Sri Krsna's Vrindavan Associates – Sridama,
Part Nine


Shelter in the Storm
Kangra, c. 1825

Apr 12, 2011 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of Sri Krsna's transcendental Vrindavan associates.

Today, we will present a few more pastimes which describe the intimate mood of friendship between Sri Krsna and his confidential priya-sakha friend, Sridama. Several of these pastimes are narrated by Srila Rupa Gosvami in his Uddhava Sandesh.

Uddhava Sandesh tells of the activities of Uddhava, being requested by Vasudeva to go to Vrindavan and pacify all the friends and relations who are suffering due to separation from Krsna. When describing one of the places Uddhava is instructed to visit, Krsna relates several pastimes when He and Sridama were at play:

    "Uddhava, you please next quickly pass through Kotik Tirth which is full of many varieties of flowers and trees. The first time I went through that area a chaste flower girl looked at Me with spontaneous love and raised her two arms while gently smiling. (18)

    Note: The area between Akrura-ghat and Chatikara is known as Kotik Tirth-The topmost.

    In the same way you should proceed into the area of Sattikara (Chatikara) which is under the control of the black bees. Once while I was playing in that place, Sridama took on the form of Garuda and I sat on his back for twelve days (as Visnu). (19)

    Note: There is a temple of Garuda-Govinda in Chatikara with a deity of Govinda having twelve arms sitting on the back of Garuda. This is the spot where Krsna lived after leaving Mahavana (Gokula)…

    When I would go to the forest to see the flowers, Sridama and My other dear friends would come rushing happily to touch me, shouting: "I will be first, I will be first." (95)

    Taking My name and inquiring about their well-being, affectionately embrace them over and over on My behalf…

    That most merciful Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, Who enjoys childhood pastimes with Sridama and the other cowherd boys, Who dances with the young beautiful gopis and also playfully destroys many demons, should be remembered for He will deliver you to the other shore of the ocean of birth and death." (131)

    (Uddhava Sandesh by Srila Rupa Gosvami)

There is another pastime involving Sridama, in which both he and Uddhava are engaged as messengers on Krsna's behalf. This story is described in Garga Samhita 5.2.10, 'Sri Uddhavagamana' -- The Arrival of Sri Uddhava:

    Text 23

    durat tam agatam viksya
    jnatva krsnam vrajarbhakah
    ucuh parasparam te vai

    "Seeing Uddhava coming, and thinking he was Krsna Himself, the gopa boys, eager to see Krsna, spoke among themselves.

    Text 24

    sri-gopa ucuh

    nanda-sunuh kilayati
    sakha yo 'yam na samcayah
    megha-cyamah pita-vasah
    sragvi kundala-manditah

    The gopas said: Nanda's son is coming. It is our friend Krsna. There is no doubt of it. He is dark as a monsoon cloud. He wears yellow garments. He is decorated with earrings and a garland.

    Text 25

    kaustubhi kundali bibhrat
    tad eva mukutam bibhrat

    He wears earrings and a Kastubha jewel. He holds a thousand-petal lotus. He wears a crown splendid as millions of suns.

    Text 26

    ta evacva rathah so 'yam
    balo nasti rathe casminn
    ekaki nanda-nandanah

    These are the same horses. It is the same chariot decorated with a network of tinkling ornaments. Balarama is not on it. Nanda's son has come alone.

    Text 27

    sri-narada uvaca

    evam vadanto gopalah
    cridamadya videha-rat
    krsnakrtim krsna-sakham
    ayayuh sarvato ratham

    Sri Narada said: O king of Videha, speaking in this way, the gopas headed by Sridama surrounded the chariot Krsna's friend, whose form was like Krsna's.

    Text 28

    krsno nastiti vadatah
    ko 'yam saksat tad-akrtih
    tan namaskrtyaupagavih
    parirabhyavadat pathi

    The gopas said, "He is not Krsna. Who is he? His form is like Krsna's." Then, in the middle of the road, Uddhava bowed before the gopas and embraced them all.

    Text 29

    sri-uddhava uvaca

    grhana patram cridaman
    krsna-dattam na samcayah
    cokam ma kuru gopalaih
    kucaly aste harih svayam

    Sri Uddhava said: O Sridama, please take this letter. Krsna gave it. Of this there is no doubt. Don't lament. Krsna takes a personal interest in the welfare of the gopas.

    Text 30

    yadavanam mahat karyam
    krtvatha sa-balah prabhuh
    hrasva-kalena catrapi
    bhagavan agamisyati

    After He has fulfilled His responsibilities to the Yadavas, Lord Krsna and Balarama will quickly return to Vraja.

    Text 31

    sri-narada uvaca

    pathitva tad-dhasta-patram
    cridamadya vrajarbhakah
    bhrcam acruni muncantah
    prahur gadgadaya gira

    Sri Narada said: After reading the letter in their hands, the boys of Vraja burst into tears. Then, their voices choked with emotion, they spoke.

    Text 32

    sri-gopa ucuh

    pantheti nirmohini nanda-sunau
    tanur vibhutic ca dhanam balam ca
    sarva dhiyah krsnam rte vraje nah
    cunyam prajatam hi jagat samastam

    The gopas said: O traveler, Krsna's body, opulence, wealth, strength, intelligence are never thwarted or bewildered. For us people of Vraja, to be without Krsna is to live in a world that is a desert.

    Text 33

    ksano yugatvam va ghati maha-mate
    prayati manvantaratam vrajaukasam
    yamac ca kalpam ca dinam vina harim
    viyoga-duhkhair dvi-parardhatam gatam

    O noble-hearted one, for the people of Vraja suffering in Krsna's absence, a moment has become a yuga, a half-hour has become a manvantara, three hours has become a kalpa, and a day has become a lifetime of Brahma.

    Text 34

    ahar-nicam tam na hi vismaramahe
    dusta ghati sa prayayau yaya hi sah
    mano harann uddhava no vanaukasam
    vayasya-bhavena sada krtagasam

    Day and night we cannot forget Him. The treacherous half-hours pass, but He does not return. O Uddhava, He has stolen all the thoughts of the people of Vraja. Thinking He was just our friend, we must have offended Him again and again."

    (Sri Garga Samhita, Canto Five, Volume Two Chapter Ten)

There is another pastime, also involving the severe feelings of distress brought on by love in separation. In this case, we hear of the anxiety being experienced by both the residents of Vraja and Dwaraka, and also by Krsna Himself.

In this passage from Srila Sanatana Goswami's Sri Brihad-bhagavatamrita, Balarama and Uddhava have come to Dwarka to report to Krsna on the great unhappiness of the people of Vraja. Attempting to revive Krsna, who has fainted away after hearing about the sentiments of the people of Vraja, the demigods arrive. Lord Brahma announces the construction of a mirror version of Mathura, created by Visvakarma in order to soothe Krsna's distress. Here, Sridama is again mentioned as one of Krsna's dearmost friends in Vrindavana.

    Chapter Seven: Purna (The Perfect Devotees)

    "Sri Pariksit said: Mother, the great weeping of the Lord and His associates filled the universe and at once created a great host of terrible calamities.

    Because no one (but Krsna) could have brought these calamities, Brahma, accompanied by His associates, the demigods and the scriptures headed by the Vedas and Puranas, personally came (to Dvaraka).

    Gazing with wonder on his father and guru, Lord Maha-Narayana who, tortured with love for His dearest devotees and His most secret glories openly displayed, was in a wonderful, unprecedented condition of heart, Brahma lost all composure and for a moment wept.

    Carefully composing himself, he thought how to bring the Lord to an auspicious condition. Then, in his heart he found the way.

    Addressing Garuda, who loudly wept by the Lord's side, and with great effort gaining his attention, Brahma spoke.

    Sri Brahma said: Built by Visvakarma and decorated with deities of Nanda, Yasoda, the other cowherd people, and many cows, a district of Mathura is splendidly manifest between Mount Raivata and the ocean. It is as if Vrndavana itself had come there.

    Carefully and slowly, as His delicate state allows, bring Krsna there with His elder brother. Rohini may also come, but no one else.

    Sri Pariksit said: Carefully brought by Brahma to his normal state, Garuda, who is the king of birds and the best of the wise and skilful, very gently placed the two of Them (Krsna and Balarama) on his back.

    Brahma brought everyone to their natural states and they all returned to their own places. As He was being carried by Garuda, Balarama seemed to regain His original consciousness.

    Then Lord Krsna was gently put in that place. It was as if the gopas and gopis stood around Him.

    Uddhava, Devaki, who dearly loved her son, Padmavati, and the queens headed by Rukmini and Satyabhama, unable to leave Krsna in that state, went there. By Brahma's order they hid, staying far from the path of Krsna's eyes.

    Thinking himself an offender, Narada, did not follow the demigods and Yadavas.

    Tightening his yoga-garment, he stayed in the sky to see the sweetness of the Lord's pastimes.

    Garuda also went into the sky where he followed the Lord, giving shade with his wings.

    Krsna's elder brother, Balarama, the crest-jewel of philosophers, quickly attained His original consciousness and understood everything. At once He covered Krsna's lotus face and gently placed a flute in His belt, a horn-bugle and stick under His arms, a kadamba garland on His neck, a peacock feather on His head, and new gunja earrings on His ears.

    Having thus dressed Krsna with forest-garments fashioned by Visvakarma, Balarama picked up Krsna and loudly spoke.

    Sri Balarama said: Sri Krsna! Krsna! Brother! Rise! Rise! Wake Up! Look! It is late! The cows are already entering the forest!

    Your friends headed by Sridama are waiting for You! Overcome with love, Your parents have no power even to speak to You!

    Gazing at Your lotus face and whispering in each other's ear, the gopis smile at You.

    Sri Pariksit said: In this way Balarama spoke again and again, affectionately addressed Krsna by different names, lifted Krsna with His hands and made Him stand up. After a long time Krsna regained consciousness. Filled with wonder, and saying, "Good! Good!", Krsna stood up."

    (Sri Brihad-bhagavatamrita, Chapter 7, Verses 1-20, by Srila Sanatana Goswami)


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