BHAKTI - Part 3: The Stories of Yashoda, Gopikas and Radha

Yashoda's Vatsalya Bhakti

Mother Yashoda and Lord Krishna
After Dasya Bhakti comes affectionate devotion, the Vatsalya Bhakti. None can understand the delusion hidden behind the sentiment of affection. Yashoda witnessed all the fourteen worlds, in the mouth of Krishna. But, overcome by delusion, she told herself, “This is, of course, my own son. How is it possible that the vast worlds are seen within such a small mouth?” So, she forgot all that she had seen. Affection is related only to the body. The affectionate feeling, that she was the mother and Krishna the son, created such strong delusion in her. When Krishna lifted the Govardhana hill to protect all the cows and cowherds, her feelings were, “O God! He has lifted such a huge hill. How will He put it down? Won’t He get stuck? It is easy to lift, but so difficult to place it down.” So worried was she that after all the people left the place, she continued to wait for Krishna. All of a sudden, Krishna caused a deafening sound. Frightened, Yashoda closed her eyes and ears. As she opened her eyes, she saw the hill was back on ground, with Krishna standing besides it. As He lifted, so He put it down. She never thought deep enough. Couldn’t the Lord who lifted it, put it down too? Such lack of discrimination and investigation occurs, when one is overwhelmed by affection.

When Uddhava came to Gokulam, with the message of Krishna, describing His glorious acts, Yashoda kept asking him, “O Uddhava, is my Gopala fine? I do not bother about ‘Leela Manusha Vigraha’ or ‘Muni Manasa Sanchari’. Is my Gopala fine or not?” She was not interested in the great tasks Krishna accomplished or the fame He earned. She was only interested in her own Gopala, the little cowherd boy! Calling out the name of Gopala continuously, Yashoda finally attained Him through Vatsalya Bhakti

Gopikas' Anuraga Bhakti

Gopikas and Lord Krishna
Next is, passionate devotion, Anuraga Bhakti, for which Gopikas are the examples. They were riding on two horses simultaneously. At home, it was the husband and in-laws, outside, it was devotion to Gopala; they had no other preoccupations, but for these two. They did their household duty and also, enjoyed Divinity. Once in a while, the Gopikas might have failed in their worldly responsibilities, but they never missed to think of Krishna. Krishna was their friend and everything else. That is Anuraga Bhakti

Radha's Madhura Bhakti

Lord Krishna and Radha
Radha alone possessed Madhura Bhakti, sweet love, and none else. She would think of Krishna and forget herself at once. She lived in the feeling that Krishna was her husband and she was His wife, or that Krishna was the Master and she was His servant. Both are one. He is the supreme principle (Paramatma) and she was the manifested nature (Prakriti). She had no other thoughts, other than that of Krishna, on her mind. Whenever she saw the blue colour, she would call out Krishna’s name. If it were a tree, she would go and hug the tree. Always, in everything, she could see nothing else but Krishna. She continuously chanted Krishna’s name and craved to listen to His flute. She desired to hear Krishna playing His flute, in the last moments of her life.

Do you know how sacred is the sound of Krishna’s flute? The complete essence of the Vedas has formed into the melody of the flute. This essence is as pure as cow’s milk. So, to bless Radha, Krishna arrived in her final moments. He asked Radha what she wanted as the final wish. Radha spoke, “Krishna! Since long, I have nurtured You in the lotus of my heart. Then, the waters of love evaporated gradually. Then, I nurtured You with tears flowing from my eyes. Even the tears dried up. Now, how am I to nurture You? I am only left with the sound form of Yours, that is Your name, and I am nurturing that in me.” 

When Krishna played the flute...

Sing O Krishna! Please say some nectarine words. 
To my heart’s content O Mukunda! 
Extract the essence of Vedas;
Turn it into sound of God 
Pour it into the flute;
Give it the shape of a song; Sing O Krishna!

She closed her eyes. A flame emerged out of her and merged into Krishna. Thus, she proved that Madhura Bhakti means unity of two souls. How could she reach this state? Steadfast devotion, pure love and selfless heart - these three are the reasons for that. Radha offered her body, mind and heart to the Lord in full, and finally became one with Him.

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