Followers

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Srivatsa

Laksmi, the goddess of fortune, has complete knowledge of Krishna’s opulences, but she could not achieve the association of Krishna by dint of such knowledge. The devotees in Vrndavana, however, actually enjoy the association of Krishna. C.c. Antya 7.29

“‘When Lord Sri Krishna was dancing with the gopis in the rasa-lila, the gopis were embraced around the neck by the Lord’s arms. This transcendental favor was never bestowed upon the goddess of fortune or the other consorts in the spiritual world. Nor was such a thing ever imagined by the most beautiful girls in the heavenly planets, girls whose bodily luster and aroma resemble the beauty and fragrance of lotus flowers. And what to speak of worldly women, who may be very, very beautiful according to material estimation?’ C.c. Antya 7.30 and SB 10.47.60

Srila Rupa Gosvami, in his Laghu-bhagavatamrta, has quoted from the Padma Purana, where it is stated that Laksmi-devi, the goddess of fortune, after seeing the attractive features of Lord Krishna, was attracted to Him, and to get the favor of Lord Krishna she engaged herself in meditation.

When asked by Krishna why she engaged in meditation with austerity, Laksmi-devi answered, “I want to be one of Your associates like the gopis in Vrndavana.” Hearing this, Lord Sri Krishna replied that it was quite impossible. Laksmi-devi then said that she wanted to remain just like a golden line on the chest of the Lord. The Lord granted the request, and since then Laksmi has always been situated on the chest of Lord Krishna as a golden line.

The austerity and meditation of Laksmi-devi are also mentioned in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.16.36), where the Naga-patnis, the wives of the serpent Kaliya, in the course of their prayers to Krishna, said that the goddess of fortune, Laksmi, also wanted His association as a gopi and desired the dust of His lotus feet. C.c. Adi 5.223

Bilvavana


This forest of Bilvavana is also known as Lakshmivana as well as Shrivana, because the goddess of fortune, Lakshmi Devi, who is also known as Shri Devi, came here to perform austerities in order to achieve the position of a gopi in Krishna’s pastimes. One day, while serving Her husband Lord Vishnu in Vaikuntha, she heard from Shrila Narada Muni about Her husband’s extraordinary pastimes when He appears on earth in His original form as Lord Shri Krishna in the transcendental land of Vrajabhumi in order to enjoy the most intimate loving pastimes with the gopis. Goddess Lakshmi Devi became so attracted by hearing the descriptions of the rasa-lila that she decided to go to Vrindavana and take part in those wonderful pastimes. 

On arrival at the rasa-mandala, Lakshmi Devi was stopped from entering by some of the gopis, who told Her that She was not qualified or in the proper serving mood (bhava) to take part in the rasa-dance. Greatly disappointed to find that she was refused entry to the rasa-mandala, She became very sad and dejected. At that moment Krishna came there and after greeting the Goddess of Fortune with pleasing words, explained that she was stopped by the gopis because, as the wife of Lord Narayana, she was situated in the mood of aishvarya-bhava, being always surrounded with the great opulence of Vaikuntha. Krishna also informed Lakshmiji that even Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva, Sukadeva Goswami, or the four Kumaras, besides many other great liberated souls, are not able to take part in the rasa-lila pastimes.

Feeling heartbroken at being rejected, Lakshmi Devi immediately returned to Vaikuntha to find out from Narada Muni why She could not take part in the rasa-lila. Shrila Narada Muni informed Lakshmiji, that in order to enter the rasa-mandala, one has to be free from any attachment to opulence, prestige, or personal satisfaction, and should desire only the absolute satisfaction of Krishna. Narada further said that the rasa-lila was the highest expression of unalloyed devotional service, and only the gopis, who had absolutely no interest in personal benefit, or even a pinch of selfish desire, who lived only to satisfy Krishna’s desires, were properly qualified. Narada also explained that the gopis of Vrindavana abandoned everything for Krishna’s pleasure, even their own husbands, their families, along with their chastity and honor, which so dear to ladies, and were even ready to sacrifice their very own lives, just to make Krishna happy. They never asked Krishna for anything, except to remain as eternal servants at His lotus feet.

Shrimati Lakshmi Devi had some attachment to the great opulence of Vaikuntha, as well as to Her position as the Goddess of Fortune and being the consort of Lord Narayana. She therefore asked Narada what She had to do to achieve the position of a gopi. Narada advised Her to perform austerities in the forests of Vrindavana in order to free Herself of all traces of attachment. Lakshmi Devi decided to stay in the forest of Bilvavana, because it lies on the northern bank of the Yamuna exactly opposite from Seva Kunja in Vrindavana, where the rasa-lila took place. Some say that Lakshmi Devi is still engaged in penance at Bilvavana even today, and a very famous festival is held here at the Lakshmiji Mandira every year during the month of Pusa (Nov-Dec), where thousands of people from all over Vraja flock there to get the mercy and blessings of goddess Laksmi Devi. The deity of Lakshmiji situated in the temple here is sitting in meditation with Her hands folded, so in this regard, She is still present here in Bilvavana in the form of Her deity and meditating on the rasa-lila.

It is also said that when Radharani came to know that Lakshmi Devi was undergoing penance at Bilvavana to become a gopi, She requested Krishna and His friends to secretly go there to build a simple shelter and also dig a well so that Lakshmiji would not have to suffer the elements and could easily get water without having to disturb Her penance. That well, which is opposite to the temple, became known as Krishna-kupa. The cowherd boys built a simple shelter for Lakshmiji out of thatched leaves. Standing next to the deity of Laksmiji in the temple one can see a deity of Krishna, offering flowers to Lakshmiji, who is deep in meditation and unaware of His presence. 

In the Sri Vraja-riti-cintamani of Shrila Vishvanatha Chakravarti, are the following verses. “When the personified Vedas saw the splendid good fortune of the vraja-gopis, they decided to follow in their footsteps and become vraja-gopis also. When Lakshmi Devi saw the charming sweetness of the vraja-gopis, she became bewildered and fainted with envy. Who can describe the transcendental opulence of this land of Vraja? There Lakshmi Devi performed severe austerities to become a gopi. Although she remained as Lakshmi and did not attain her goal, she nevertheless had the opportunity to speak to her beloved Krishna.”