Jul 02, 2016 CANADA (SUN) A serial presentation of Sri Krsna's transcendental Vrindavan associates.
In our last segment, we considered the pastimes of Sri Krsna's priya-sakha friend, Sridama dasa, during his appearance in Gaura-lila. There is another excellent story that mentions Sridama, this one told by Srila Narahari Dasa in his Bhakti Ratnakara. It is actually a story from Krsna's Vrindavan-lila, being told by Lord Caitanya's associate. This is the pastime of Sri Virachandra prabhu's visit to the forests of Vraja, which mentions Sridama's service:
"Virachandra first took permission to visit the forests of Vrndavana from Sri Bugarba and Sri Jiva Gosvami, then started out along with Yadava Acarya and others to visit the forests of Madhu, Tala, Kumuda and Bahula. He also went to Radha Kunda where he relished the association of Sri Jiva and others. Surrounded by numerous great Vaisnavas, Virachandra enjoyed the beauty of the Radhakunda. Seeing the Tamala tree under which Prabhu Gaurachandra had sat during his visit to Sri Radhakunda, Virachandra became ecstatic. After visiting Shyamakunda and Radhakunda he went on to Girigovardhana, where he sang and danced madly absorbed in the ecstacy of sankirtana. Eager to serve him, the people of Vraja offered many items of food for his pleasure. He and his followers stayed there for five or six days. Thereafter Sri Jiva, Sri Bhugarba and others bed farewell to him.
Virachandra then slowly proceeded from Govardhana towards the cottage of Sri Krsnadasa Kaviraja. He stayed with Sri Kaviraja for two days and then went to Vrndavana, accompanied by Krsnadasa Kaviraja, Vasudeva, Uddhava, Yadava and some other devotees. He then traveled to Kamyavana, the place where Lord Krsna played as a youth. He took his bath in Vimala and other kundas in Kamyavana and then went to Vrisabhanupura. Vasudeva pointed out the location of King Vrisabhanu's palace where Lord Krsna first met Sri Radha. One day Krsna began thinking of a plan by which he could enter into the palace of Vrsabhanu. Very soon thereafter, on the occasion of Sri Radha's birthday celebration, Vrsabhanu sent Sridama to the house of Nanda to invite Nanada Maharaja and his family and friends to his palace. When Nanda and his party entered Vrsabhanu's palace, Krsna and Sri Radha met and stood staring at one another, enchanted by each other's beauty, later on they managed to meet in a private place."
(Bhakti Ratnakara by Sri Narahari Dasa)
While the occasion described above is Sri Radha's birthday, here is another pastime related to Sri Krsna's birthday, in which Sridama is also a participant. This one is found in Sri Aisvarya-kadambini: The Monsoon of Lord Krsna's Opulence by Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana:
Pancami Vrsti - Sa-parikara-bhagavaj-janmotsava-varnanam
(Fifth Shower - Description of the Festival of the Births of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His Associates)
"Nanda Maharaja glowed with happiness at the celebration of his son's birth. He opened wide the doors of his treasury and gave charity without restriction. Drowning in a flood of happiness, the beggars loudly praised the king's charity that fulfilled all their desires.
At first the king of Vraja and his subjects experienced a happiness within measured limits, but when child Krsna, the Supreme Lord, arrived, everyone's happiness at once passed beyond all limits.
Behind Krsna came Sri Balarama, Sridama, Ujjvala, and many other children. Shining with great luster, these boys made Vraja appear like the peak of a mountain of jewels.
Filled with transcendental glory and opulence, Govinda and the other boys filled with happiness the homes of the fortunate cowherd men headed by Maharaja Nanda in Vrajabhumi."
Sri Aisvarya-kadambini -- 'The Monsoon of Lord Krsna's Opulence' by Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana)
There is a similar narration of one of Sri Krsna's birthday celebrations in which Sridama saka and some of the other gopas took part. This story was presented in our recent segment on Sudama dasa, as told in Srila Jiva Goswami's Sri Gopal-campu.
Sridama's pastimes with Krsna not only took place in Vrindavan and Mathura, but also in Dvarka. In Srila Rupa Goswami's Sri Lalita-madhava there is a description of Sri Krsna's marriage with Radha in Dvarka. Mother Yasoda and Nanda Maharaja were in attendance, and a jubilant Nanda entered the assembly with the gopa boys, Sridama at his right and Subala at his left. (See Act Ten -- Purna-manorathah – 'All Desires are Fulfilled')
A number of Sridama's pastimes with Krsna in Vraja have already been told, some in previous segments on the gopa Subala. Among these are the pastimes mentioned in Garga Samhita, Dadhi-steya-varnana:
"With the boys of Vraja, Their friends headed by Sridama and Subala, They played on the Yamuna's sandy shore…"
and the yogurt theft pastime which is reenacted during dahi-handi festivals:
"When even from that height the yogurt-jar hanging from ropes could not be reached, Sridama and Subala hit the jar with sticks.
As all the beautiful yogurt flowed from the broken jug to the ground, Krishna, Subala, the boys, and some monkeys, all ate it."
(Sri Garga Samhita, Canto One, Volume Three, Chapter Seventeen, Text 15, 30-31)
Also in Garga Samhita is the Vatsa-vatsapala-harana pastime – kidnapping of the calves and cowherd boys, which again narrates the pastimes of both Sridama and Subala, this time at play, sharing their foodstuffs with one another:
"Then Sridama gave a morsel to Krishna and the other boys. All the boys of Vraja declared, "This is the best."
(Sri Garga Samhita, Canto One, Volume Four, Chapter Seven, Text 15-24)
And of course, the pastimes of Sridama, Subala and the other cowherd boys are also mentioned in the 10th Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam:
"[Lord Krsna said:] O Stoka Krsna and Amsu, O Sridama, Subala and Arjuna, O Vrsabha, Ojasvi, Devaprastha and Varuthapa, just see these greatly fortunate trees, whose lives are completely dedicated to the benefit of others. Even while tolerating the wind, rain, heat and snow, they protect us from these elements.
(Srimad Bhagavatam 10.22.31-32)
Tomorrow we will present some of the more detailed pastimes in which Sridama participated during Krsna's Vrindava-lila, several of which Srila Prabhupada also narrated in Krsna book.
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