“To they who worship Krishna in Vrindavan, the Lord gives them their original spiritual forms. The perfect atonement to purify the sins of a lifetime is to worship Lord Damodara in Vrindavan during Kartik. The month of Kartik spent in Vrindavan brings the supreme destination.”
(Srila Rupa Goswami in his Mathura Mahatyam)
The most special month of Kartik has begun today. This is the month of Krishna’s wonderful reciprocation with His devotees. In Vrindavan, every day is a festival. And especially during Kartik Krishna enacts the sweetest pastimes to give joy to the hearts of His devotees.
During this month Krishna performed the most intimate Rasalila pastimes with His beloved cowherd girlfriends, the gopis. He also enacted the pastime of being bound to a wooden grinding mortar by mother Yashoda’s love. The most festive Govardhan lila took place during this month. Radha Kunda appearance and Krishna’s taking charge of cows also happened during Kartik.
Also through these pastimes Krishna teaches the world certain lessons. Although the gopis’ love for Krishna is the highest and unsurpassable, Krishna disappeared while performing the rasa dance amidst them. He sensed a tinge of pride in them for thinking they were very special and Krishna was reciprocating exclusively with each gopi. Krishna suddenly disappeared, and when they realized that Krishna had left them alone, they frantically searched for him and offered the most beautiful gopi gita prayers. Later Krishna told them that he had disappeared during the dance because he wanted to increase their intensity for Him. He wanted them to call out for Him with more intense devotion. Thus Krishna’s apparent non reciprocation is also a way He brings us closer to Him.
During the the Govardhan pastime Krishna had the most wonderful loving exchanges with all the residents of Vrindavan. At the same time, Krishna also humbled Indra who had been incensed at the stopping of his traditional worship by the Brajwasis. To teach them a lesson they would never forget, he inundated the sacred land of Vrindavan with thunderous hailstorm. Krishna however effortlessly picked up the huge Govardhan Mountain and offered shelter to all the residents and animals of Vrindavan. While under the hill, Krishna had intimate loving exchanges with all devotees including the animals, birds, peacocks and men and women of all ages. Simultaneously Krishna crushed the pride of Indra for he felt helpless in his attempt to punish Krishna and His devotees. For a consecutive seven days and seven nights Krishna held the mountain with the smallest finger of his left hand and showered the residents with a nectarine shower of ceaseless love. Thus there was a thunderstorm both above and below the hill; above the hill it was Indra’s wrath that thundered and below it was the shower of Krishna’s love that fully satiated the hearts of His devotees.
Indra was humbled; his pride crushed to dust. He begged forgiveness and repented his violent act. By humiliating Indra, Krishna is teaching us the need to abandon false pride.
Today morning I heard Radhanath Swami say, “Ego is the biggest impediment in our devotional service; it’s the biggest trap, yet we fall for it. Ego causes maximum suffering, yet we can’t give up our attachment to it.”
The false ego manifests subtly by our proclivity to criticize other devotees. Even if we don’t do outright politics in the community of devotees, it becomes very tempting to hear and speak gossip and negative stuff. Bhurijan Prabhu explained once his Kartik vow of not finding faults with any devotee for one month. He said it is relatively easier to fast, and increase bodily austerities during this month. But to vow and most importantly to live by the vow of not finding faults with others is most challenging. However it’s also the most beneficial vow we could take this month. Certainly this will be most pleasing to Krishna.
During this month I pray I can be free from the shackles of false ego and the proclivity to criticize other devotees. The drive to be the enjoyer and controller is very deep rooted. Let me aspire to be a sincerer servant, without any ulterior motive, and let the only desire be to selflessly serve Krishna and Krishna’s devotees.