Sri Krsna's Vrindavan Associates – Sridama,
Part Ten


The Cowherd Boys of Vraja
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust

Jul 16, 2016 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of Sri Krsna's transcendental Vrindavan associates.

Today, in our last segment on Krsna's dearmost cowherd friend Sridama, we begin with some of the pastimes that involve Radharani. Sridama served sometimes as messenger, sometimes as negotiator of arrangements, and sometimes simply as a friend, listening to Krsna's musings on the beautiful Radha.

In Sri Sangita-madhava by Srila Prabodhananda Sarasvati there is a description in Chapter 4 of Radha searching for Krsna in the madana-jivana forest of Vrindavan. Radha caused Krsna to faint from the delight of seeing her. She revived Him, then departed, and Krsna was discovered in an agitated state by sakha Sridama:

    "Sridama searched for his dear friend Krsna, and finally found Him. Krsna was rolling about on the ground, completely overwhelmed. Unhappy to see his friend in this condition, Sridama said:

    'The cows have wandered far away. The day is almost over. We are famished with hunger, and Your mother has fixed her eyes on the path, waiting for Your return. O Krsna, when You silently leave Your pastimes with us, and then we find You sorrow-faced with tears flowing from Your eyes, we no longer desire to remain alive in these bodies.'"

Krsna then sang a song to Sridama in which He glorified Radha, after which Sridama admonished the Lord not to lament: "My friend, stand up. Do not lament. Start towards home and call the cows with the sound of Your large flute." Krsna was not pacified by Sridama's words, however, and returned home to a sleepless night. Later on we read:

    "The next day Krsna climbed the lofty summit of His favorite Hill, Govardhana. As He placed His eyes on the entire land of Vraja, He saw Radharani, the jewel of Maharaja's Vrsabhanu's home. He pointed to Her, identifying Her to Sridama as the thief who had stolen His heart. All this made Krsna very happy."

There are numerous pastimes with Sridama mentioned in Sri Vidagdha-Madhava (Clever Krishna) by Srila Rupa Goswami. Here, Krsna is playfully taking advantage of the fact that Sridama is the brother of His beloved Radha:

    Act One: Venu-nada-vilasa (Pastimes of Flute-music)
    Scene 2, Texts 32(s-u):

    "Krsna: (Smiling, He glances at the sky. Then He approaches Balarama). noble friend, it is already late in the afternoon. Please take the cows to the Yamuna's shore and let them satisfy their thirst. Please enjoy these delicious laddu candies. I will rest for a moment with my dear friends Sridama and Subala. (Balarama and the cowherd boy friends exit.)

    Paurnamasi: (aside) I should go and see if the picture of Krishna is finished. (She respectfully takes leave of Krishna and then departs.)

    Krishna: (takes one step, and then pauses) Friend Sridama, have you ever seen this Radha, the most beautiful girl in the universe? (Smiling with embarrassment, Sridama lowers his face.)

    Subala: Friend, how can You ask if he has seen her? Radha is his sister."

Elsewhere in Act One, there are several passages describing the cowherd boys preparing to take the cows out for the day:

    "Nandi: Noble lady, look! Accompanied by Balarama, Madhumangala, Sridama, and a host of friends, and embraced by affectionate Nanda and Yashoda, His parents, Krsna now goes from Gokula to Vrindavana forest…. (17c)

    Krsna: (looking ahead) The sweet, fragrant honey oozing from newly grown mango buds is again and again attracting groups of bumblebees, and this forest is trembling in the softly moving breezes from the Malaya Hills, which are full of sandalwood trees. Thus the forest of Vrindavana is increasing My transcendental pleasure. (23b)

    Rama: My dear friend Sridama, see how this forest of Vrindavana is full of transcendental creepers and trees. The tops of the creepers are full of flowers, and intoxicated bumblebees are buzzing around them, humming songs that please the ear and surpass even the Vedic hymns.

    Krsna: Friend Madhumangala, staying here with you and the others, I will delight the creatures of Vrindavana forest with the sound of My flute. (Krsna places the flute to His lips)

    Rama: (with wonder) Look! They are becoming the opposite of what they were!

    When Krsna, playing by the Yamuna's bank, kisses His flute, the waters of the streams become stunned and solid, the rocks become soft and melt, and the mountains, no longer standing still, tremble and walk about.

    Madhumangala: Oh! Oh! Wonderful! Drinking a flood of nectar that is the sweet sound of Krsna's flute, the cows are stunned with bliss. Now they are all sprinkling the flowers with great flowing waves of milk."

    (Sri Vidagdha-Madhava (Clever Krishna) by Srila Rupa Goswami)

As we have seen over the course of these many segments, Krsna's priya-sakha friend in Vrindavan, Sridama gopa, is one of the topmost confidential friends of the Lord. Participating in countless wonderful pastimes with the gopas and gopis of Vraja, Sridama's unfailing affection for Krsna is beautifully stated in this final passage from Sri Brhad-Bhagavatamrta:

    Texts 68 and 69

    nikunja-varye surabhi-prasuna-
    suvasite gunjad-ali-praghushte
    vinirmite talpa-vare navina-
    susvapa mitra-nikaraih paricaryamanah

    "Then, in a beautiful forest grove scented with fragrant flowers and pleasant with humming bees, on an excellent bed made of new soft leaves and flowers, served by boys expert in combing and decorating His hair, singing, massaging His lotus hands and feet, reciting prayers, and fanning Him, and His soft pillow the body of a dear friend named Sridama, He slept."

    (Sri Brhad-Bhagavatamrta by Srila Sanatana Goswami, Part Two, Chapter Seven)


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