about the Karttika vratam:
Karttik Mahatmya from Hari Bhakti Vilas: - all the benefits of the month of Kartika
Karttik Mahatmya HBV - ENGLISH ONLY
Bahulastami - Radha kunda snan dan
Diwali - Dipavali - Dip dan - Akash Dipa (Significance of the various days of the Diwali period):
Go-puja - Go Krd
Govardhan Puja - Annakuta
Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's Tirubhava - Commemorative day of His passing - Samadhi - Vrindavan
Padma Purana on Kartika Vrata
Quotes from the Dik-darshini tika commentary of Srila Sanatan Goswami, on Srila Gopal Bhattar Goswami's Hari Bhakti Vilas.
Significance of each of the Days of Kartika
Glories of Kartika from Srila Rupa Goswami and Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Damodarastakam Tika of Sanatan Goswami
The Ramayan - the untold stories - Hanuman fights with Ravan, Rama Kills the ten headed demon, and recovers Sita Devi.
Sri Rama Avatara
The Ramayan in RealAudio Story form - by Amala Bhakta dasa
Bhishma panchaka fast for Karttika
Haribodhini (Prabodhini) ekadasi - When the Lord wakes up
glories of the Month of Karttik - in one .pdf file - a must read
Karttik Mahatmya .pdf (2010)
Giriraj maharaj talks about Karttik and Sarat-purnima
How the followers of Madhwacharya follow the Festivals of Kartika (2005)
Shaligram Tulasi Vivaha
Performing vrata in the month of Kartika (Damodara) is glorified profusely in the puranas. Since this month is very dear to Krsna by performing austerities, or restraining ones sense gratification and performing activities to please the senses of the Lord, one becomes very dear to the Krsna. As Satya yuga is the best of yugas, as the vedas are the best of scriptures, as ganga is the best of rivers, so kartika is the best of months, the most dear to Krsna. The vrata may begin on the ekadasi of the waxing moon of asvina, on the purnima, or (samkranti) when the sun enters the house of Libra.
Five activities are glorified: staying awake, early morning bath, worship of Tulasi, offering lamps and performing austerities.
One should practice brahmacarya, give charity, and perform homa and japa.
One is advised to give up eating beans, kalami saka, patola, eggplant, meat, fish, liquor, oil massage, illicit sex, grains cooked by others.
One should eat once a day havisana.
One should increase ones devotional service by performing more deity worship, hearing and speaking about the Lord, by extra japa of the Lord's name, worshipping tulasi, staying awake at night chanting, visiting holy tirthas and offering lamps to the Lord.
One should worship Radha Damodara and recite the Damodarastaka daily.
More on Chaturmasya vratas HERE:
KARTIKE'SMIN VISESENA NITYAM KURVITA VAISNAVAH
DAMODARA ARCANAM PRATAH SNANA DANA VRATA ADIKAM
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/3 from SKANDA PURANA)
Specifically in the month of Damodara, one should daily worship Lord Damodara and take bath early in the morning, give charity and follow a fasting vow. This is the duty of Vaisnavas.
NIYAMENA VINA VIPRAH KARTIKAM YAH KSIPEN NARAH
KRSNA PARAN-MUKHAS TASYA YASMAD URJO'SYA VALLABHAH
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/24 from PADMA PURANA conversation between Narada Muni and Saunaka Rsi)
Oh brahmanas, any person who tries to observe a Karttika month without following rules and regulations properly, Lord Sri Krsna remains against them because this month (Karttika) is very pleasing to Him.
YAIR NA DATTAM HUTAM JAPTAM NA SNANAM NA HARER VRATAM
NA KRTAM KARTIKE PUTRA DVIJAS TE VAI NARADHAMAH
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/25 from SKANDA PURANA)
Oh son Narada, those brahmanas who do not give charity in the month of Karttika, perform sacrifice, chant japa and fast for Lord Hari are the lowest of mankind.
KARTIKA KHALU VAI MASAM SARVA MASESU CA UTTAMAM
PUNYANAM PARAMAM PUNYAM PAVANANAM CA PAVANAM
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/36 from SKANDA PURANA)
The month of Karttika is the topmost of all other months. It is the most meritorious and purified of all other pure months.
NA KARTIKA SAMO MASO NA KRTENA SAMAM YUGAM
NA VEDA SADRSAM SASTRAM NA TIRTHA GANGAYA SAMAM
KARTIKAH PRAVARO MASO VAISNAVANAM PRIYAH SADA
KARTIKAM SKALAM YASTU BHAKTYA SEVATE VAISNAVAH
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/39,40 from SKANDA PURANA)
There is no other month equal to Karttika and there is no other yuga equal to Krta-yuga. There is no other scripture equal to Vedas. There is no other place of pilgrimage equal to Ganges, therefore, the month of Karttika is very dear to the Vaisnavas (people dedicated to Visnu).
DVADASU API MASESU KARTIKAH KRSNA VALLABHAH
TASMIN SAMPUJITO VISNUR ALPAKAIR APY UPAYANAIH
DADATI VAISNAVAM LOKAM ITI EVAM NISCITAM MAYA
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/41 from PADMA PURANA)
Among all twelve months, the month of Karttika is dear to Lord
Sri Krsna. If
somebody performs a little worship of Lord Sri Hari in this month, He offers
that devotee His own abode. This statement is true.
PRAVRTTANAM CA BHAKSANAM KARTIKE NIYAME KRTE
AVASYAM KRSNA RUPATVAM PRAPYATE MUKTIDAM SUBHAM
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/49 from SKANDA PURANA)
Whatever one usually eats, if he gives up some of the ingredients of it in the month of Karttika, then he achieves the same aupicious form as Lord Sri Krsna undoubtedly.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami remarks in the Digdarsini-tika, "Those who are engaged in eating daily and following the rules of Karttika, they should try to minimize and give up certain ingredients in eating. Obtaining the same form as Krsna means that it liberates one from the miseries of this material world and gives all auspiciousness and happiness."
SARVA DHARMAN PARITYAJYA KARTIKE KESAVA AGRATAH
SASTRA AVATARANAM PUNYAM SROTAVYAN CA MAHAMUNE
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/76 from SKANDA PURANA Lord Brahma speaks to Narada
Oh great sage, after giving up all varieties of religious functions,
should follow Karttika fast and listen to the narrations of Lord Sri Hari
before His Deity form.
PALASA PATRA BHOJI CA KARTIKE PURUSO NARAH
NISPAPAH SYAT TU NAIVEDYAM HARER BHUKTVA VIMUCYATE
MADHYASTHAM ISVARAM PATRAM VARJAYED BRAHMANE TARAH
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/87 from PADMA PURANA)
Any person in the month of Karttika, who eats on the leaf plate of Palasa the remnants of the Lord, becomes free from all sins and achieves liberation. Besides brahmanas (twice born persons), others are not advised to eat from this leaf because this leaf is said to be the leaf of the Supreme Lord.
SNANAM JAGARANAM DIPAM TULASI VANA PALANAM
KARTIKE YE PRAKURVANTI TE NARA VISNU MURTAYAH
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/90 from PADMA PURANA Lord Krsna speaks to Satyabhama)
Any person who performs bathing in the month of Karttika, remaining awake, offering lamps, giving charity or planting and transplanting Tulasi, he achieves the same form as Lord Sri Visnu.
KALPA KOTI SAHASRANI PATKANI BAHUNY API
NIMESA ARDHENA DIPASYA VILAYAM YANTI KARTIKE
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/99 from SKANDA PURANA)
If even for a short time somebody burns a lamp in the temple of Lord Sri Hari, then whatever sins he has acquired for millions of kalpas (one kalpa equals 1000 yugas) are all destroyed.
YATHA CA MATHANAD VAHNIH SARVA KASTHESU DRSYATE
TATHA CA DRSYATE DHARMO DIPADANE NA SAMSAYAH
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/120 from PADMA PURANA)
Just as by rubbing of two sticks of wood one can see fire, so by offering a burning ghee wick to the Lord in the month of Karttika, one can see his merits without a doubt.
In his Digdarsini-tika Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains, "Even though fire is present in all pieces of wood, still without rubbing fire does not manifest. Similarly, in all kinds of functions, although merit is available, by offering a lamp in this month, certainly one can see the merit. Not otherwise. Of this there is no doubt. Therefore, without offering lamps, all merits are unprofitable. This is the essence here."
VAISNAVO NA SA MANTAVYAH SAMPRAPTE KARTIKE MUNE
YO NA YACCHATI MUDHATMA DIPAM KESAVA SADMANI
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/122 from PADMA PURANA)
Oh sage, a person who does not offer a ghee lamp in Lord Kesava's temple in Karttika, that foolish person is not addressed as a Vaisnava.
EKADASYAM PARER DATTAM DIPAM PRAJVALYA MUSIKA
MANUSYAM DURLABHAM PRAPYA PARAM GATIM AVAPA SA
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/129 from SKANDA PURANA)
One rat (female mouse) had once burnt a ghee lamp which was offered by someone else on Ekadasi day. By doing so, she achieved a rarely achievable human form and at last attained the topmost destination.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami writes in his Digdarsini-tika, "In this verse it is found that it is possible to attain the results of directly offering a lamp on Ekadasi. This history of the mouse is very famous in the Padma Purana, Kartika Mahatmya. (In a temple of Lord Visnu, there was a mouse living who was eating the ghee from the extinguished ghee lamps which had been offered by others to Him. One day when she felt hungry to eat ghee, she tried to eat the ghee from a lamp which was not yet extinguished. While eating ghee from the lamp, the cotton wick got stuck in her teeth. Since the ghee wick had a flame, the mouse started jumping in front of the Lord's Deity form and thus died due to fire. But Lord Sri Visnu accepted the jumping of that mouse with a lit ghee wick in her mouth as His aratik. In the end He gave her liberation, the topmost destination.)
MATHURAYAM NARAIR URJE SNATVA DAMODARO'RCITAH
KRSNA RUPA HI TE JNEYA NA ATRA KARYA VICARANA
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/155 from PADMA PURANA)
Any person who worships Lord Damodara in the month of Karttika in the Mathura area, certainly achieves the same form as Lord Sri Krsna Himself.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami comments on this in his Digdarsini-tika, "Human beings achieving the same form as Krsna means that they see Lord Sri Krsna. In other words, they become as worshipable as Lord Sri Krsna. This this the understanding here."
KARTIKE MATHURAYAM VAI PUJANAD DARSANAD DHRUVAH
SIGHRAM SAMPRAPTAVAN BALO DURLABHAM YOGA TATPARAIH
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/161 from PADMA PURANA)
Although a child, Dhruva Maharaja during the month of Karttika in the area of Mathura worshiped Lord Sri Damodara and immediately became fixed in his devotion, became worshipable by Saunaka and the other sages and saw the Supreme Personality of Godhead face to face.
SULABHA MATHURA BHUMAU PRATY ABDAM KARTIKAS TATHA
TATHAPI SAMSARANTIHA NARA MUDHA BHAVA AMBUDHAU
YANI SARVANI TIRTHANI NADA NADYAH SARANSI CA
KARTIKE NIVASANTY ATRA MATHURE SARVA MANDALE
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/162,164 from PADMA PURANA)
Although Mathura (Vraja area) is easily available on the earth and Karttika is easily attainable in the year, but oh, what a great misfortune in the side of human beings who are still suffering in the ocean of material existence. In the month of Karttika, all of the places of pilgrimage, oceans, rivers and lakes come to Mathura area [but they do not take advantage of it.]
ASVINASYA TU MASASYA YA SUKLA EKADASI BHAVET
KARTIKASYA VRATA ANIHA TASYAM KURYAD ATANDRITAH
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/168 from PADMA PURANA conversation between Lord
One should take a fasting vow for the month of Karttika without any laziness on the Ekadasi which falls in the light part of the month of Asvina (September-October).
NA GRAHE KARTIKE KURYAD VISESENA TU KARTIKAM
TIRTHE TU KARTIKIM KURYAT SARVA YATNENA BHAVINI
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/186 from SKANDA PURANA)
Oh beautiful lady, specifically, one should not take a vow of fasting in the Karttika month in the home or house. Always the endeavor should be made to go to a place of pilgrimage to make this vow and observe it there.
TATAH PRIYATAMA VISNO RADHIKA GOPIKASU CA
KARTIKE PUJANIYA CA SRI DAMODARA SANNIDHAU
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/195 from PADMA PURANA)
Among all other gopis, Srimati Radharani is the most dear to Lord Krsna. Therefore in the month of Karttika, one should worship Lord Damodara with Srimati Radharani near Him.
DAMODARA ASTAKAM NAMA STOTRAM DAMODARA ARCANAM
NITYAM DAMODARA AKARSI PATHET SATYA VRATA UDITAM
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/198)
In the month of Karttika, one should daily worship Lord Damodara and sing the Damodarastaka (the eight prayers of Lord Damodara) which pleases Lord Damodara, written by the sage named Satyavrata.
GOVARDHANA GIRAU RAMYE RADHAKUNDAM PRIYAM HAREH
KARTIKE BAHULA ASTAMYAM TATRA SNATVA HAREH PRIYAH
NARO BHAKTO BHAVED VIPRAS TADDHI TASYA PRATOSANAM
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/207 from PADMA PURANA)
Oh brahmanas, in the beautiful Govardhana area there is a Radhakunda (a lake of Radharani) which is very dear to Lord Sri Hari. One who takes bath in it on the eighth day of the dark moon night of Karttika, becomes very dear to Lord Sri Hari.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami remarks in his Digdarsini-tika that, "Although by taking bath in Radhakunda one becomes very dear to Lord Sri Hari, still, if he takes bath anywhere in the name of pleasing Lord Hari, he pleases Him as well.
SRI KRSNA DASA VARYO'YAM SRI GOVARDHANA BHUDHARAH
SUKLA PRATIPADI PRATAH KARTIKE'RCYU 'TRA VAISNAVAIH
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/232 from SKANDA PURANA)
On the first day of the light part of the month of Karttika, a Vaisnava should certainly worship the topmost servant of Lord Sri Krsna, Sri Govardhana Hill, early in the morning as it is found in the Srimad Bhagavatam, 10th Canto, 21 chapter, verse 18.
MATHURAYAM TATHA SAKSAT KRATVA CAIVA PRADAKSINAM
VAISNAVAM DHAMA SAMPRAPYA MODATE HARI SANNIDHAU
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/249 from PADMA PURANA)
One who stays in the Mathura area, worships Govardhana, and goes around it, he goes to the abode of Lord Sri Hari and stays there happily.
URJE SUKLA DVITIYAYAM MADHYAHE YAMA ARCAYET
SNANAM KRTVA BHANUJAYAM YAMA-LOKAM NA PASYATI
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/267 from SKANDA PURANA and PADMA PURANA)
On the midpart of the second day of the light part of the month of Karttika one should worship Yamaraja and take bath in the Yamuna. If he does so, he will not have to go to the abode of Yamaraja.
PRABODHINIM UPOSYA EVA NA GARBHE VISATE NARAH
SARVA DHARMAN PARITYAJYA TASMAT KURVITA NARADA
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/289 from SKANDA PURANA spoken by Lord Brahma)
Oh Narada Muni, one who fasts on Prabodhini (when the Lord gets up) Ekadasi, does not enter again into the womb of another mother. Therefore, a person should give up all varieties of occupation and fast on this particular Ekadasi day.
DUGDHABDHIH BHOGI SAYANE BHAGAVAN ANANTO
YASMIN DINE SVAPITI CA ATHA VIBHUDHYATE CA
TASMINN ANANYA MANASAM UPAVASA BHAJAM
KAMAM DADATY ABHIMATAM GARUDANKA SAYI
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/293 from PADMA PURANA)
One who fasts with one pointed intelligence on the day when the Supreme Lord Sri Hari, Who sleeps on a bed of the enemy of Garuda (snake) goes to take rest in the Milk ocean on the bed of Ananta Sesa and also the day He gets up, gets all of his desires fulfilled.
BHAKTIPRADA HAREH SATU NAMNA KSATA PRAVODHINI
YASA VISNOH PARA MURTIR AVYAKTA ANEKA RUPINI
SA KSIPTA MANUSE LOKE DVADADI MUNI PUNGAVA
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/301 from VARAHA PURANA conversation between Yamaraja and Narada Muni)
This Prabodhini Ekadasi is famous for rewarding devotion to Lord Sri Hari. Oh best of the sages (Narada Muni), the personality of Ekadasi is present on this earthly planet in an unmanifested form of Lord Hari.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami remarks in his Digdarsini-tika that one who exactly observes the Ekadasi fast by observing this, he directly worships Lord Sri Hari. This is the meaning of this verse. Therefore, Ekadasi is said to be equal to Lord Sri Hari Himself.
CATUR DHA GRAHYA VAI CIRNAM CATUR MASYA VRATAM NARAH
KARTIKE SUKLAPAKSE TU DVADASYAM TAT SAMACARET
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/412 from MAHABHARATA)
A person who observed Caturmasya fast stated in four different ways should end his fast on the Dvadasi day on the light fortnight of the month of Karttika.
EVAM YA ACARET PARTHA SOBHANAM DHARMAM APNUYAT
AVASANE TU RAJENDRA VASUDEVA PURAM VRAJET
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/433 from BHAVISYA UTTARA PURANA)
Oh son of Prtha, Oh best of the kings, one who follows his vows properly as it is stated here achieves the highest merit and at last goes to the abode of Lord Sri Hari, the son of Vasudeva.
MALATI MALAYA VISNUH PUJITO YENA KARTIKE
PAPAKSARA KRTAM MALAM HATHAT SAURIH PRAMARJJATI
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 7/92 from SKANDA PURANA conversation between Lord Brahma and Narada Muni)
In the month of Karttika (October-November), any person, if he worships Lord Visnu with Malati (white Jasmine) flowers, whatever sinful activities are registered for him by Yamaraja, death personified, are removed.
KAMALAIH KAMALAKANTAH PUJITAH KARTIKE TU YAIH
KAMALA ANUGA TESAM JANMANTARA SATESU API
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 7/102 from PADMA PURANA, UTTARA KHANDA)
Any person who offers lotus flowers to Lord Narayana, the dearest personality of Laksmidevi in the month of Karttika, Laksmidevi resides with him for hundreds of births.
The glories of the Month of Karttik - in one .pdf file - a must read
A Talk by Giriraj Swami October 17, 2005 Sri Sri Radha-Radhanatha Temple Durban, South Africa
We welcome you to this most auspicious place, the temple of Sri Sri Radha-Radhanatha, on the most auspicious occasion of the beginning of Kartika, in the most auspicious association of Lord Krsna’s devotees. Kartika is also known as the month of Damodara (dama means “ropes,” and udara means “abdomen”), or Krsna who allowed Himself to be bound about the waist by the ropes of His devotee’s love.
Srila Rupa Gosvami compiled the law book of Krsna consciousness, the science of devotion, in the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, translated by Srila Prabhupada in a summary study as The Nectar of Devotion. There the observance of Kartika is mentioned as one of the sixty-four items of devotional service. Rupa Gosvami quotes from the Padma Purana that just as Lord Damodara is favorably inclined toward His devotees, so the month of Kartika, which is also dear to Him, bestows great favor upon His devotees, even for a little service or a little practice. It is even said that the benefit gained for service performed in the last five days of Kartika is equal to that gained from service performed for the entire month. In other words, for a very small performance of devotional service in the month of Damodara, one gets a very big resultespecially in Vrndavana. Also, Srila Prabhupada has explained that wherever the deities of Radha and Krsna are installed, that is also Vrndavana. So even here our devotional service will be magnified “one thousand times.”
Srila Prabhupada gives us the example of a store that has a sale. Often when a new store opens they will have a sale, and a customer can get a very valuable item by paying a very small amount. So, the month of Kartika is like a sale, a transcendental sale. By a little investment in terms of spiritual practice and service, you can get a great benefit. Of course, the management of the store hopes that you will come to appreciate its goods and patronize the store even after the sale is over. So we, too, hope that you will continue with your spiritual practices, or increased practices, even after the month of Kartika.
There is a special potency to the month itself. Just as certain times of the day, such as the brahma-muhurta, which begins one hour and thirty-two minutes before sunrise and continues until the sun rises, are more auspicious for spiritual progress and enhance the value of one’s practices, so, too, within the year, the month of Kartika is most auspicious. Devotees try to take advantage of the facility offered by Kartika by on the one side increasing their spiritual practices and doing extra servicethey chant more rounds, read more scripture, recite more prayers, distribute more books, and make special offeringsand on the other side decreasing their material involvement, their sense gratification. As it is, we are in the four-month period of Caturmasya, so every month we forgo a certain type of food, but in Kartika devotees may do extra austerities. They may eat only once a day, or give up sweet or fried foods, or rise earlier than usual, or whateverwork on some area of their spiritual life that they want to improveand they get special mercy in the month of Kartika to fulfil their vows and improve their spiritual practices.
Today also is sarat-purnima, the full-moon night of the sarat season, the night on which Krsna played upon His transcendental flute at Vamsivata by the Yamuna River in Vrndavana and called the gopis to dance with Him. Now, we may take it that He played on His flute and in a figurative way called the gopis to dance with Him, but actually Krsna’s flute is one of His messengers, and so the gopis not only heard the beautiful, melodious sound of the flute, but they actually received the message that Krsna wanted to meet them. And because their only desire was to please Krsna, to fulfil His desires and make Him happy, they all went to Himnot with the aim of fulfilling any selfish desire of their own, but only with the aim of fulfilling Krsna’s transcendental desire to dance with them.
Because the rasa dance superficially resembles the dancing of men and women in the material world, it can easily be misunderstood, and there are critics of Lord Krsna and Srimad-Bhagavatam and Krsna consciousness itself that find fault with the rasa-lila. I know religious groups outside of the Vedic tradition that criticize and challenge: “Oh, Krsna is a womanizer. How can you worship a god that enjoys with women?” They do not understand the pure love exchanged by Krsna and the gopis. In Caitanya-caritamrta, Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami explains the difference between love, or prema, and lust, or kama. In lust, the person wants to gratify his or her own senses, whereas in pure love, the devotee wishes to satisfy Krsna’s transcendental senses. The two may resemble each other, but actually they are completely different.
kama, prema,donhakara vibhinna laksana lauha ara hema yaiche svarupe vilaksana
atmendriya-priti-vanchatare bali ‘kama’ krsnendriya-priti-iccha
“Lust and love have different characteristics, just as iron and gold have different natures. The desire to gratify one’s own senses is kama, but the desire to please the senses of Lord Krsna is prema.” (Cc Adi 4. 164-165) Iron and gold are both metals, but there is a great difference between them, between their values. The pure love of the devotees for Krsna is like gold, and the lust of people in the material world who want to gratify their senses is like iron.
Another point of contention related to the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam is that the name of Radha is not mentioned. Some people challenge, “You are worshiping Radha and Krsna, Radha-Radhanatha, but on what authority? We don’t find the name of Radha in the Bhagavad-gita or Srimad-Bhagavatam.” But in the five chapters that describe the rasa-lila, we find that after Krsna called the gopis and began to reciprocate with them, He disappeared. The gopis then plunged into separation from Krsna, and they began to search all over the Vrndavana forest for Him. In time they found two pairs of footprints: Krsna’s and a gopi’s. Then the other gopis, in their separation, exclaimed:
anayaradhito nunam bhagavan harir isvarah yan no vihaya govindah prito
yam anayad rahah
“Certainly this particular gopi has perfectly worshiped the all-powerful Personality of Godhead. Therefore Govinda was so pleased with Her that He abandoned the rest of us and brought Her to a secluded place.” (SB 10.30.28) “Because She worshiped Lord Hari better than all of us, She has gotten to be with Krsna now.” The word aradhito, which means “worshiped” or “perfectly worshiped,” refers to Radha, as confirmed by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura and other acaryas. They explain that Her name does appear in the Vedas, Upanisads, and other Puranas, and that in this verse, although Her name is not mentioned explicitly, the superexcellent glories of Sri Radha are nonetheless proclaimed.
Ultimately Krsna also left Srimati Radharani, and when the other gopis came upon Her, they found Her in such a state of intense lamentation in separation that they felt, “Actually, She loves Krsna more.” There is a technical discussion of what actually took place in the rasa-lila, why Krsna left with Radharani and why eventually He left Her too. But His ultimate purpose was to reunite all the gopis, and when the other gopis saw Srimati Radharani in such a state of ecstasy in separation, they felt sympathetic toward Her. They did not feel any envy at all.
Thereafter they all searched for Krsna together. But they could not find Him anywhere. Finally they decided, “We cannot find Krsna unless He wishes to be found. We cannot force Him to come before us.” So they considered, “How can we attract Krsna’s attention? How can we move Krsna to come back to us?” And they concluded that the best method was sankirtana, chanting the glories of Krsna together, along with crying.
So they returned to the banks of the Yamuna where they had originally met Him, and they began to sing the glories of Krsnavery beautiful songs in separation, known as the Gopi-gita. And when Krsna heard the loving prayers of the gopis, sankirtana, His heart was moved and He could no longer stay away from them. He came to them, reappeared before them in His most attractive feature:
tasam avirabhuc chaurih smayamana-mukhambujah pitambara-dharah sragvi
“Then Lord Krsna, a smile on His lotus face, appeared before the gopis. Wearing a garland and a yellow garment, He directly appeared as one who can bewilder the mind of Cupid, who himself bewilders the minds of ordinary people.” (SB 10.32.2)
Then followed a very interesting dialogue between Krsna and the gopis. The gopis felt some transcendental anger because Krsna had abandoned them. After all, He had called them to Him, they had risked everything to go to Him in the dead of night, and then He had left them. So they wanted Krsna to explain why.
In a most tactful and intelligent way, they began, “There are three kinds of lovers.” They presented three categories of lovers, or different ways that lovers deal with others, and asked Krsna to explain them. Indirectly, they were asking Krsna, “In which category do you fit?”
In one category are people who reciprocate exactly with the other party. In other words, “If you are kind to me, I will be kind to you; if you ignore me, I will ignore you.” Krsna said, “They are like merchants. They give only with the expectation of return, and they give only as much as they expect in return. Actually, they are selfish.”
In the next category are those who love the other even though the other does not love them. For example, at least in principle, parents love their children no matter what the children do. The children may not even appreciate the parents’ service, but the parents go on loving and serving them. And even better than parents are devotees, because although parents serve their own children, devotees love and serve everyone. Whether others appreciate them or not, they try to help everyone. Krsna said, “Those who love others even if others don’t love them in return, they are following the true path of dharma and they are the true friends of humanity.”
In the third category are those who don’t reciprocate even when others love them. The first category is “I reciprocate only if you love me.” The second category is “Even if you don’t love me, I love you.” And the third category is “Even if you love me, I don’t reciprocate.” So, the gopis wanted Krsna to admit that He was in the third category. They did not want to say it themselves, but they wanted to hear it from Krsna’s own mouth. They wanted to trap Him with their subtle network of wise and clever words.
Now, within the third category there are four divisions. There is the atmarama: He is completely self-satisfied. Even if you love him, he won’t reciprocate, because he is self-satisfied; he is situated in transcendental bliss. Then there is the apta-kama: He has desires, but they are already satisfied, so he doesn’t need you. Even if you love him, he won’t reciprocate. Then there is the third division, akrta-jna: he is ungrateful. And then there is the last division, guru-druhah. In the first three, “You love me, but I don’t reciprocate; I remain indifferent,” but in this last category, guru-druhah, “You love me, and I am not just indifferent to you; I become inimical.” Actually, the gopis wanted Krsna to admit that He had been ungrateful.
Ultimately Krsna had to respond to their question, and His answer was, “I did not neglect you, nor was I indifferent to you. I was always thinking of you. But in order to increase your love for Me, I hid Myself from you.” Krsna gave the example of a poor man who gains some wealth and then loses it. He will be so anxious that he can think of nothing except his lost treasure: “What happened to my money? How can I get it back?” Krsna said, “So I was reciprocating with you, because your desire was to increase your love for Me, and by hiding Myself from you I created a situation by which your attachment for Me would increase. So I was reciprocating with you.” Although Krsna’s argument sounded good, it did, however, contain one defect: the gopi’s love was already unlimited, and even so, by its very nature it was always increasing. So that could not have been the real reason.
Again, there is an intricate and elaborate discussion by the acaryas about the dialogue between Krsna and the gopis, but at the very end Krsna admits defeat. He says,
na paraye ‘ham niravadya-samyujam sva-sadhu-krtyam vibudhayusapi vah
ya mabhajan durjara-geha-srnkhalah samvrscya tad vah pratiyatu sadhuna
“Actually, I am unable to repay my debt for your service to Me even with the prolonged life of Brahma, because you have given up everything for Me. You have given up family ties, which are so difficult to break. You have given up the dictates of the world, of the Vedas, and of your relatives. You have forsaken everything for My sakewhich I could not do for you. You have given up all other relationships for Me, but I could not do that for you. I still have My father and mother and friends. You came running out of your houses in the middle of the night, but I sneak out and return in the morning so that no one catches Me. But you, with complete abandon, have come to meet Me without any consideration of the consequences. And I have so many devotees with whom I reciprocate: devotees in madhurya-rasa, in vatsalya-rasa, in sakhya-rasa, in dasya-rasa, and in santa-rasa. I also reciprocate with the sadhakas in the material world who are struggling and trying to become devotees. I reciprocate with everyone who approaches Me. But you love only Me. So I cannot equal your love. I admit it: I can never repay My debt to you.” He concluded, “I am defeated by your love.”
The gopis were so touched by Krsna’s words that they thought, “Now He
has defeated us! We could not admit to Him that He defeated us, but He
has admitted to us that we defeated Him. So He has defeated us.”
[laughter] Of course, this is all on the platform of transcendental love. And it is said that later, when Krsna left Vrndavana to go to Mathura and Dvaraka and the gopis were left in separation from Him, they would think of His words to them, na paraye ‘ham, and that would give them solace to bear the separation. Of course, here we come to another subtle and intricate discussion, because even in separation from Krsna they experienced His presence.
After hearing Krsna’s reply, the gopis were appeased, and so He began the pastime of the rasa dance. All of the gopis were dancing in a circle, and Krsna expanded Himself to be next to each one. Each gopi felt, “Krsna is with me alone,” and each was completely satisfied by Krsna.
One of our godbrothers, Garuda dasa Adhikari (Graham M. Schweig), is a professor at a university in the United States, and he has written a translation and study of the five chapters of the rasa-lila, rasa-panca-adhyaya, that has been published by Princeton University Press, one of the most prestigious presses in academia. There he uses the image of the rasa dance as a symbol for interfaith harmony. It is a symbol that is most appropriate, especially for a diverse country such as South Africa.
The idea is that there were so many gopis, and each was individual, but that Krsna was by the side of each one, reciprocating with each perfectly. He accepted all of them, and all of them accepted each other, and there was complete harmonynot only between Krsna and the gopis, but also among the gopis themselvesin this dance of divine love. So, different worshipers serve God in different ways. They have different practices and rituals, and different scriptures and languages. But God reciprocates with all of them. And if they can come into harmony, not only with God but with each other as well, in the dance of divine love, then there can be complete harmony in the world.
So, today is a most sacred occasion: the beginning of kartika-vrata, and sarat-purnima, the night Krsna enjoyed His rasa-lila with the gopisafter removing Himself from their presence in order to demonstrate to the world, in their separation from Him, their supreme love.
Thank you very much.