Sri Krsna's Vrindavan Associates – Sudama,
BY: SUN STAFF
The Cowherd Boys of Vraja
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust
May 29, 2016 CANADA (SUN) A serial presentation of Sri Krsna's transcendental Vrindavan associates.
Rather than stop mid-stream in the story, we will carry on and complete our offering on Sudama, with descriptions of some of the pastimes Sri Krsna enjoyed with His confidential Vrindavan priya-sakha friend.
As we see in these various pastimes, there are several different moods in which the sakhas carried out their relationship with Krsna. In Sri Priti-sandarbha, Srila Jiva Goswami explains the nature of Krsna's joking relationship with Sudama and His dearmost friends:
"Lord Krishna laughed loudly and His companions also laughed,"
Here the word "bala" indicated Lord Krishna's friends. Only persons who are Lord Krishna's friends may touch His body. Others cannot. Lord Krishna friends are described in these words of Gautamiya Tantra, Prathamavarana-puja:
atmabhedena te pujya
yatha krishnas tathaiva te
"With fragrant flowers Dama, Sudama, Vasudama, and Kinkini worshiped Lord Krishna. These boys were all praised by Lord Krishna Himself. These boys all know Lord Krishna's heart. Their hearts are not different from Lord Krishna's heart. As Lord Krishna is worthy of worship, so are they."
Because these pastimes of Lord Krishna's relishing the gopis' anuraga love for Him are confidential, Lord Krishna pretended these activities were all a joke. This joking pretense is not incompatible with these pastimes. On the contrary, Lord Krishna joking enhances the bliss of the pastimes.'"
(Sri Priti-sandarbha - Volume I, Anuccheda 376-378)
In the following narrative, Srila Visvanath Cakravarti describes how Sudama and the other gopas could not contain their excitement each day, anxious to join Krsna in taking up their cowherd duties.
Sri Krishna Bhavanamrita-mahakavya:
Pastimes in the Pastures (8:24 a.m. - 10:48 a.m.)
"The cowherd boys that were eager to go out to the pastures with Krishna told their mothers, "Oh mother, why do you keep me here for putting on my tilaka and ornaments? What should I do? Why can't I get out of the house? All my friends are meeting with Krishna at this time of the morning. My friend Krishna, who is an ocean of love, waits for me, looking out for me to go with Him to the forest."
The mothers replied, "Vatsa, why are you so upset? I only have the tranquilizing, protective, stone left to put on your wrist. I don't hear the cows going out, yet. It's not forenoon, yet, and your friends haven't left their homes, yet! Why are you so restless? If you go unornamented you'll look like a beggar, and your friends, who have been decorated with jewels and golden ornaments, and who have been bathed by their mothers, will laugh at you!"
Even though their mothers were being naturally affectionate, the boys considered them impediments. When they heard even the slightest sound from near the road, they anxiously looked in that direction for their friends to come. Then Vasudama, Sudama, Kinkini, Subala and other boys gathered together from different places, like the waves of an ocean reaching the Krishna-shore.
Then, one cowherd man came and loudly said, "Listen, boys! King Nanda, who stays in the barn says, 'Let Acyuta happily sleep a little more. Don't awaken Him so roughly. I personally let loose the cows. Just wait a minute. And then go.' "
Hearing this, all the cowherd boys joyfully joined king Nanda in the barn, while more intimate friends like Subala went up to see Krishna in His bedroom. Then, the servant boys like Raktaka, Patraka and the rest, whose love for Krishna never decreases and who are expert in their service, came to mother Yashoda, who gave one of them some gladdening sweetmeats for her son. That boy kept the sweets in his wooden basket on his shoulder, considering them as being more precious than billions of hearts. Another servant boy brought in a wonderful moonstone jug filled with camphor scented water, covered by a wet, crimson sheet, that was colored like his attachment to Krishna, covering the clear whole water of his mind, that was outwardly manifest as matchless jewels of fortune (like the jewels on the jug). Another servant boy held a round crystal box filled with pan, under his arm, as if he were wearing his favorite deity, the moon. Another servant boy carried many kinds of garments and ornaments for the Lord, which were like herbs that enchanted the demigoddesses."
(Sri Krishna Bhavanamrita Mahakavya, Chapter 7, by Srila Visvanath Cakravarti)
Ter Kadamba, Vrindavan Dhama
In a recent Sun article, Aishwarya Kumar prabhu shared his personal travelogue, "More Photos from Vrindavana", which included photos of the place where Krsna and the gopas gathered with the cows. He writes:
"Ter Kadamba – this is a very important place in Vraja Mandala. This is near Nanda Grama. Anybody in the village will tell about the location of Ter-kadamba. On the day of Gopashtami, Mother Yasoda first sent Krishna to herd-grazing. She dressed Him as a prince with jeweled ornaments, beautiful turban and silken clothes. When the friends of Krishna saw Him, they started making fun of Him. They said, "Look at Him. He has come dressed, as though He has come to take care of the kingdom. He has simply come to get the calves grazed but in the dress of a King? Remove His ornaments and clothes. Let us dress Him like a perfect cowherd boy."
They then removed the gorgeous dresses and ornaments of Krishna and while making fun of Him, and started to dress Him with the flowers available there. They would gather varieties of colorful flowers and then adorn them on Krishna. Relishing this act of His friends, Krishna also planned to make fun of them. He saw a lake here which is called as Shyam Talaiya. Through his potency, He covered that lake with small, small green floating leaves. And then pointing out towards the other side of the lake, He told His friends, "O! My dear gopas, look on that side. Many flowers are blooming there. Why don't you all pluck them and bring to adorn on me?" Listening to Krishna's words, all the gopas started running towards the other side, not knowing they have to cross a lake in between to reach them. As they neared the lake, not noticing it, they all started falling into it, thus giving pleasure to Krishna.
Ter in Vraja means 'call'. Many Kadamba trees grow at this beautiful spot. Hence it is called as Ter Kadamba. Krishna used to put ter three times a day here.
Every morning after getting ready and breakfast, Krishna used to get the calves to this place for grazing. At that time, mother Yasoda used to tie lunch in a cloth and give it to Krishna. She would then send Him early with a heavy heart. Krishna when He used to come here, He would not find any gopas. So, He would climb on the Kadamba tree and call (first ter of the day) all His friends. O! Sudama, Subala, Mansukha, Dhansukha, Madhu, come soon. I am waiting for all of you to play. Please don't delay. Hearing the ter of Krishna, all the gopas would start worrying and start walking towards ter-kadama, thinking that Krishna will be alone and will not get any pleasure without our company. Let us go and play with Him. They used to come running on Krishna's call.
After coming here, they used to tie their lunch on the branches of the trees there. Since the lunch of all the gopas would be tied on the branches that tree, the tree got bent and moreover they could easily reach out the tree if it was low in height, since all of them were still very young. This tree is still lowered today. All throughout the day, Krishna would play with His friends here. While Krishna would play here, the hearts of gopis in Nandagaon would cry in the separation of Krishna. Mother Yasoda used to be so worried, so and so that she would climb to the terrace to see if the boys are fine. This she would do several times in the day and wait anxiously for the boys."
Over the course of the next two segments, we will complete our discussion of the transcendental person known as Sudama sakha.
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