Sri Krsna's Vrindavan Associates


Krsna and the Cowherds
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust

Mar 26, 2016 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of Sri Krsna's transcendental Vrindavan associates.

In this series, we will discuss the transcendental Associates of Sri Krsna who shared lila pastimes with Him in the glorious environs of Vraj. These divine personalities have been classified into various categories by the Vaisnava acaryas, and in many cases their identities during Caitanya Lila have also been disclosed.

There are numerous references in sastra to the phenomenon of Sri Krsna's personal associates – who they are, how they play various roles in His lila pastimes, when and where they manifest, etc.

    "As the sun appears in the morning and gradually rises to the meridian and then again sets in one hemisphere while simultaneously rising in the other, so Lord Krsna's disappearance in one universe and the beginning of His different pastimes in another take place simultaneously. As soon as one pastime is finished here, it is manifested in another universe. And thus His nitya-lila, or eternal pastimes, are going on without ending."
    Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.2.7 Purport

    "Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura says that advanced devotees help the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His mission and that such devotees or personal associates incarnate by the will of the Supreme Lord. The Supreme Lord incarnates by His own will, and, by His will, competent devotees also incarnate to help Him in His mission."
    Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya-lila 11.25

    "The demigods are also associates of the Lord without personal touch, whereas the direct associates of the Lord are in constant personal touch with Him. The Lord and His personal associates incarnate in many universes without cessation. The Lord remembers them all, whereas the associates forget due to their being very minute parts and parcels of the Lord; they are apt to forget such incidents due to being infinitesimal. This is corroborated in the Bhagavad-gita (4.5)."
    Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.15.49 Purport

    "Krsna had 16,108 wives, and each wife had ten sons, and each son had another ten sons. In this way the whole family was composed of hundreds and thousands of men, Yadu dynasty. And when Krsna came, so to assist Him, all these demigods, they came to help Him, lila. Just like if you play something dramatic, you require so many assistants, so when Krsna comes, those who are devotees of Krsna, they also come to assist Him. Somebody becomes His father, somebody His mother, somebody His friend, somebody His wife, somebody His son, some grandson, like that."
    Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1:15:22-23, Los Angeles, 12-2-73

As we know, a devotee can be in relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead in one of five different ways:

    in a passive state (neutrality)
    in an active state (servitorship)
    as a friend (friendship)
    as a parent (parental affection)
    as a conjugal lover (amorous)

Our unique, individual relationship with the Lord is evoked by the perfection of devotional service. Unfortunately, in the present status of our conditioned life, we have not only forgotten the Lord, we have forgotten our eternal relationship with Him. By engaging in the process of devotional service, we can revive that eternal svarupa relationship.

Sri Krsna has countless varieties of transcendental associates, including all the demigods and controlling deities, the great sages and devotees, the vahanas (carriers) and those who take the role of demons in lila pastimes. For the purpose of this series, however, we will focus primarily on the personalities who joined Krsna in Vrindavan, in the mood of dasya-rasa (servitorship), sakhya-rasa (friendship), and vatsalya-rasa (parental affection).

The associates we will cover in the category of dasya-rasa include his servants, gopi maidservants, household servants, messengers and spies. In the category of sakhya-rasa we will discuss Sri Krsna's boyhood friends, the gopis and gopas. In the category of vatsalya-rasa, we will focus not so much on Mother Yasoda and Father Nanda, but on the other adults in Vraj of who showered parental affections on Krsna – his worshipable superiors. We may also briefly mention some of Krsna's Vrindavan servants in the mood of santa-rasa, particularly the birds and animals.

The confidential friends of Krsna are called priya-sakhas, and they are closer to Krsna than some of His boyhood friends, cousins, etc. The priya-sakhasare almost Krsna's age, and their very confidential relationships are based on pure friendship. Some of the confidential friends in this category are Sridama, Sudama, Dama, Vasudama, Kinkini, Stoka-krsna, Amsu, Bhadrasena, Vilasi, Pundarika, Vitanka and Kalavinka.

Before we explore the priya-sakhas, however, we will focus on an even higher level of confidential friends – the priya-narma intimate friends. Counted among them are divine associates such as Subala, Arjuna, Gandharva, Vasanta and Ujjvala.

We begin tomorrow with a detailed study of Subala, one of the most intimate of all Krsna's friends in Vrajabhumi.


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