Sweetest Description of Janmastami-lila
from Ananda Vrindavan Champu
by Srila Kavi Karnapura
Translated by Bhanu Swami & Subhaga Swami
Published by Mahanidhi Swami
Now we will discuss the truth about the transcendental birthplace of Bhagavan and the appearance of Lord Sri Krishna. Once upon a time, Bhumi, the predominating deity of the earth, felt overburdened by different demons posing as members of the royal order. Feeling aggrieved upon seeing her miserable condition, the lotus-born Brahma appealed to Ksirodakasayi Visnu, the maintainer of the universe, saying, “Please deliver Goddess Bhumi who is feeling greatly distressed by these demoniac kings. Only You can remove this terrible influence from the earth.”
The time for an appearance of the Lord coincided with two internal desires of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. First the Lord desired to descend on earth to increase the fortune of Yasoda and Nanda. Also at that time Krishna wanted to relish the sweet mellow of smgara rasa (paramour love) while enacting His worldly pastimes. For these two reasons the Lord appeared within the material creation on Bhuloka, (earth planet), along with His parents, friends, and other eternal associates.
Another distinction of Lord Krishna’s earthly pastimes is that when the eternally liberated gopis such as Srimati Radharani, Candravali, and others appeared, the Srutis personified also appeared in the homes of other gopis, because they had previously cultivated the desire to serve Sri Krishna as Vraja gopis. The Dandakaranya sages, upon seeing the svakiya bhava (the sweet conjugal relationship) of Lord Ramacandra and Sitadevi, desired to have the same relationship with their Lord Madana Gopala. Upon attaining perfection in their sadhana they achieved the fortunate position of appearing as gopis in Vrindavan. Yogamaya, Lord Krishna’s pastime potency who possesses unlimited abilities, appeared invisibly in Gokula to arrange this, and perform other difficult tasks on behalf of the Lord.
Sri Nanda, Yasoda, and others appeared in Brhadvana (Mahavana) before the Lord. The gopas, gopis, and other eternally liberated associates appeared after the Lord. Then those who had attained perfection by sadhana, namely the sruti-caris and muni-caris, took birth in Vrindavan.
Learning of Krishna’s imminent appearance, the earth personified, feeling like a wife happily greeting her husband after a long separation, immersed in unlimited joy. At the time of Krishna’s birth the general mass of people tasted the inner bliss that devotees forever relish. Auspicious signs abounded everywhere. As Visnu’s conchshell Pancajanya opens in a clockwise fashion, similarly, auspicious sacrificial fires glowed in all directions. Pure gentle breezes brought a refreshing coolness like devotees who satisfy and sanctify everyone with their calm, sweet, and affectionate behavior.
The whole atmosphere became as completely purified as the heart of a devotee. The devotees once again found peace and prosperity in worshiping the lotus feet of Lord Hari. Fruits filled the jubilant trees. But the envious demons exhibited various inauspicious signs of degradation such as rapidly aging bodies and symptoms of imminent death. The desire vines of the celestial denizens seemed to be hanging in the air as if eager to produce fruits. At that time all the directions became felt as pure and joyful as the mind of a devotee who has received the mercy of Lord Hari. Just as gems, mantras, or medicines can a remove a poisonous disease from the body of a man, the advent of the Lord relieved the world from the contamination of material existence and the sinful effect of the demons. Happiness gradually replaced the distress in everyone’s hearts.
The bodies of all creatures manifested extraordinary beauty and youthful vitality. Men felt extremely joyful and displayed virtuous qualities. Throughout the world people behaved cordially and interacted amicably. Happiness twinkled in everyone’s eye. At the end of Dvapara-yuga, which completely destroys faults and doubts, an auspicious, favorable, obstacle-free time appeared on the eighth day of the waning moon in Bhadra month. Just at that sweet moment the Rohini Naksatra, along with the good qualities of the moon and an auspicious conjunction of stars called Ayusman, appeared in the sky to give shelter to gentle persons.
As the living entity comes out from the womb of his mother and the moon appears on the lap of the eastern direction, Yogesvara Sri Krishna, the personification of complete bliss, appeared amidst great festivities. As the moon appears in the lap of the eastern direction, which is like a beautiful bride, Krishna manifested the wonderful pastime of His appearance out of His love and compassion for the conditioned souls.
Due to austerities performed in previous lives, Vasudeva and Devaki received the opportunity to momentarily relish parental affection for Lord Sri Krishna when He appeared before them in His form as Vasudeva. Thereafter in fear of Kamsa, Vasudeva brought Vasudeva Krishna to Gokula. There the Supreme Lord appeared as Govinda before Nanda and Yasoda, His eternal parents who have been smothering Him with the sweetest form of parental love since time immemorial. The four symbols of Visnu (sankha, cakra, gada, padmd) adorned His hands and feet. The flute, flower garland, and kaustubha mani, although present within Him, had not yet manifested.
In fear of cruel Kamsa, Vasudeva decided to transfer all his wives except Devaki to Gokula. He sent Rohini to the house of Vrajaraja Nanda. By the sweet will of the Lord, Yogamaya arranged for the seventh child of Devaki (Balarama) to enter the womb of Rohini. As a result, Balarama appeared in the home of Vrajaraja Nanda before the birth of Krishna.
Lord Hari, who is bliss personified, appeared in the home of Nanda Maharaja, the king of Vrindavan for three reasons: to engage the self satisfied sages in devotional service, to please the devotees by performing sweet transcendental pastimes, and to relieve the earth’s burden caused by the demons. At the time of His majestic birth Krishna employed His inconceivable powers to appear in a body of eternity, bliss and knowledge. Everyone in the maternity room swelled with joy upon seeing the Lord’s exquisite transcendental form that looked like a creeper of beauty.
Mother Yasoda resembled a lake of spiritual ecstasy in which a brilliant blue lotus of personified bliss had appeared. Neither the wind nor the bees relished the fragrance of that blue lotus. That unborn lotus was never touched by the waves of the modes of nature. Even Lord Brahma could not see it, what to speak of ordinary men.
After Yasoda and her family members fell asleep in the maternity room, Hari cried beautifully like a newborn baby. His crying sounded like the maha-vakya omkara announcing the auspicious arrival of His pastimes. Omkara is a transcendental vibration that had previously emanated from the mouth of Lord Brahma. When the ladies of Vrindavan heard the sweet sound of Krishna’s crying, they woke up and ran to see the Lord. With the mellow of their matchless overflowing affection they anointed His body.
The natural fragrance of Krishna’s body smelled just like musk. After the ladies bathed Krishna hi sweet ambrosia, He looked cleansed and beautiful. Then they smeared His body with fragrant sandalwood pulp. The presiding deity of the house sent a campaka flower resembling the flame of a lamp into the maternity room to worship that ornament of the three worlds. With the strength of His little arms, delicate as the tender leaves of a tree, Krishna made all the lamps in the maternity room look like a garland of lotus flower buds.
The ladies of Vrindavan saw baby Krishna like a blossoming flower made of the best of blue sapphires, or like a newly unfurled leaf of a tamala tree. Krishna looked like a fresh rain cloud decorated with the musk tilaka of the goddess of fortune of the three worlds. The ointment of the greatest auspiciousness lined His eyes. His presence filled the maternity room with good fortune. Although a mere baby, Krishna had a head full of curly hair. To hide the unique signs on His hands (goad, fish, conch etc.) the Lord folded His delicate petal-like fingers into His lotus palm. At that time Krishna laid on His back with His eyes closed.
Mother Yasoda awoke amidst the joyous chattering of the elderly gopis. Leaning over the bed she admired her gorgeous son. But upon noticing her own reflection on Krishna’s body, she imagined it another woman. Thinking that a witch had assumed her form to kidnap Krishna, Yasoda became bewildered and yelled, “Get out of here! You go away!” Spontaneously she cried out to Nrsimhadeva to protect her precious son. Beholding Krishna’s tender face, Yasoda showered tears of affection that looked like an offering of a pearl necklace.
Yasoda saw Krishna’s body as a mound of dark blue musk, softer than the butter churned from the milk ocean. Overflowing with nectar, His charming body appeared like the foam of milk, but being dark blue in color it seemed the foam was full of musk juice. Admiring the supremely delicate form of her son, Yasoda worried about His safety and feared the touch of her body might hurt his tender body.
As she leaned over the bed Yasoda bathed Krishna with the milk dripping from her breasts. The elderly gopis instructed Yasoda how to caress the baby in her lap, and affectionately push the nipple of her breast into Krishna’s mouth to feed Him. Due to Yasoda’s intense love, personified bliss flowed from her breasts as steady streams of milk. When milk sometimes spilled out of Krishna’s bimba fruit red lips onto His cheeks, Mother Yasoda would wipe His face with the edge of her cloth. After feeding her son, Yasoda gazed affectionately at Him in wonder.
She saw her child’s body as made of dazzling blue sapphires. His mouth resembled a red bimba fruit and His hands and feet looked like exquisite rubies. Krishna’s nails shone like precious gems. In this way, Yasoda thought her child was completely made of jewels. Then she perceived that His naturally reddish lips looked like bandhuka flowers, His hands and feet resembled Java flowers, His nails looked like maJlika flowers. Yasoda then thought, “Krishna’s whole body seems to be made of blue lotus flowers. He does not appear to be mine.” After thus deliberating within herself Yasoda became stunned in amazement.
The beautiful, soft curly hairs on the right side of Krishna’s chest resembled the tender stems of a lotus. Seeing the mark of Srivatsa on His chest, Yasoda thought it was breast milk that had previously spilled out of His mouth. She tried unsuccessfully to remove these ‘milk stains’ with the edge of her cloth. Struck with wonder, Yasoda thought this must be the sign of a great personality. Observing the sign of Laksmi (a small golden line) on the left side of Krishna’s chest, Yasoda thought a small yellow bird had made a nest amidst the leaves of a tamala tree. Could this be a streak of lightning resting on a rain cloud, or could it be the golden streaks marking a black gold-testing stone? Krishna’s delicate, leaf-like hands and feet, glowing pink like the rising sun, looked like clusters of lotus flowers floating in the Yamuna.
Sometimes Yasoda saw the curly, dark blue locks of baby Krishna as a swarm of bumblebees surrounding His face. Intoxicated from drinking too much honey nectar, the bees just hovered in the sky. His thick, beautiful blue hair appeared like the dark night. The two lotus eyes of Krishna looked like a pair of blue lotus buds. His cheeks resembled two huge bubbles floating in a lake of liquefied blue sapphires. Krishna’s attractive ears looked like a pair of fresh unfurled leaves growing on a blue creeper.
The tip of Krishna’s dark nose appeared like the sprout of a tree, and His nostrils looked like bubbles in the Yamuna River, the daughter of the sun god. His lips resembled a pair of red Java flower buds. Krishna’s chin rivaled a pair of ripe, redjambu fruits. Seeing the extraordinary beauty of her son fulfilled the purpose of her eyes and submerged Yasoda in an ocean of bliss. The elderly Vrajavasi ladies addressed Vrajaraja Nanda, “O most fortunate one, you fathered a son!” Previously Nanda Maharaja had felt deeply aggrieved over his long-standing inability to obtain a son. His heart was like a small lake that had completely dried up during a long hot summer. But when Nanda Maharaja heard of his son’s birth he felt as if the dry lake of his heart had been blessed with a sudden downpour of nectar. The gentle sound of Krishna’s voice removed all his grief and lamentation. Now he bathed in the rains of bliss, swam in the ocean of nectar, and felt embraced by the joyful stream of the celestial Ganges.
Eager to see his son, Nanda’s body thrilled with astonishment and waves of ecstasy as he stood outside the maternity room. Because he had accumulated heaps of pious activities, it appeared that the King of Vrindavan was now shaking hands with the personification of pious deeds. Anxiously standing in the background, Yogamaya induced Nanda Maharaja to enter the maternity room. He rushed in to see his son, the personified seed of condensed bliss. It seemed that all the auspiciousness of the three worlds now resided within Krishna, the original cause of everything. Nanda saw his son as a perfectly charming person. The kajala around Krishna’s eyes looked like lines on a black creeper of beauty. As the very embodiment of Nanda’s good fortune, Sri Krishna bloomed like a beautiful flower in a garden of desire trees.
The aparajita flower is compared to the body of the Queen of Vrindavan. Her son is like the representative of the Upanisads that are compared to the fruit of the desire creepers. By seeing his glorious son Nanda felt that he had attained happiness, perfection, and the fulfillment of all his desires. Meeting that embodiment of bliss overwhelmed Nanda with immeasurable satisfaction. He stood motionless, stunned; his hair stood erect and tears flowed from his eyes. He appeared like a person carved in stone or a figure drawn in a painting. For some time Nanda Maharaja remained in this semi-conscious state like a sleeping man about to awaken.
Upananda, Sunanda, and other relatives felt extremely joyful while observing the best ofbrahmanas perform the rites of purification for Krishna’s birth. To insure his son’s welfare Nanda Maharaja donated newborn calves to each and every brahmana, thus turning their homes into abodes of surabhi cows. These cows had gold and silver plated horns and hooves, and jeweled necklaces adorning their necks. In addition, Vrajapati Nanda filled the courtyards of their homes with hills of gold, jewels, and sesame seeds. While Nanda distributed charity, the kamadhenus, touch- stones, and desire-trees lost their power to produce valuable items. Even the jewel-producing oceans lost their stock of jewels, and the goddess of fortune, the abode of lotuses, had but one lotus in her hand. The auspicious news of Krishna’s wonderful appearance spread in all directions by word of mouth. Delight danced in the hearts of Nanda, his brothers Upananda and Sunanda, and all the other gopas. The gopas brought many varieties of delicious dairy products such as milk, yogurt, butter, wet cheese, and hard cheese in jewel-studded pots. The pots were tied to the ends of bamboo poles with jute straps and carried on their shoulders. Bedecked with many precious jeweled ornaments, the gopas appeared very handsome. They dressed in beautiful yellow cloth defeating the brilliance of lightning, and held staffs topped with gold and jewels in their lotus hands. As a great ocean spreads its waves in all directions, the birth of Krishna filled the Vrajavasis with unbounded bliss. The gopas and gopis enjoyed a grand festival by happily eating and by splashing each other’s bodies with a mixture of yogurt, butter, milk, and condensed milk. The society girls visiting Nanda Maharaja’s house experienced more happiness than they had ever felt since their birth. Their minds saturated with joy and satisfaction. Hearing the delightful description of Krishna’s birth carried away the chariots of their minds and made them abandon all other duties. They became possessed with the desire to see Krishna.
Sparkling rubies hung from the necklaces adorning the society girls. Their diamond-studded armlets shown more beautifully than drops of crystal clear water. Their jewel inlaid golden bangles boasted unparalleled elegance. For this unique festival they took out some highly ornamental waist-belts from their jewel boxes and tied them around their hips. The sweet jingling of the waist-bells resting on their broad hips enhanced the beauty of these society girls. They attracted the minds of everyone with their bulky golden anklets, loosened hair braids, and graceful gait, which resembled the smooth gliding of swans. Their minds entered a state of enchantment as they gazed upon the captivating beauty of Krishna’s transcendental body. To worship Krishna they brought golden trays full of auspicious articles such as fruits, flowers, yogurt, durva grass, uncooked rice, and jewel bedecked lamps. They covered the offering plates with splendid yellow silk cloth and held them in their soft lotus hands. Their jeweled ankle-bells vibrated pleasantly as they walked.
Beholding the astounding beauty of the delicate baby, the society girls considered the purpose of their eyes fulfilled. They perceived Krishna’s perfect birth to be like the appearance of the leaves of an important herbal medicine. Krishna resembled a blue lotus floating hi the lake of His parent’s affection. After bestowing their blessings for Krishna’s prosperity, they worshiped Krishna with fresh flowers and a constant shower of loving glances. With great enthusiasm the society girls glorified Vrajesvari Yasoda since she had attained the essence of all good fortune by having Krishna as her son. Leaving the maternity room, the society girls entered the assembly hall of Nanda Maharaja’s palace. Their faces looked exceedingly beautiful as they sung melodious songs, which resembled the soft sweet humming of bees moving amidst a cluster of lotus flowers. All the guests bathed in a nectar shower produced by these soothing sounds. Overwhelmed with love, they filled then- lotus palms with fragrant oil, turmeric paste, and fresh butter and started smearing each other’s faces and bodies. They looked very attractive with their smiling faces and glittering white teeth.
Their red lips seemed more beautiful than red bandhuka flowers. This incredible display of elegance smashed the pride of the goddess of fortune of the three worlds. Carried away with joy over Krishna’s birth, they fearlessly threw cheese balls, butter, and yogurt at each other. One could mistake the white balls of cheese for hailstones, solidified moonlight, or white mud from the floor of the milk ocean. Then they showered each other with buttermilk, aromatic oils, and water mixed with turmeric.
Cymbals, damru drums, bherries, and big drums vibrated auspicious sounds hi specific melodies. A celestial concert of precise poetical meters, proper rhythms, and metrical compositions suddenly manifested there. The musical ensemble inspired the society girls to sing and dance in mirth and merriment. Though not good singers, by the will of the Lord they sang with great virtuoso. Then” wonderful songs filled Nanda Maharaja’s heart with joy. The combined vibrations of brahmanas’ chanting Vedic hymns, the recitation of Puranic lore, and the panegyrists’ prayers transformed the ethers into sabda brahman.
The joy of Krishna’s birth celebration taxed the drains of Nanda’s capital city as they swelled to the brim with milk, yogurt, and other auspicious liquids. Soon rivers of this nectar flooded the streets of the town and permeated the entire atmosphere with a sweet fragrance. Disguising themselves as birds, the demigods descended to Vrajapura to happily drink the flood of nectar. The Vrajavasis decorated their cows with gold and jeweled ornaments. Then in great excitement they smeared them with oil, fresh butter, and turmeric paste. Beholding Krishna in their hearts, these fortunate cows looked like the essence of the earth’s auspicious-ness. The whole world resounded with their jubilant bellowing. Absorbed in the ecstasy of Krishna’s birth, they forgot about eating and drinking.
The festival drowned the gopis in an ocean of joy. After offering oil, vermilion, garlands, and utensils in charity to all the assembled gopis, Rohini, the wife of Vasudeva, asked them to bless Krishna, Upon completion of the sacrifice, Upananda and the other relatives felt constant happiness while taking their baths. Keeping the King of Vrindavan in the front, Nanda’s relatives offered opulent cloth, jeweled ornaments, tambula, garlands, and sandalwood pulp to the guests. Then they humbly requested all in attendance to bless that wonderfully auspicious boy who had just appeared in Vrindavan.