing in groups and loudly talking about robbery that had taken place at their houses. Their faces looked forlorn on account of the “losses” they had incurred.

He went straight to one such group of ladies.  Seeing a stranger barging in, the Gopis gathered around him with curiosity.

“Ladies! Please excuse me, but I was the thief who came to your houses last night to steal.  I took away from your vaults what you had kept most safely tied and tucked up thinking that they must be the costliest  gems and jewels you had. But what a disappointment for me! Please let me know, ladies! Why on earth you are keeping these worthless pieces of pot, peacock feather and other nonsensical items so safely?” He threw the items that he had brought on the floor.

The Gopis’ faces instantly brightened up! They jumped up and vying with each other, rushed to pick up the items. “Ah! Thank God!  My flute piece is here!” “Wonderful! My peacock feather is back!” “Hey! Give me that piece of pot. It’s mine!” There were shouts of joy everywhere!

After collecting the items, the Gopis swarmed around the thief. One after the other, they started removing their bangles or nose rings and offered to the thief as gifts! “Thank you, you are such a nice thief! Thanks for bringing back our  invaluable belongings! Keep these golden gifts for you!”

The thief was flabbergasted! He was moved to tears seeing Gopi’s overwhelming generosity.

“May I know why these petty things are so valuable to you?” he asked.

The Gopis said “These are the items belonging to our beloved Krishna.  Our little Krishna left us years ago, never to come back. This peacock feather was worn by him. That piece of pot was one that he broke to steal butter from that Gopi’s house. This yellow silk cloth was what he was wearing on the day he stole butter from my house and when I tried to grab him, that little torn piece of cloth was what I could manage to get! Whenever we look at them, each of these pieces brings us the overwhelming of joy of the days we had spent in the company of Krishna! It’s these precious mementos that give some joy to us amidst our life filled with the sorrow of separation from our beloved Krishna”

The thief was moved to tears seeing the unearthly love the Gopis had on Krishna and their overwhelming generosity in gifting him with golden ornaments.  His heart melted. A life of stealing was no longer attractive to him. He was possessed by a desire to know about Krishna and see Him. When he inquired the Gopis where Krishna was, they told him that he was the prince of Mathura.

The thief left for Mathura and reached the palace. He sought an appointment with Lord Krishna and prostrated before him when he met the lord. The thief told his story to Krishna.  Krishna blessed the thief and said with a smile, “One thief is enough for Brindavan!”

The thief was very curious to know why Krishna resorted to stealing butter at Gopi’s homes when He lived there.

Krishna said, “The gopis earned their livelihood by selling butter, curd and milk. Some of them are poor and they  could not afford to feed their cowherd boys with milk and butter generously at home. When I went for grazing the cows along with other cowherd boys of Vrindavan, I noticed their hunger. I wanted to feed them. Gopis know that I love butter very much and they always nurtured a desire to give me butter, but elders in the house would not allow it.  Then I started sneaking into one or two Gopis’ houses to steal butter and share it with the hungry cowherd boys. Soon, It became the desire of many Gopis that I should visit their houses for stealing butter and they intentionally left some butter at home for this purpose. Even though they were out to sell their milk butter and curd, their minds were constantly thinking of me: ‘Will Krishna come to my house and take away the butter?’ Thus by stealing butter, I accomplished two things: One, feeding the poor and hungry cowherd boys and two, making Gopis constantly think of me and meditate on me.  Since I made the gopis’ minds always throng after me, I am called ‘Chittachora’ — ‘The stealer of the mind’. Thus by throwing a single stone, I could get two mangoes!”

(From Amma’s Satsang)

3. The Gopis and the Pundit

Once a very learned Sanskrit Pundit, well versed in Vedanta and other scriptures visited Brindavan.  The residents of Brindavan received him reverentially and took care of him well. He was surprised to see that the Gopis were still sorrowful on account of their separation from their beloved little Krishna.  He said to them: “Do you think your Krishna is just an adorable cowherd boy who loved you and gave you joy by his imitable lilas? Don’t you know that he is verily the Paramatman, whom you can meditate upon and attain union with Him? Why do you cling to his worldly maya and waste your time still lamenting about his separation?”

He noticed that the Gopis showed no interest in knowing that Krishna was the Paramatman, the universal lord who is beyond name and form. The pundit felt that teaching those rustic villagers with a little of the essence of Vedanta philosophy would make them understand spirituality better and relieve them from the sorrow of sentimental attachment and longing to see Krishna’s living form.

He started conducting discourse on Vedanta.  He explained : “Only God as all pervading Brahman is real. All His creations are maya and illusory.  Only the Gold is real. The ornaments are illusory. Brahman and maya are like the mortar and pestle. The Brahman is unmoving like the mortar and maya is like the pestle that moves.  When you walk in a dimly lit night you may get scared by seeing a rope taking it to be a snake. Only the rope is real, snake is not. ..”

As the pundit was explaining like this, he noticed that the Gopis had started crying.

He was taken aback! “Why are you crying? Are these philosophies too complicated for you to grasp?” he asked.

the gopis said, “No. Not really. Whatever you spoke brought us memories of Krishna and we could not control our tears, thinking of him”

 

The pundit was confused! “How? I never uttered anything about your Krishna!”

The gopis said, “When you mentioned about the golden ornaments, our thoughts immediately went to Krishna, as we have seen his beautiful form adorned with various jewels that Yasoda would put on him! When you mentioned about the mortar and pestle, we remembered the incidence when Yasoda once tied krishna with a rope to a mortar to prevent him from running to Gopis’ houses for stealing butter; how painful it is to tie our little Krishna with a rope to the mortar! When you mentioned about snake, we immediately thought about the ferocious snake Kalia and how our Krishna danced over the snake’s hood! How can we control our tears when we think of Krishna?”

The pundit became speechless seeing the Gopis single pointed devotion and uninterrupted remembrance of Krishna. With folded hands and an emotionally choking voice,  he said “You blessed souls do not require any Vedanta; you already have what is essentially needed to attain the lord’s holy abode forever”.

(From Amma’s Satsang)

4. Thinking of Krishna through imagination

[Amma: “Just like a lover always thinking about his beloved, a spiritual seeker should always think about God. The yearning should grow so strong that a devotee reaches a stage where he cannot be separated from God’s remembrance  even for a minute. Every single thing he sees brings him the thought of God.”]

Once while walking on the banks of Yamuna, a Gopi saw a pair of foot prints near a tree. Seeing that , she started imagining: ‘These must be the foot prints of lord Krishna. he must have come this way and a Gopi must have asked him to fetch her some flowers from the tree. Since the flowering branch of the tree is above the normal reach of the hand, Krishna must have gripped the shoulders of the Gopi and jumped up to fetch some flowers. When he landed with a thud, his foot prints must have got imprinted like this in the sand’.

She immediately called up severala Gopis and said to them: “See here! These are the foot prints of our lord krishna!”

All Gopis gathered excitedly around the foot print. The Gopi who imagined  so got deeply immersed in the thoughts of lord Krishna. All other Gopis surrounding her suddenly appeared to her as various manifestations of  Krishna. When one of the Gopis touched her shoulders, she felt as though Krishna was touching her shoulders and the very thought made her swoon. The rest of the Gopis too were swept by thoughts of Krishna. Shedding tears, they all lost their outer consciousness.

It is such a mindset that we should develop to attain God. We must see everything as God.

5.  Krishna’s question

Once Lord Krishna was chit-chatting with gopis. He posed a question to them: “If you have to face a grave hardships and sorrows  in your life tomorrow, what will you do?”

One gopi said, “I will pray to you, Krishna, to ward off my difficulties and save me”.

Another gopi said, “I will pray you to be with me always as my support to face the difficulties and overcome them. When, during a hot day out, if there is a good breeze, the heat does not affect. Likewise, if you are with me Krishna,  the difficulties and sorrows will not affect me”.

Yet another gopi said, “I will pray to you to give me enough mental strength to overcome the hardship”.

Radha was sitting there, without saying anything. Krishna asked her, “Why aren’t you saying anything, Radha? What will you do if you face difficulties in life?”

Radha said, “I will think of you and I will be totally immersed in your thoughts.”

“Won’t you make any prayers?” asked Krishna.

“If your form occupies my whole mind, where is the room for sorrow there, Krishna? When there is only light, how can darkness be there? Then where is the need for me to pray? ” said Radha.

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

6.  Krishna’s Headache

[Amma: “Even though we may claim that we have total faith and surrender to our Guru / God, there will also be lack of faith and surrender lurking inside us. Our love on the Guru may not be total”]

Once sage Narada was with Lord Krishna. Krishna was talking very high of Gopis’ devotion towards him. When Narada heard it, he thought that there may be other devotees of Krishna including himself who would have much more and deeper devotion on God than gopis.

Suddenly Krishna said, “Nowadays, I am suffering from a severe headache”. Narada felt worried; “Lord, should you not take some good medicines to cure it?”

Krishna said “I have tried so many cures, but to no avail. I know there is only one medicine that can rid me of my incessant headache — If I can apply the dust of my one true devotee’s feet on my head, it will get cured…”

Narada thought, “I am a true devotee of Krishna alright, but how can I ever offer the dust off my lowly feet to be applied to God’s head? It will be a severe sin; I cannot face the consequences of the sin”.

He went around to meet several other devotees of Krishna and told them about Krishna’s suffering with headache. While all of them felt very concerned about it, none of them were willing to give dust from their feet as per Narada’s request. They felt it was an abominable solution. It amounted to insulting God and they were sure to end up in hell if they did so.

Finally, Narada went to Brindavan and told the Gopis about Krishna’s illness and the cure for it.

The gopis felt extremely disturbed to know that their beloved lord was suffering in headache. They said, “Here, please take as much dust off our feet as you want apply it on Krishna’s head; please take it and go as fast as possible”

Narada said, “Is it not a sin to do so? Are we not so lowly when compared to God and how can we ever allow him to take the dust of our feet? You may have to suffer in hell for insulting our God like this!”

The gopis replied: “We are not bothered about sin or hell; let whatever sin meant to come to us come; we want our Lord to be cured of his headache; that’s all; we are not bothered about anything else”.

Narada Understood the greatness of Gopis’ devotion on God.

(Tuesday Satsang 28.7.2015)

7.  The pure love of Gopi Neeraja

[Amma: “What contaminates pure love is the sense of I and mine. It is our ego that causes this contamination. in the hot oven called love, ego has to be eliminated by roasting. It is indeed very painful to withstand this heat. But once one has the power and patience to bear this pain, one can then relax in the cool phase of pure love and become one  with it.”]

Gopi Neeraja did not belong to Vrindavan. She was from a different village, but got married to a Gopa in Vrindavan. Even before she shifted to Vrindavan to live with her husband and inlaws, she had heard about Krishna. In fact, her village folks had forewarned her never to see Krishna in Vrindavan.

However, she happened to see Krishna in one festival of Govardhan hill worship. At that very moment she got enchanted by Krishna fully; she surrendered her heart totally at Krishna’s feet. It was a divine attraction and not a physical love which common folks could not understand. However, for having fallen thus for Krishna, she had to undergo lots of hardships in her life.

Her first sighting of Krishna was under the shed of flower creepers at the Govardhan hill. At that time, she saw Krishna standing there, playing his flute.

She started visiting that flower shed again and again. She could hear the divine music of Krishna, playing flute there. The very wind that touched Krishna blew over her and she felt enthralled even by the touch of wind.

When Krishna left Vrindavan to go to Mathura, Gopi Neeraja too became furlorn, unable to bear the pangs separation from Krishna.

Days and months passed; Like all other Gopis, she also patiently bore the pain of living without Krishna’s presence. Like all of them, she too was hoping against hope that Krishna would return to Vrindavan one day.  With that expectation, she would visit the flower shed and wait for His arrival at days and nights.

Years passed. Krishna never came back. Gopi Neeraja one day collapsed under the flower shed, unable to bear the pain of waiting for Krishna any longer. When she was about to breath her last, Lord Krishna appeared before her! Neeraja prayed to him, “My lord! I want to hear the music from your captivating flute and leave my body; that is my only last wish”.

“Oh! Neeraja. I haven’t brought my flude with me” said Lord Krishna. Yet in order to satisfy her last wish, Lord Krishna plucked a reed from the nearby bush, cut it to shape and making use if it as a flute, he started playing his divine music. Neeraja rested her head on the lap of her Lord Krishna and drinking the nectar of divine music from Krishna through her ears, she breathed her last.

(from Arul Mozhikal- Part 4)

8. Akrura acquires spiritual wisdom from Radha

Akrura, the Rajarishi of Mathura came to Vrindavan to take Krishna with him to Mathura based on the orders of King Kamsa. The gopis of Vrindavan were immersed in sorrow when they came to know of Akrura’s mission; they did not like the very idea of getting separated from their beloved Krishna. Radha was nowhere to be seen. She had secluded herself, trying to digest the reality of living without Krishna.

Krishna said to Akrura, ” I feel it would be nice if you could meet Radha and get initiated by her in the wisdom of higher truth (Jnana Diksha)”.

Akrura was surprised and confused. He was already a Raja rishi (a sage who counsels the king) and he was quite aged too. What was there for him to seek something in spiritual wisdom from an uneducated milkmaid of Vrindavan?

Anyhow, obeying Krishna’s instructions, Akrura looked around for Radha and finally located her in a secluded hut in Vrindavan. He showed his respects to her and conveyed to her Krishna’s wish.

Radha was very much surprised. “Respected Raja Rishi, I am a lowly village girl with no worldly education or spiritual wisdom whatsoever; what we have is a heart full of love for Krishna and we really don’t know how to we would live here in Vrindavan without the enchanting presence of our beloved Lord.”

Akrura insisted that she should tell him something in deference to Lord Krishna’s wish. Radha thought for a while and then said:

“We all derived joy in being with Krishna, in listening to his flute, in decorating him with garlands and so on. I particularly derived lot of joy in adoring him with a garland of Tulsi leaves. Suddenly, a thought came to my mind one day: ‘Just because of my love and joy of seeing Krishna decorated with the garland of Tulsi leaves, I pluck so many leaves from the plant; Oh! will it not hurt the plant? Won’t it be suffering silently in pain? Am I not being cruel in this way?’

“I felt deeply sorry for it; I went to the tulsi plant and sought its forgiveness for hurting it all these days for my selfish motive. The plant spoke to me thus: “It is true that whenever you plucked my leaves, I felt very painful; But I used to think:’Is it not my good fortune that my leaves are able to touch Lord Krishna’s body? Am I not giving lot of joy to Radha when she garlands Krishna and relish his beautiful looks with it? In this way, my pain is really worthy; I am able to give joy to others’.

“Today, Krishna is leaving us all; I don’t know whether he would come back or not. Yes, the pain of getting separated from Krishna is unbearable. But, like the Tulsi plant, I have also started thinking now: ‘When Krishna reaches  Mathura, how joyous would the people there feel in seeing our lord! Every single day he lives there would be a celebration for them! Haven’t we Gopis enjoyed the bliss of his company all these years?  So, let me think of the joy of the other people too and be contented; Let me digest the pain of separation from my lord with pleasure”.

Hearing these words of wisdom, Akrura bowed to Radha and returned to Krishna with a heart full of respect for Radha for her sacrifice.

9. Little Krishna’s prayer

On the birthday of Little Krishna, Ma Yashoda dressed up Krishna in new clothes and took him to the temple for worship.  After the formal worship was over, the priest heard Krishna praying very loudly.

“Dear God, Kindly bless that the Gopis and Gopas of Brindavan always have this guileless love for God; let rains come neither in excess nor in shortage; let their cows and bulls prosper; let them get cow milk in abundance; let cereals, fruits and vegetables grow enough to feed all of them sumptuously…”. The priest was wonderstruck at the little boy’s sincere prayers.

After a while, a large gathering of Gopis and Gopas of Vrindavan too came to the temple and the priest heard a chorus of prayers: “Dear Lord, on this birth day of Krishna, we pray to you to give him all the prosperity, joy and good health; let him not face any threat from the demons and rakshasas and please protect him from such evil doers; please let us behave in such a way that we remain the recipients of his love always…”

Again the priest was wonderstruck hearing their prayers. There was no trace of selfishness in the prayers of Krishna or in the prayers of the Gopis and Gopas.  Each prayed the well being of the others.

[Amma: “Devotee’s love on God and God’s love on devotees are always reciprocal. “]

10.  When Krishna is with you

One day many gopis of Vrindavan wanted to accompany Krishna to the forests to graze the cows. Krishna permitted them to come along with him. The gopis spent a joyful day with Krishna roaming in the forest, playing with him, singing and dancing with him and listening to his flute. As the evening came, they started to return to Vrindavan. Soon dark clouds gathered in the sky, indicating the arrival of a huge thunderstorm.

Krishna said, “It will not be safe for us to get stuck in the forest when the storm arrives. It is better to keep moving; even if we get caught in the rains, we can manage to reach our homes before it gets too late”. All the gopas and gopis agreed.  Gathering their herd of cows together, they started walking quickly.

By the time they came out of the forest and reached the road leading to their homes, the sky was fully enveloped with the dark clouds. It became pitch dark. Frequent lightning followed by deafening thunders followed. A heavy downpour too started. Krishna and his group managed to move forward on the road, ignoring the rains that drenched all of them.

Krishna asked the Gopis: “Are you not afraid of the lighting and thunders? Are you not afraid to walk in total darkness, drenching in the rains like this?”

“No, Krishna! We have no fear. In fact we are indeed enjoying the thunders; we look forward eagerly for the lightnings to happen!”

Krishna was surprised. “Why?” he asked.

The gopis said, “Whenever there is a lightning, O Krishna, we could see your radiant face in those brief moments; it gives us so much joy to see your captivating face intermittently in this pitch darkness!”

 

(Amma’s Tuesday satsang 9/6/20)

11.  When fire does not burn

One day in Vrindavan, a gopi went to Nandagopa’s house in the evening with the purpose of getting some fire for lighting the lamps in her home. She had a small earthen lamp with wick and oil in her hand. It was rather an excuse for going there as her secret intention was to have a look at little Krishna there.

She went inside Nandagopa’s house. There was a lamp burning in the hall. She went close to it and extended her hand in order to ignite the tip of the wick in the lamp she hand in hand.  At that moment, she noticed that little Krishna was lying in the nearby and he was squirming there, about to get up from sleep. As she eagerly looked there, Krishna too gazed at her and smiled. She was instantly captivated by the inexplicable beauty radiating from little Krishna’s face. Her entire consciousness got absorbed in Krishna and he totally lost herself. Now, instead of the wick, she was actually extending her fingers at the flame in the main lamp, and she did not feel any burning. She was totally transfixed at the sight of the divine form of Little Krishna.

Since the Gopi did not return home for long after igniting her lamp from the neighboring house, the gopi’s mother came to Nandagopa’s house, looking for her daughter. There, what she saw was not only shocking but unbelievable too. Her daughter was simply keeping her fingers over the flame of the lamp and seemed to have frozen without her senses working. She rushed to her daughter,  pulled her hand away from the lamp and asked “Oh my dear, what the hell are you doing? Are you not getting hurt?”

Only then the gopi came back to her senses. The very darshan of Lord Krishna had drawn her heart towards Him in pure devotion and in that exalted state, she had no sense of burning of her fingers! She did not feel an iota of pain!

[Amma: “At the pinnacle of loving devotion to God,  one will get freed from the limitations of body and mind.”]

12.  In his company forever

When Krishna was leading his married life in Mathura, Radha once went to see him. At that time, Krishna was in Rugminis’ palace, enjoying her joyful company. When Radha reached there, she was stopped by the guard. Radha sent a word about her arrival and waited. She waited and waited but Krishna did not come out to see her. Radha felt furlorn and depressed.  With tear filled eyes she left the palace and returned to Vrindavan.

Radha went to her favorite garden at the banks of Yamuna where she used to meet Krishna on those good old days when He lived in Vrindavan. She sat under the tree and closed her eyes. She went into deep meditation by seeing Krishna in his glorious form inside her mind.

In the meanwhile, when Krishna got the message about Radha’s arrival, he rushed out to meet her; but she was no longer waiting for Him. Krishna felt very sorry. He decided to go to Vrindavan to meet Radha secretly and console her. He knew where she would be and went there.

Krishna saw Radha in deep meditation.  He went and touched her; he said, “Dear Radha, Here I am, your Krishna. Please open your eyes; I am extremely sorry that I kept you waiting”.

Radha did not open her eyes. She said softly, “Krishna, as long as I was of thinking that you were outside of me and I needed to see you in your physical form to have the bliss of your company, there was always sorrow of separation. Now I have established you inside me; I am able to see you all the time in my mind’s eye and I am permanently in your joyful company. I no longer need your external form, Dear Krishna! You can go back to Mathura”.

13.  True association

Once Krishna and Gopis were chit chatting joyfully near a stream.

One Gopi asked Krishna, “Dear Krishna, you know all of us are madly in love with you.  We always want to be with you. Some of us want to keep seeing you always; some of us want to sit as close to you physically as possible. Some of us want to talk to you. Some of us want you your attention always — we want you to look at us, smile at us, talk to us and so on.  When he have so much love on you, somehow you are always appreciating Radha; you always seemed to be partial towards her. We want to know why”.

Krishna got up, went to the stream and picked up a stone pebble from there. He gave it to the gopi and said, “Break it and show to me whether there is any water inside it”.

The gopi broke the pebble and showed it to Krishna. Another gopi said, “Krishna, this is just a stone. How do you expect water inside it?”

Krishna said, “This pebble must be lying in this stream from time immemorial. It has been in constant company with water and yet it has not absorbed even a drop of water. Likewise, even though some of you are with me ever in my company, you may not have grasped any of my divinity”.

He continued, “When I bent down to pick this pebble, my upper garment touched the stream just for a moment and yet it has absorbed water and got wet. But if we keep sitting here for a while, the cloth will get dried up soon due to the blowing of the wind.  Like this, some of you do absorb my divine nature, but you soon your bhakti  dries up on account of your worldly desires and  pursuits.”

Krishna continued: “Ah! When I was picking up the pebble, I dropped the sugar candy that you gave in the water. I want to eat it now. Please go and pick it up from the water”.

Several Gopis got up and went to the stream. They searched inside the water here and there and returned empty handed. One gopi said, “Krishna, I have one more sugar candy here. Please eat this. What you dropped in water must have dissolved in the water by this time, won’t it?”

Krishna smiled and said, “Yes. That’s it. Like the sugar candy getting dissolved in water and becoming one with it, Radha’s heart has dissolved in my divinity and she has become one with me. It is that sort of love on God which is most dear to me. That’s why I love Radha so much.”

The Gopis held their heads low when they heard those words from Krishna. Krishna said consolingly, “Don’t feel dejected. It is not easy for everyone to be immersed in me and lose one’s self. It is indeed a very slow process. One has to constantly put efforts cleanse one’s heart from inborn tendencies like desire, anger, delusion, greed, hatred, envy etc. ”

(From Amma’s Krishna Janmashtami message 10/9/2020)

14.  To hear Krishna’s flute again

Once Krishna had left for Mathura from Vrindavan, he totally stopped playing his flute. Somehow, people close to Krishna at Mathura came to know about the enchanting music that used to flow from his flute and they too wanted to hear it. They pestered Krishna to play flute for their sake.

Krishna however refused. He said, “If you are too keen to hear my flute, you have to go to Vrindavan. For the gopis of Vrindavan, hearing my flute is like meditation. They have absorbed my music so well that they keep hearing it in their hearts. They are so much immersed in my thoughts that all their talks, actions, speeches and singing are all Krishnamayam — full of Krishna. If you go there and listen to them carefully, you will be able to hear my flute”.

(From Amma’s Birthday message 27/9/2020)

15.  Krishna’s heart

Once a pundit went to Vrindavan from Dwaraka. All the gopis of Vrindavan gathered around him very eagerly to hear about their beloved Krishna’s well being and his life at Dwaraka.

The pundit said, “Bhagavan Krishna is living a joyful life, abundant with wealth in Dwaraka. I feel bad that Sri Krishna had not taken you people along with him to Dwaraka. Krishna has blessed his friends like Akrura and Kuchela with plenty of wealth. For his wife Satyabhama, Krishna has even brought Kalpavriksha (wish fulfilling tree) from heaven and gifted it to her. I wonder why  Krishna does not remember that you people are still living in thatched huts. It is really sad”.

Hearing him, the Gopis said, “We are extremely happy to know that Bhagawan is living a very happy and prosperous life there. You said we are still living in huts, right? It is in these huts that the little holy feet of our beloved Krishna had walked and danced and because of it, our huts are more valuable than palaces. In our view, every kadamba tree in Vrindavan is a kalpavriksha.  Oh! How many sweet memories do those trees keep giving to us about our association with Krishna! It is such thoughts of our beloved Krishna are indeed eternal and imperishable; our only wish is that such memories never get faded from our thoughts. We don’t consider palaces or kalpavrikshas any more valuable than those precious memories”.

The pundit’s eyes filled with tears when he witnessed such a blemishless divine love of gopis. He said, “When I saw Krishna at Dwaraka, I told him that my life got totally blessed by my seeing him that day. Immediately Bhagavan said to me ‘You have only seen my physical body. If you really want to see my heart, you should go to Vrindavan’. I have now fully understood the  meaning and purport of Krishna’s statement”.

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

16.  What boon from Krishna?

After Lord Krishna went to Mathura from Vrindavan, the gopis were all in sorrow as they missed his company terribly.  They used to sit together at the bank of river Yamuna and share their thoughts about Krishna and seek some solace from each other.

“Why didn’t Bhagavan take us too along with him to Mathura? When he returns here next time, we should not permit him to leave Vrindavan” said one gopi.

Another gopi said, “When Krishna comes back, I will ask for a boon from him”.

“What is it?”

“He should be playing with me always. That’s what I would ask”.

Another gopi said, “I too will ask a boon from him. That boon is: He should always eat the butter I give”.

Next another gopi said, “I will ask him to take me along with him if he goes back to Mathura”.

“I would ask his boon to make me the person to fan him always” said yet another gopi.

Radha was hearing all these talks but she was keeping quiet. Noticing it, other gopis asked. “Radha! Why are you not saying anything? What boon will you ask Krishna?” they pestered her.

Radha finally opened her mouth. She said, “If at all a desire rises up in my mind, I will submit that too at the his holy feet. It won’t belong to me. Whatever he wills is my choice. What his pleasure is, my pleasure is that”.

(Source: Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 2)

17.  Krishna waiting

Once the gopis went to Yamuna to bring drinking water to their homes. Krishna too went along with them. When the gopis filled water in their pots, they were ready to depart. Krishna was sitting under a tree and playing his flute. The called him. “O Krishna, come and help us by putting the pots on our heads”.  But Krishna refused to help them.  The gopis had to help each other to lift the pots and place them on each others’ heads.

All the gopis walked back to their homes.

But as they arrived there, they saw Krishna waiting for them! He came forward to take the water pots from their heads. The gopis were surprised. They asked: “When we asked you to help us in placing the pots on our heads, you refused.  Then why are you coming here to take the pots from our heads?”

Krishna said smilingly, “I have come among you only to unburden; not to burden you!”

[Amma: “Whatever worldly burdens that we add on to our heads are all due to our own whims and fancies. Other worldly people are there to assist us on this. But if we really want to unburden our woes, worldly people are of no help. Only God can unburden us; praying to God is the only way  to get our woes removed. God is always waiting  to come for our assistance.”]

18. Separation

[Amma: “A pure bhakta does not even wish for moksha. He has only one desire — ever think of God and serve him. That’s all. It this highest form of bhakti that Lord Krishna gave to gopis.  The mere thoughts of Krishna’s captivating form, words, divine plays and actions made gopis to immerse in bliss. There is no power stronger than this prema bhakti. No siddhi (occult poper) is equal to it. That’s why it is said that Krishna did not life Govardhan hill out of his power, but it is the love of gopis on Him that made him accomplish it and that is the highest form of siddhi.”]

Once Gopis asked Radha, “We were imagining that Lord Krishna would be ours forever and we all loved him so much; but how cruel he is to leave us in lurch and go to Mathura never to return? What is the meaning of our living even after this? What is the point of calling Krishna as the embodiment of love when in reality he has proved to be so stone-hearted?”

Radha said, “Don’t talk like that. The only person whom we can claim to be ours forever is indeed Lord Krishna. But God does not belong to us alone in exclusivity. He belongs to everyone outside Vrindavan too. Exactly like us, there are umpteen people waiting with unabated thirst to see Him and to experience the bliss of his love.”

Radha joined her palms and picked up a handful of water from the Yamuna river and said, “Look here. As long as we keep our palms like a cup, water remains in it.  But if we close our fingers in order to make it totally ours, the water escapes and we lose the water. We tried to make Lord Krishna exclusively our own. We tried to keep him as a prisoner in Vrindavan. However, in order to make us understand that he is the indweller in all beings, he left us all and went far away.  But, mind you,  the Lord has not made us orphans. Every divine play of Lord Krishna is ever living memories in our hearts. As  long as those memories remain etched inside us, He will always be with us. At the bank of the Yamuna of our love, inside the deep cave of our hearts our Krishna will be dancing forever”.

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

19. Why gopis’ love on Krishna so special

Once Uddhava asked Lord Krishna: “I have heard that of all your devotees, you have a special soft corner for the gopis of Vrindavan. There are indeed so many devotees of you who shed tears of love the moment they hear your name; if they hear your flute, they immediately immerse in meditation; if they see blue color anywhere, they think of your body color and forget their surroundings.  What other special characteristic of love that gopis have on you that  these devotees don’t? May I know?”

Hearing this Krishna smiled and said, “All my devotees are dear to me, no doubt. But gopis have some special characteristics. Other devotees shed tears on hearing my name; but gopis hear all names as my name. Whatever music they hear, they think it is the playing of my flute; whatever color they see, it is blue to them.  Thus the gopis are able to see unity in diversity. That’s why gopis of Vrindavan are most dear to me.”

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

 

 

Onam at Brindavan – Amma’s cute Krishna stories with spiritual message (8 stories)

An Introduction …

How come Onam, a typical festival of Kerala be celebrated by Krishna at Brindavan? 

Onam is one of the grandest and prominent festivals of Kerala. It is joyously celebrated at Amma’s Ashram at Kerala too. On Onam day, Amma distributes Onam Sadhya (feast) with her hands to several thousands of her earnest devotees personally who throng to the Ashram to celebrate the day with Amma. Amma’s satsang  and bhajan will also be there on the day.

A ‘Onam at Brindavan’ story will almost be a sure ingredient in  Amma’s satsang on the day and many inmates eagerly await to hear the story as Amma will always pack some fun and pun in those stories to educate and entertain her own gopis – Ashram inmates, particularly the womenfolk!

Even though Amma is considered an Avatar of Devi, there are many devotees who consider Amma as Krishna too and there are many ‘gopi’s in ashram whose love of their ‘Krishna’ is on a very strong emotional plane. Amma’s gopis (lady devotees and Brahmacharinis) who always throng around Amma and vie with each other to have her closest company and attention, some times cross limits and end up doing certain over-exuberant things! At times,in this process of demonstrating their overwhelming love and attraction on Amma there may be heartburns, envies, dominations, rat races etc among them.

Amma makes use of Onam Satsang to concoct stories — particularlty, ‘Onam at Brindavan’ stories and joyfully share it to educate as well as entertain the gathering!

Such stories of Amma are shared below:

Onam at Brindavan-1!

The Pookalam

[Amma: God’s compassion flows naturally towards those who are meek, guileless and helpless]

As the Onam festival approached, Gopis of Brindavan were very excited. They planned to decorate the front courtyard of their beloved Krishna’s house with numerous Pookkalams (colorful artwork done on the floor using flower petals of myriad colors, an art of Kerala associated with Onam festival). Each Gopi wanted to outsmart others  by making the most beautiful and artistic pookakam to get Krishna’s appreciation.

Pookalam

“We must start doing pookkalam before dawn. When Krishna wakes up in the morning and comes out of his house, he should be swept by surprise seeing so many pookalams beautifully done by us; Imagine how his face will light up seeing them and also all of us there in the morning!”

“What is the plan for collecting flowers?” asked one gopi.

“Don’t we have our gardens around Vrindavan? They will start blooming before dawn. If we all go to the gardens as early as possible before sunrise, we can collect lots of flowers of different colors” said a senior gopi.

“Better all of you retire to bed early tonight; we can wake up early morning and go to gather flowers” said another.

As the gopis went to bed, all of them had only one thought: How to outsmart the other gopis so as to corner most of the flowers.  They did not feel like sleeping at all. But Kocchu Gopi (Little Gopi), being youngest among the gopis, could not fight sleep. She told her two elder sisters, “Please wake me up when you leave in the morning to collect flowers. I don’t want to miss this wonderful festivity”. Her sisters promised to wake her up.

Little gopi slept peacefully that night. But most gopis could not. Some of them felt that they should reserve their favorite flowering plants and trees to garner the flowers. Taking lamps and mats in their hands, a few of them slipped out of their houses surreptitiously  and went to the garden to spread their mats under their favorite plants and trees. Some gopis got up just after midnight. With lamps and mats in their hands, they came to gardens with the idea of sleeping under the flower trees and plants till twilight came.

Some Gopis who got up well before dawn rushed to the gardens and they were surprised to see other gopis’s mats lying there as signs of ‘reservation’ and also gopis sleeping there overnight! They felt it was not fair. They decided to climb over trees and sit on the branches so that the moment the flowers bloom, they can pluck them first!

Kochu Gopi’s sisters woke up early morning and they totally forgot about their promise to Kochu Gopi in their mad rush towards the gardens.

The Gopis sleeping under the trees woke up hearing the hustle and bustle around. When they saw some gopis sitting on the branches of ‘their’ trees, they got angry. They started shouting at the gopis sitting on the trees. Some of them jumped up to grasp the tree branches and shook them violently to force the gopis sitting there to fall down! More verbal fights followed.  As the dawn approached, trees and plants started blooming and Gopis became very busy fighting and vying with each other to collect as much flowers as they could muster.

Kochu Gopi woke up all of a sudden early in the morning. Eastern sky was already showing signs of dawn. When she noticed that her sisters were not at home, she felt cheated; she started crying. Gathering herself quickly, she picked up an empty basket and started running towards the gardens. On her way, she saw a couple of gopis running with flower baskets towards Krishna’s house. “You are already late, Kochu Gopi! We were virtually the last ones in gathering flowers; we got only a little. Most of the other gopis are already at Krishna’s house, doing their pookalams” they said while running.

Wiping her tears, Kochu Gopi ran from one garden to another, only to see trees and plants totally devoid of flowers. Finally she rushed to a nearby woods with a hope to see some flower plants there. She was not lucky. She could not locate any flowering trees there. Finally, she noticed some wild plants carrying plain white flowers. Having no other option, Kochu Gopi plucked those white flowers and hurried to Krishna’s house.

When Kochu Gopi arrived, most of the other gopis had already finished their pookkalams. They all looked very beautiful in myriad colors. Each Gopi had left the central portion of their artwork free of any flowers. They were talking: “Let Krishna select the flower of his choice and place the flower at the center of the Pookkalam. That will complete the artwork beautifully”.

Kochu Gopi was forlorn with disappointment.  Crying silently she sat in a corner. All the Gopis were waiting excitedly for Krishna to come out the house.

At last the front doors opened and Krishna came out.  He was visibly surprised to see so many beautiful pookkalams decorating his front yard and Gopis eagerly waiting there! With widened eyes and a broad smile, Krishna  gave a cry of joy, “Ah! How beautiful!”

He was immediately surrounded by the Gopis. “Krishna, see this one; I have done this. Don’t you think these color combinations are wonderful?”  Each gopi was trying to get Krishna’s attention towards her artwork.

“Why have you not put any flowers in the centers?” Asked Krishna.

“We want you to select the color of your choice and put it there, Krishna” said the gopis.

As Krishna walked slowly from one Pookalam to another eying their beauty, each Gopi proffered her flower basket towards him: “Take this yellow rose, Krishna! This is very rare. Put it at the center and it will make it beautiful”. “Krishna. Use this lotus that I have brought. It will be the most fitting color to bring it to completion”;  “Take my lavender. It is the best”. Krishna walked around silently, engrossed in his own thoughts, ignoring all the voices of Gopis.

He noticed Kocchu Gopi sitting in a corner, dejected. “Hi, Kocchu Gopi, bring your basket! Show me what colored flower you have got!”  — Krishna called out to her. Kochu Gopi could not believe her ears. She came running towards Krishna.

“Ah! Nice white color! With so many other colors all around,  this white flower will be the best compliment to adore the center of all the pookkalams!”

Saying so, Krishna took the wild white flowers one by one from Kocchu Gopi’s basket and put them at the center of each of the Gopi’s pookkalams.

Kocchu Gopi was now shedding tears of joy!

Onam at Brindavan-2!

Krishna not well

[Amma: God loves those who selflessly love and serve others]

Words spread like wildfire amidst Gopis of Brindavan that lord Krishna had agreed to have his Onam Sadhya (Onam festival feast) with all the gopis at the banks of the river Yamuna. It was agreed that each Gopi will prepare a couple of tasty dishes at her home and bring them to offer to Krishna and then they would all sit together,  share the items and enjoy the feast in the joyful company of Krishna.

Radha too was busy from the morning, cooking  rice, Aviyal and Milk pudding as her share of offering for the Onam Sadhya. She was constantly chanting her Lord’s name while cooking the food and she kept imagining how Krishna would taste her preparations and offer his appreciation.  After finishing cooking, she packed the items in a food carrier and rushed towards the banks of Yamuna.

On her way, she crossed the hut of a poor fisherman’s family.  The fisherwoman was doing household chores outside her hut at the back yard and her little son was standing beside her and taking to his mother, half crying. Radha overheard their conversations:

“Amma, my friends are saying today is Onam festival  and everyone will be enjoying it wearing new dresses and eating a tasty feast.  Is that so? Why aren’t we celebrating it at our home?”

“My child, it is true that today is Onam festival. But we are very poor, you know. We can’t afford to celebrate it as others do”

“It means, I won’t have any new dress?”

“I am afraid so, my son. Your father could not  get any worthy catch of fish in the past couple of days. Had he got it, we would have had some money to buy you a new dress…”

“How about feast then? What have you cooked today?”

“Without any money, how can we afford a feast, my dear! I have only cooked kanji as usual…”

The little boy cried aloud. “Every day you are cooking only kanji and nothing else. Should I eat the same on the day of Onam too when everyone else is enjoying a good feast?  I am feeling so hungry, but don’t feel like eating kanji!”

The mother stopped her chores, embraced the little boy and said with tears in her eyes: “What to do, my dear son! We poor people are cursed to be like that. If by God’s grace your father gets a good catch of fish next time, I will cook something special for you. Now, wait for a while till I finish this work; Your father too will come and join at any time now.  We will go in and eat together what we have”

Radha was moved to tears hearing the conversation. She stood there for a while, thinking. Then without making any noise, she went into the hut, put her carrier containing the Onam delicacies near the hearth, took the vessel that contained Kanji and slipped out of the hut without attracting anybody’s notice.

As she walked towards Yamuna, her emotions were swinging between happiness and remorse. She was happy that she could feed a poor family with a nice food on the day of Onam; she felt remorseful because she could not offer her share of delicacies to her beloved Krishna and see the joy on his face.

Krishna not feeling well…

When she reached their meeting place, everyone was already there including Krishna. “Why are you late? Krishna was asking for you” whispered  a Gopi. Krishna appeared to be dull and was not particularly in his usual joyous mood. “What happened to you, Krishna? Why do you look so dull today? Are you very hungry? Shall I offer you some milk sweets first?” asked a Gopi.

“Take a sip of the special sweet pudding that I have made for you, Krishna!” said another Gopi.

“I have brought crispy Vada for you, Krishna. Eat it first!” said another Gopi.

There was lot of commotion as one Gopi after another started extending their vessels towards Krishna, cajoling him to taste their preparation first. Radha was sitting at the back row, silently watching the happenings.

Krishna did not show any interest to pick any item from any of the Gopis’ vessels. He said, “I am afraid I have mild fever. I don’t feel like eating any rich food. If only I could get some Kanji (gruel), it will suit my health and appease my hunger too; it looks to me that in Radha’s vessel, there is some Kanji. Can I have it please?”

Radha was overwhelmed with joy. Tears started streaming from her eyes as she came forward to offer the humble Kanji that the poor family had kept prepared. 

 

Onam at Brindavan-3!

Which foodstuff will Krishna serve?

[Amma: God loves those who selflessly serve others even at the cost of abuse and rejection]

Villagers of Brindavan were heading towards Nandagopa’s house late in the morning.  Gopis too were gathering at the front yard of Nandagopa’s house talking aloud amidst themselves. Krishna’s father had invited all of them to partake Onam Sadhya (grand feast) in his house. The special news was that Krishna, as a host, will be serving food with his own hands to the villagers and everybody became very happy to know that they will be getting the prasad from their lord’s hands.

Expert cooks were busy right from early morning preparing rice, sambar, avial, kari, vadai, payasam, laddu, appalam and so on for  the feast. Huge vessels containing the hot preparations were brought and kept ready in the long courtyard of the house, where villagers would be seated and fed sumptuously.

As the serving was yet to begin, the foodstuffs  in the vessels started talking amidst themselves excitedly.

“Is it true that Lord Krishna is going to serve us with his own hands? How lucky we are, then! Out of all of us, which one will Krishna opt to serve first?” asked one of them.

The rice said, “In any feast, I am the prime item. All you other stuff just join me as complementary items only, but I am the main course. Naturally, Krishna will serve me first!”

The ghee  laughed hearing this. ” You may be served as the main course, but have you ever seen anybody eating just plain rice right through any feast?” All the other foodstuffs too joined the laughing. “Without  adding ghee, no foodstuff ever gets any worthy taste. Even as per Ayurveda, I am one of the very important ingredient of a healthy food. Naturally, Krishna will give me preference”.

The sambar interjected. “You are too proud, Ghee. your other name is fat — one who makes people bloated and ugly and you are really bad for health! Whether feast or no feast, without Sambar there is virtually no meals worth its name.  It is obvious that Krishna will opt to serve me predominantly”.

                                                                                                                      Onam Sadhya

“Nonsense!” said Aviyal. “With me containing so many vegetables and with my characteristic taste and aroma, no food  is ever worth a feast if I am absent. Krishna is sure to serve me first” .

“Do you ever know the meaning of the word ‘rasam’? It’s very meaning is tasteful. Do you think Krishna will opt to serve what is not ‘rasam’ ? No way” said the rasam.

“Ah! Too much of boastful talking!” said the Payasam.  Tell me, if payasam is not there, will anyone call this a feast? It’s just another meals. That’s all. You can  envy at me guys when Krishna comes to serve me as the prime dish”.

“I agree with payasam to some extent because only with Vada -Payasam, a meals becomes a feast.  Tell me how much of payasam can one consume in a feast? After taking a cup or two, one gets overwhelmed with it. But think of me, the great Vada. People don’t get fed up with me.  Mark my words; Krishna will surely give top priority to me” said vada.

When rest of the other food items too started raising their objections and claimed their worth to get the special honor of Krishna, Ginger pickle intervened in a matured voice and said, “All of you could be worthy candidates, I don’t deny. But think of this. What will be the end result of consuming all of you in excess in a grant feast like this? You will all end up giving indigestion to the eaters, that’s all. Unless I am consumed, digestion will not be proper and the joy of eating a feast will be wrecked by you guys in reality. Now you know who is really important and who will get Krishna’s best honor”.

As the foodstuffs were arguing amongst themselves,  Krishna arrived at the scene. He picked up the bundle of plantain leaves and started spreading them on the floor in front of all the invited guests. He then asked the other gopis to start serving food over the plantain leaves.

Krishna went around and spoke to the guests joyfully and encouraged them to eat to their stomach full. Once the guests finished eating and got up, Krishna jumped up first, took an empty basket in hand and started picking the plantain leaves himself for disposal.  Other gopis rushed to offer their helping hand.

The foodstuff overheard Gopis conversing with Krishna on this matter:

“Krishna! All the guests were eager to get the food served by your hands. Why didn’t you do it? Why did you opt to spread the plantain leaves and also rushed to pick up the discarded leaves yourself? Can’t you not leave those jobs to servants?”

Krishna said, “While people enjoy eating various foodstuffs and appreciate their taste, who thinks of the importance of plantain leaves? The leaves patiently bear the weight and heat of the foodstuffs served on them. People scratch over them while eating in a hurry. Their spittle fall on the leaves. When all the food served on the plantain leaves are eaten and enjoyed, the leaves are simply discarded and thrown to the streets. Think of the sacrifice of these leaves! They don’t complain about all the abuse and they are happy to be of service without any recognition. I wanted to show my respect to them. That’s why I opted to handle them in the beginning and end” said Krishna.

The foodstuffs listened what Krishna said and they understood the virtue of humility.


Onam at Brindavan-4!

The mischievous parrot

Amma: It is through selfless sacrifice that one becomes fit to receive God’s grace.

In Brindavan, all gopis were eagerly awaiting the arrival of Onam. On that day, their beloved Kirshna would dance with them and give them great joy.  It so happened in the past that when Krishna took the central place in the dance, it was invariably Radha who accompanied to him to dance at the middle, while all other gopis would be dancing around them.

Many gopis thus became envious of Radha. There were complaints that Kirshna was showing partiality towards Radha by dancing maximum in her company. When Krishna came to know of such a complaint, he said to the gopis: “I don’t have any partiality towards Radha; it may perhaps so happened because it is Radha who has total faith and surrender towards me”

Other gopis argued with Kirhsna that their love, surrender and faith in Krishna was no less than Radha’s.

Krishna said “Fine. In order to proove that I am not showing any favors to Radha, let us birng a new practice for this Onam. Get a pot and each of you write your name in a piece of palm leave and put it inside the pot.  I will pick up one from it; whatever name that gets selected, I will dance with that Gopi at the central stage”

All gopis agreed to the suggestion. Some gopis were still not happy. They went and  met Radha privately and spoke to her: “Look Radha, you have danced with Krishna so many times in the past, while we never got a chance.  To be fair, we expect you not to put your name in the pot so that even by luck you don’t get a chance again this time too”

Radha said, “I have no problem at all; I understand very well how much you all love Krishna and long to dance with him; I will not put my name in the pot”.

The gopis felt relieved.

On the Onam day, even though the dance was scheduled for the night, all the gopis came to the spot even before dawn to spread their asanas close to the spot where Ksishna would sit, to ensure closest physical proximity to him.

In order to increase their chance of getting their names picked up, many over-smart  gopis wrote their names in multiple palm leaves and put it inside the pot. More daring ones, while putting their names, also stealthily and mischievously took away a one of two palm leaves dropped already by other gopis!

Krishna and his mischievous parrot!

At last, Krishna arrived at the spot. He brought a parrot with him. He said to the gopis: “I know you don’t have full faith in me. If I pick up the name myself, some of you may accuse me of playing partiality by my doing some trick. That’s why I have brought this parrot.  It will pick up one palm leave from the pot”. So saying he released the parrot. The parrot sitting at the brim of the pot poked its head inside and picked up a piece of palm leaf; instead of flying to Krishna, it flew high into the sky and soon disappeared from sight!

Everyone felt exasperated. What to do now? Kind Nanda came forward with a solution: “Let us now take out all the palm leaves inside the pot and  read out the names. The Gopi whose name is not there is the one picked up the parrot, obviously. She will be the one to dance with Krishna at the central stage”

Swiftly, the pot was emptied and the names in the palm  leaves were read aloud. As expected, there were tens of names of Manju, Anju, Bindhu,  Sandhya and so on! Obviously all the gopis names were read out and the missing name was Radha!

Krishna called out Radha and she joined Krishna to dance with him at the central spot!

Onam in Brindavan – 5!

The tug of war

Amma: It is through unselfishness and sacrifice that one becomes eligible for divine grace.

The Gopis in Brindavanam were very excited as usual as the day of Onam was nearing. On Onam day, their lord Krishna would dance with them in Rasa Leela. Only a few of the Gopis would get the chance to dance with Krishna in the inner circle and every one would vie for such a gift. Naturally there will be stiff competition amidst Gopis for getting the coveted chance.

Krishna said to them “If I select some gopis to dance with me, the others would feel bad. Hence, let us conduct a tug of war competition as part of Onam celebration and whichever group wins, that group of gopis can dance with me”. All the gopis enthusiastically agreed to this proposal.

Is it not important that one ate well and did enough physical exercise to strengthen the arms in order to pull the rope to success? All the gopis started preparing themselves for the competition. Many of them, instead of going out and selling the milk and butter, started consuming themselves in order to increase their stamina!

Gopis who were earlier reluctant to do de-husking of paddy using the pestle, now started even lifting the mortar to gain strength! When mother gopis called their daughters to grind chilly in the grinding stones, many who used to escape saying they were going out to fetch flowers, now started to lift the grinding stones!

Thus, well prepared for the competition, the gopis assembled in the ground on the day of Onam for the grand competition of tug of wars. The two opposing teams of gopis lined themselves and upon receiving signal from Krishna, they started pulling the rope from either side. They pulled and pulled and the competition was really tough. At one point the gopis at one side would seem to pull the opponents to their side but soon the other side would manage to pull back.  After a prolonged battle, the rope suddenly got snapped at the middle and the gopis on either side fell down on the ground!

Krishna who was thoroughly enjoying the competition now declared “Oh goodness! There are no winners now! What to do?  I can’t dance with either of the groups. Is there anyone who did not participate in the competition? I will dance with them”.

The gopis seethed in anger upon hearing this, because they knew Radha, Neeraja and Vrinda had opted not to participate in the competition earlier.  Krishna was informed of this and he called out their names to come forward to dance with him. As Radha, Neeraja and Vrinda came to the front, the other gopis felt like killing all the three of them!

When Krishna got up and said “Come let us dance” the three gopis said, “Dear Krishna, if you dance with just the three of us, all the other gopis would feel so sad and disappointed. We pray to you to include all the gopis in the dance”.

Hearing this, the other gopis felt very bad of themselves. They felt ashamed of their selfish mindset. With heads hung in shame for a while, they gathered themselves soon to join Krishna in the divine Rasaleela.

(Amma Onam Satsang – Monday 4/9/17)

Onam in Brindavan – 6!

The singing competition

The day of Onam celebration was nearing at Brindavan.  Gopis were excited as usual to celebrate the day with their beloved Krishna.

One of the gopis who was good at writing poetry thought of a grand plan to steal the show with Krishna on the day of celebration. She knew pretty well that no other Gopi in Vrindavan was good enough even to write a few sentences coherently. She called the other Gopis and spoke  excitedly about her idea: “Let us celebrate this onam in a different way. Let us conduct a poetry competition in front of Krishna. Whomsoever writes the best poetry as per Krishna’s judgment can dance with him in Ras Lila on the Onm day. What do you say?”

Another gopi who was reasonably talented in singing, but not in writing said, “What is the worth of a poem if it is not tuned to music and sung well?I would say a good song with good music should be judged for its worth”.

Several gopis agreed to this view point.

At this point of time, one gopi who was good at playing tabla said: “Only when a percussion is added, even a song well sung becomes wholesome and fully enjoyable”. Many gopis agreed to this.

Finally a consensus was evolved. It was decided to form several music groups amidst the gopis. Each group will have a song written, tuned to music and sung along with the accompaniment of a percussion instrument like Tabla. They will perform on the day of Onam in front of Krishna and Krishna should select the best group and allow that group to dance with him.

The suggestion was taken to Krishna and He readily gave his consent for it.

Hectic preparations began for the competition at Brindavan. Several gopis started searching for ideas for writing poetry. They started reading puranas and kavyas with  an idea of pinching a line or two from here and there  and somehow concoct a song!

There was one old pundit living in Brindavan who was virtually never considered a living being there all those years! Suddenly he became the most sought after man, because many gopis pestered him to write a few lines of songs and give to them secretly so that they could claim the songs as their own!

Gopis who were good at singing or in playing musical instruments became very proud and inaccessible since so many gopis tried to pull them into their groups.

The search for good poems became very frantic indeed. Some gopis picked up random words from here and there, and joined them to look like poetry! Rumors spread that some gopis were over-hearing others’ singing and practicing sessions and pinched lines from others’ songs. Scared of such a possibility, groups of gopis started practicing secretively at distant places so that no one could listen to them and attempt copying!

Finally, the onam day arrived. With lots of fanfare, the various groups of gopis sang their songs in front of Krishna. Krishna enjoyed listening to them all. When all the groups finished their presentation, Krishna asked, “Where is Radha? Why has not she sung any song?”

Poor Radha. who was unlettered, had kept herself away from all the hullabaloo. She opted to remain a silent observer.

Krishna called her out and said, “Radha! Why don’t you sing a song?”

Radha hesitated. How could she sing, when she had no idea of how to frame a poetic verse? Anyhow, since her beloved Krishna had asked her to sing, how could she negate it? She closed her eyes, and started singing from her heart, allowing whatever words that formed and came out on their own: “How can I ever sing when my music is verily Krishna?”

When she started singing, the whole atmosphere became calm.An inexplicable  bliss permeated the area.Gopis who knew playing musical instruments involuntarily started playing in support of Radha’s singing. Percussionists started playing their drums in appropriate beats to suit the singing. It became a soul stirring song, melting the heart of everyone.

Once the song was over, Krishna got up and extended his hand towards Radha, signalling her to dance with him. Even though other gopis felt that it was the most appropriate decision, some of them nevertheless asked Krishna, “Krishna, Radha’s song was beautiful, but it did not have any proper poetic mitre, rhyme or rhythm. But you selected that song to be the best. Why?”

Krishna replied: “You all wrote your songs with the intention of beating others in the competition whereas Radha’s song blossomed out of her love and surrender to me”

Then Radha requested Krishna to dance with other gopis too (and not just with her alone). Krishna agreed and th Ras Lila began.

Onam in Brindavan – 7!

The closest Location for Krishna

As the day of Onam neared, Brindavan was agog with festive mood once again. Gopas and gopis went to Krishna and said, “Dear Krishna, we should celebrate Onam this year too with your dance and so on; please suggest a location for us to arrange things”.

Krishna said, “I have no specific choice. You can discuss and decide among yourself; only make sure that it is closest to me. Let it not be a far off place”.

Several groups of Gopis went around discussing about the best location. Since Krishna wanted a place closest to him, they felt a location just around Nandagopa’s house will be the best. One group of gopis found the northern backyard of the house was the best. They set out to clean the place and arrange flower pots there. Another group found the southern side as the best. The went ahead clearing the bushes in that place and decorating it. A third group felt the western side to be best. There were lots of shady trees there. They cleared ground and arranged it neatly. Another group felt the west side to be the right. They cleared the place and spread white sand there.

Radha did not join any group. But she made herself available to do the cleaning and arranging works in all the four locations.

Each group brought a beautiful throne for their beloved Krishna to sit and kept it at a nicely visible location, one each at the east, west, north and south areas. Gopis in each group vied with each other to place their mats closest to the throne so that they can sit closest to Krishna.  Then some of them got worried. What if Krishna did not come to their location but go and sit in some other location?  To play safe, they brought extra mats and reserved seats in other locations too! Radha did not reserve any seat for her in any location. She was remaining a witness to all the buzz happening around her.

Onam day arrived. Gopis were hanging around here and there around the house with tension. They were not sure to which location Krishna would come.  But they were ready to take a sprint to whichever location Krishna might go, so that they can push their way to be closest to him! They were just waiting to hear the sound of Krishna’s flute.

Suddenly they heard a mild sound of flute from somewhere.  They fell silent so as to locate from where the music was coming. It sounded as if it was coming from a distant place. Ah! It was coming from the garden at side of the bank of the Yamuna river which was farther away from Nandagopa’s house!

Pandamonium! Gopis’ rushed to pick up their mats and also their vessels in which they had brought eatables to share with Krishna. There was lot of commotion, noise, banging at each other and voice of curses all around Krishna’s house! They ran like mad vying with each other towards the garden at the bank of Yamuna. In their mad rush, some knocked at each other dropped vessels and spilled the eatables too.

There, Krishna was seated under a shady tree, joyfully playing his flute and Radha was sitting beside him, deeply immersed in the divine music!

Gopis pushed and shoved each other in order to come and sit closest to Krishna as usual!

Once they arrived, there  were lots of voices simultaneously raising a complaint about Krishna! “Dear Krishna, you have cheated us! You chose to be alone with Radha, while we were all waiting for you there around your house. This place is far away from your home. We made everything ready just around your house in order to fulfil your condition that it should be closest to you!”

Krishna laughed and said, “Tell me which is the closest place for me? Is it not your heart? But your heart had no place for me! Your heart is full of competitive thoughts with others; You wanted only close physical proximity with me and not a heart to heart proximity! You were only carrying selfishness, envy, and other such emotions; you wanted to push everyone away from me so that you can find a nearest place to my physique! But Radha is carrying me always in her heart; she has no envy; she was alone here, not really keen to be competing with you over there!”

Gopis held their heads down in shame.

Radha said, “Krishna, they have spent several days cleaning and decorating all the sides of your house so as to celebrate this festive day there. Please don’t disappoint them”.

Krishna agreed.

All of them returned to Nandagopa’s house. And there they found Krishna in each and every location, waiting for their return!

(Amma Onam Satsang – Monday 10/9/19)

Onam in Brindavan – 8!

This Onam is for Gopas!

The day of Onam celebration was nearing at Vrindavan.  Gopis were excited as usual to celebrate the day with their beloved Krishna.

The Gopas of Vrindavan were in a belligerent mood this time. They were animatedly discussing among themselves about their pitiable fate. “See, our love on Krishna is in now way inferior to these Gopis’.  We are also so close to Krishna; we go along with him to the forest to graze our cows and we too have our close proximity to Krishna. But somehow, everyone talks too high of these Gopis’ love on Krishna. These gopis too are too proud of it and they just don’t care about us. Krishna too plays favoritism towards them. He does Rasa Lila only with the Gopis. Every year, Krishna celebrates Onam with Gopis and he gives all the attention only to them. These Gopis stick around Krishna on Onam day and have all the fun; when we try to come close to Krishna to take part in the fun, these Gopis chase us away! We had to be content to sit far away from Krishna and watch His lilas on the Onam day. How unfair this is!”

So, they went as a big group to meet Krishna and aired their complaint. Krishna listened to them patiently with a smiling face. One Gopa said, “Krishna, we expect fairness from you; we want to sit closest to you and enjoy the Onam festivities this time. We seek your cooperation”.

Krishna smiled and said, “Yes, I am at your disposal. Please tell me what you want me to do.”

The Gopas said, “Instead of the venue at the bank of the river Yamuna that these Gopis have already chosen this time for the Onam celebration, we will make the ground behind the Govardhan hill ready for the festivities. We will make all arrangements there. Let the Gopis keep preparing their place at the bank of Yamuna. This time you should come to our place straight. Once we are all settled, we will send the word to Gopis that you are with us behind Govardhan hill.  Let them occupy the seats behind us.”

Krishna agreed. The Gopas further said, “Let this be a top secret. Let none of the gopas whisper about this plan to any Gopi. Krishna, we know how mischievous you are. We want a promise from you that you shall never disclose the secret to the Gopis”. Krishna laughed and agreed.

The Gopas went away joyfully. They started secretly making all the preparations for Onam festivities at the ground behind the Govardhan hill.

In the meantime, some gopas visited the place near Yamuna bank where the Gopis were making all the arrangements.  As usual, they have made a throne ready for Krishna and all the Gopis have reserved their places tightly close to throne, by keeping their mats around.

Chuckling to themselves, the Gopas asked Gopis, “Oh! This time too you have reserved all your places closest to Krishna and as usual you have left us lurking. Will you please give some little space — at least some little place where one can prick a needle near you?”

“No way!” said the gopis. The Gopas left the place laughing. Oh! How piriful these Gopis would feel when they finally come  to know that Krishna had changed the venue at the last minute!

The day of Onam arrived. As usual the Gopis got up early, made their food preparations, dressed themselves up and left home as early as possible. The Gopas however left their homes leisurely.  They were sure that Krishna will be available for all of them without any need for competitions to get a place close to him at their exclusive location!

But they were  in for a huge shock when they reached the venue! Krishna was already seated there and he was fully surrounded by the Gopis.

“It is not fair Krishna! It must be your mischief as usual. You have not kept your promise of not telling them the change of venue!” They shouted at Krishna with genuine frustration.

Krishna said, “Oh! No! I never told anybody about it. I did keep my promise. I really don’t know how these Gopis sniffed and found out that I am here and not at the bank of Yamuna. Will you girls tell me how you came here?”

The Gopis said, “Krishna, as we left our homes this morning, we let loose the cows from the stables for them to go out for grazing  as usual. But we noticed that instead of running towards the river bank, they were running towards the Govardhan hill. We were surprised. Then we noticed that parrots too were flying towards the direction of the hill. Bees and butterflies too were flying in the same direction. The early morning breeze too had changed direction! When we noticed all these, we suspected that you must be somewhere around Govardhan hill, because we know about your divine attraction; we know it makes every living and nonliving beings getting lured towards you. So, instead of going to the river bank, we came and looked for you around the Govardhan hill and found you sitting in this new venue!”

“Ah! Poor Gopas! What can I do about it?  Their true love on me has sharpened their awareness so well!”

The Gopas held their head low in shame.

The Gopis offered the flowers they had brought with them to Krishna. Krishna said, “Now I need one specific flower from you.  It is called Karunya pushpam — The flower of compassion. I want you all to be compassionate with the Gopas and give space for them too to sit close to me”.

The Gopis agreed and many of them moved away and gave space for Gopas to sit near Krishna.

The Onam festivities began soon.

(From Amma’s Onam message 31/8/2020)