July 7, 2021, 3:39 p.m. by Dr Gayatri Mohapatra ( 514 views)
After Krishna defeated Kamsa, King Ugrasena told Krishna that Mathura kingdom belonged to him and he would serve as his attendant and Krishna's directions would be supreme.
In spite of enjoying all the comforts of the Mathura kingdom, Krishna missed Yashodha, Gopis, Cows, Vasudev and Gokul. Udhava who was a dear friend and counsellor of Krishna came to see him and sensed his grief.
One day Uddhava expressed his dissatisfaction to Krishna that in spite of studying Vedas, Upanishads and Sutras, he was not acknowledged to be a "Maha-Rishi".
Krishna sensed the ego and pride of Uddhava.
Krishna then requested Uddhava to visit Vrindavan with a message on his behalf to the Gopis who were missing Krishna.
Krishna asked Uddhava to tell the people of Vrindavan to forget him because only when they forget him he could complete his duties on Earth.
Uddhava felt proud as Krishna considered him so knowledgeable, so he happily went to Vrindavan.
The gopis received him gladly and when they heard he had a message from their beloved Krishna, they gathered around him.
Udhava began to teach the gopikas his Vedantic wisdom smugly.
"Oh Gopis, you are so attached to Krishna, why do you not focus on his Divine nature, on the Godhead? You need to study the scriptures, the Vedas, the Upanishads to understand the nature of Krishna. If there is no point in pursuit of Knowledge, then what is the meaning of life".
The Gopis said "When Akrura came to Vrindavan, he took our Krishna with him and now are you here to take away his memories too, from us?", to which Uddhava was speechless.
The gopis told him simply that Krishna had taken over their mind, body & soul & their entire lives revolved around him. They felt his presence everywhere in Vrindavan.
The feelings aroused by his message to forget Krishna when heard by the residents of Vrindavan constitute the highest understanding of the love of God in the tradition of Gaudiya Vaishnavism.
The gopikas listened to Udhava and a Gopi spoke up: "Oh Uddhava, Shyam dwells in my mind, my whole wealth is Shyam, all that I have is Shyam and every cell of my body is filled with Shyam. If Shyam has taken over every inch of my body, tell me oh learned Uddhava, where shall I put your knowledge?
Gopis said to Uddhava: ` O Uddhava, we don’t have ten-twenty hearts. We have just one heart which also had gone along with Lord Krishna. So, who will worship your Supreme Lord now?
This dialogue between Uddhava and the gopis has been narrated by the poet Surdas in his 'bhramar geet'.
Surdas was a 16th-century blind Hindu devotional poet and singer, who was known for his lyrics written in praise of Krishna in braj dialect.
Uddhava had never seen such expressions of unconditional love and concern.
Uddhav realised that Gopis saw Krishna in everything and everywhere. Although they were simple & uneducated, yet they understood the almighty is omnipresent & omniscient while he had wasted so many years entangled in Vedantic principles but could not experience almighty. His entire pride of wisdom vanished.
He had gone to give the gopis the instruction of Brahm-Gyan. Instead, he took the foot-dust of the gopis (symbolic of receiving Krsna-Prema from the gopis) and returned home humbled. On his way back, he perceived a totally new world at the same place. An eternal, peaceful world where everything seemed beautiful. Uddhava sensed a big change within him. He sang to himself. He offered a lift to a sick man. He appreciated the sunset in the Western sky. He went back to Krishna and asked,
Oh my Lord, why did you send me to teach the gopis?
You knew all along how they feel and how they relate to you. No one can teach them; they not only know about your being, they are filled with you."
Krishna replied, "Uddhava, That is what was missing in your knowledge. Love is as important as Knowledge. Bhakti/ Devotion is a part of God himself, so there is no separate need for salvation.
According to Hindu Vaishnava theology, the stories concerning the gopis are said to exemplify Suddha-bhakti which is described as 'the highest form of unconditional love for God.
In Vrindavan, King Vajranabhabh, Krishna's great-grandson built the Uddhava Kunda under the guidance of Shandilya Rishi and other sages. Even today, there is a small temple dedicated to Uddhava. This place is of great spiritual significance because it is said that Uddhava always resides here praying to Lord Krishna. He was so overwhelmed by seeing the devotion and love of the gopis for Krishna that he wanted to remain in the forest of Vrindavan as a creeper (gulma-lata) or grass and smear the dust of the gopis’ feet on his head.