Today is Gopastami

(Also, today is disappearance day of Srinivas Acharya, Sri Gadadhara das Goswami and Sri Dhananjay Pandita…pls try to read something about these wonderful personalities today. Thanks)

Dear devotees,

Hare Krsna.
Dandvat pranam. Jai Srila Prabhupad.

Today is Gopastami. Today Sri Krsna started herding cows (till now He used to heard calves).

When Sri Krsna reached the pauganda age…six years of age is generally considered pauganda age, He wanted to be initiated as a Gopa….cowherd boy…so He started asking permission from His mother and father for the same. They of course thought He is too small for the task of herding cows. Earlier also Sri Krsna wanted to herd cows and at that time, Sri Nand Baba and Sri Yashoda mayi gave permission to tend to calves….so Sri Krsna was doing that but now He wanted to take care of bigger cows…

He used to argue that I am now very strong and able. And that He was….there was no doubt. Sri Krsna did every thing before schedule. Just soon after Garga muni did the namkaran samskar, He started crawling…at age of few months…and Srimad Bhagavatam says that He also started walking soon…so He was way ahead on the pediatric child developmental curves. As a matter of fact it is said that Sri Krsna resembled an adolescent (Kishor) at the age of seven (Till 5 yrs Kaumara, on 6th Pauganda begins, and on 11th Kishor stage begins)…that is why SriSri Kishor Kishori at Chicago temple while They look very young are small children between 7 and 11.

So finally Nand baba and Ma Yashoda gave permission. In the presence of Brahmans and all village people ceremony was carried out to award Sri Krsna, Balaram and other boys the position of cowherd boy…they were given the ropes, sticks, horns and flutes to carry.

Mother Yashoda wanted Sri Krsna to wear sandals while herding cows but He refused. It is a long pastime but we have often discussed this in our Friday class so I am going to skip it but we need to understand that shoes we wear represent dust/ dirt accumulated for years in our life…when we enter Vrindavan, we cant enter with shoes or sandals ON…we have to leave behind the dirt collected from endless lifetimes and enter into Vrindavan…with innocence as cow (cow represents innocence), purity of heart (like cow milk), being fearless (just like the cows were in presence of Krsna) and with no selfish interest (just like the cows and animals of Vrindavan…all are present to give pleasure to SriSri Radha and Krsna)…we enter Vrindavan..SriSri Kishor Kishori keeps watching us…They will become happy…and extend Their hands to give us shelter.

At the end of ceremony, being accompanied by musical instruments SriSri Krsna Balaram approached the cows…They washed their (cow’s) feet, bowed before the cows, fed them sweet fodder, offered praise to cows. Then SriSri Krsna Balaram took blessings from Sri Nand Baba and Ma Yashoda. Nand Baba gave a nice herding stick to Them and mother Yashoda gave Them nice tilak and then said – "O Rama (Balaram)…you stay in front of Krsna, Subal you stay behind, Sridam and Sudama you stay on Krsna’s sides and rest of the boys you please stay gathered around Krsna." This is the heart of a mother who is worried about her child going to herd cows in forest.

After the ceremony, SriSri Krsna Balaram called all the cows by making sounds like – hiyah hiyah..thus asking the cows to move. But they did not move at all. Why would they,,,,if they stay ahead of Krsna, then they will not be able to see Him …so finally Krsna went in front of cows and started walking and all cows started to follow Him.

Sri Krsna loved cows very much. When the cows are satisfied Krsna is satisfied. When the cows are hungry Krsna is hungry too. He calls them near by their individual names…He embraces them when they come near Him…Krsna relishes their scent (only people who has lived in village can appreciate this part as they have first hand experience of relishing the scent of cows)…He examines the cows closely to see if they are OK…feeds them with His own hands. AND the cows – without Krsna their heart is empty (sunyayitam jagatam saravam Govinda virahena mi) and they stand motionless as if they are paintings…they only recover and enjoy the sense of taste, smell, touch, seeing, hearing when they are reunited with Krsna. This is the relationship of Krsna with cows and of cows with Krsna….so much love…where are we?

He Srimati Radharani…pls give us the association of your devotees who can guide us, mercifully bless us to be able to serve Sri Krsna just like these cows serve Him.

There is so much to this pastime…to give as an example….Cows – Go is our senses…so pls read the pastimes of Go-charan and think how the senses can be serving Sri Krsna and how Sri Krsna (Lord Hrisikesh) gives us pleasure through devotional service. Pls find some time to read the Go-charan lila in Srimad Bhagavatam at this link –

namo brahmanya devaya, go brahman hitayaca, jagat dhitaya Krsnaya, Govindaya namo naham !!!

SriSri Krsna Balaram ki Jai !!! Sri Gopastami ki Jai !!! Sri Gopa Bhakta Vrinda Ki Jai !!!

(Todays is the first day when Gopis feel a lot of separation from Krsna as He is away herding cows for a whole day…so when Sri Krsna comes back from herding cows…they all come out to see Krsna…there is a beautiful painting made under Srila Prabhupad’s instructions on this…pls observe as to how the young Gopis are shown standing on terraces/ hiding to see Krsna as He returns…this is a very nectarean subject matter which devotees should learn about…Acharyas have written voluminous commentaries about this pastime of Sri Krsna returning home after herding cows…it is covered in couple shlokas in Srimad Bhagavatam but is expanded a lot more by our Acharyas…hopefully someday SriSri Radha Sharadbihari will give us an opportunity to discuss this wonderful pastime in company of devotees who are eager to relish it…pls pray for that moment…this pastime is lovingly called in Vrindavan as ‘Sanjhi Lila’).

Let us offer our danavts to Cows who are very dear to Sri Krsna. Please see as to how you can serve them nicely today and in this coming year. This is the go-puja mantra from Srila Sanatana Goswami’s Kartik Mahatmya –

lakshmir ya loka-palanam dhenu-rupena samsthita
ghritam vahati yajnarthe yama-pasham vyapohatu
agratah santu me gavo gavo me santu prishthatah
gavo me parshvatah santu gavam madhye vasamy aham

May Lakshmi, who takes the form of a cow among the protectors of this world and thus provides clarified butter for the sacrifice, free us from the fetters of death. Let cows be before me, behind me, and at my sides. May I live amidst cows!

your servant,
Padmanabh das


One Response to “Today is Gopastami”

  1. Simply beautiful. Thank you for this information and the beautiful pictures accompanying it 🙂 Jai Shree Krishna Ji!

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