Looking beyond Shadow to Substance
By Bhurijana dasa
Hare Krsna. Who can fathom the unlimited charm of Krsna playing upon His flute by the Yamuna Bank:
“When Krsna walked on the bank of the Yamuna, He was seen nicely decorated with tilaka on His face. He was garlanded with different kinds of forest flowers, and His body was smeared with the pulp of sandalwood and tulasi leaves. The bumblebees became mad after the fragrance and sweetness of the atmosphere. Being pleased by the humming sound of the bees, Krsna would play His flute, and together the sounds became so sweet to hear that aquatic birds like cranes, swans and ducks were charmed. Instead of swimming or flying, they became stunned. They closed their eyes and entered a trance of meditation in worship of Krsna.”
(from Krsna Book, Chapter 35)
In a lecture in 1973, Srila Prabhupada described the importance of looking away from the shadow–the bustling world, so full of promise–to true substance, Vrindavana:
“So Vrndavana is village life. It is not a town…. it is village. It is village, and they are always taking pleasure on the bank of Yamuna. Yamuna-tira-vana-cari. And there are very nice gardens on the bank of the Yamuna. And whenever there is some danger… Of course, in the original Vrndavana there is no question of danger. It is blissful, transcendental abode…. So when Krsna was present, although He was playing like an ordinary human child or human being, still, when there was need, He manifested His godly power. That is God. When it was needed to protect the inhabitants of Vrndavana, He lifted a big hill, and since then His name is Giri-vara-dhari. Giri-vara-dhari means that hill, and He sustained that hill. He was at that time seven years old from material calculation. But in the original Vrndavana there is no such thing as the wrath of Indra, the king of heaven, and danger or torrents of rain overflood, inundation. There is no such thing. There everything is blissful, transcendental and eternal. Here we have got a little sample, because whatever you have got in this material world, that is simply imitation, a shadow of the original…. You can understand that on the desert sometimes it appears there is a vast ocean of water, mirage. But actually there is no water. Those who are animals, they sometimes are misled. They are thirsty, and they think that there is water in the desert, and they run over, but actually there is no water. The animal runs, and the water also advances. In this way, when he becomes too much fatigued, he dies. This is the exact example of this material world. We are hankering after water, we are thirsty, and we are being misled by so-called water, mirage. Just like while I was coming here, both sides, the manifestation of material civilization, electrical wire pumping station of oil, big, big motorcars light, motel, hotel and so many things… So we are thinking that these things will give us relief; our thirst will be quenched, our hankering for water will be satisfied. But it has failed. …. So this kind of mirage, showing of water—actually there is no water—a shadow of water will not help us. That is a fact. But because there is shadow of water, we can understand that there is real water. It is not that the shadow of water is all in all, finished. There is water. But we have to seek out that water elsewhere, not in the desert. In the desert the shadow of water will not quench your thirst. So that information we are giving. Krsna consciousness movement means that you do not know where that water is to be found, how your great thirst will be satisfied. That you do not know.” (Srila Prabhupada speaking in Laguna Beach, September 30, 1972)
May we follow Srila Rupa Gosvami’s footprints and find the sweetness of shelter beyond illusion—in Vrndavana:
“May Vrndavana, which is fragrant with a gentle breeze that makes the lotuses in the Yamuna rock to and fro, where there are groves of kadamba trees and there are many gopis, their hearts blossoming with happiness by hearing the music of Lord Mukunda’s flute, be my shelter.”
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