Canto 10: The Summum BonumChapter 35: The Gopīs Sing of Kṛṣṇa as He Wanders in the Forest

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 10.35.8-11

anucaraiḥ samanuvarṇita-vīrya

ādi-pūruṣa ivācala-bhūtiḥ

vana-caro giri-taṭeṣu carantīr

veṇunāhvayati gāḥ sa yadā hi

vana-latās tarava ātmani viṣṇuḿ

vyañjayantya iva puṣpa-phalāḍhyāḥ

praṇata-bhāra-viṭapā madhu-dhārāḥ

prema-hṛṣṭa-tanavo vavṛṣuḥ sma

darśanīya-tilako vana-mālā-


ali-kulair alaghu gītām abhīṣṭam

ādriyan yarhi sandhita-veṇuḥ

sarasi sārasa-haḿsa-vihańgāś

cāru-gītā-hṛta-cetasa etya

harim upāsata te yata-cittā

hanta mīlita-dṛśo dhṛta-maunāḥ


anucaraiḥ — by His companions; samanuvarṇita — being elaborately described; vīryaḥ — whose prowess; ādi-pūruṣaḥ — the original Personality of Godhead; ivaas if; acala — unchanging; bhūtiḥ — whose opulences; vanain the forest; caraḥ — moving about; giri — of the mountains; taṭesu — on the sides; carantīḥ — who are grazing; veṇunā — with His flute; āhvayati — calls; gāḥ — the cows; saḥHe; yadā — when; hi — indeed; vana-latāḥ — the forest creepers; taravaḥ — and the trees; ātmani — within themselves; viṣṇum — the Supreme Lord, Viṣṇu; vyañjayantyaḥ — revealing; ivaas if; puṣpa — with flowers; phala — and fruits; āḍhyāḥ — richly endowed; praṇata — bowed down; bhāra — because of the weight; viṭapāḥ — whose branches; madhu — of sweet sap; dhārāḥ — torrents; prema — out of ecstatic love; hṛṣṭa — hairs standing on end; tanavaḥ — on whose bodies (trunks); vavṛṣuḥ sma — they have rained down; darśanīya — of persons who are attractive to see; tilakaḥ — the most excellent; vana-mālā — upon His garland made of forest flowers; divya — divine; gandha — whose fragrance; tulasī — of the tulasī flowers; madhu — by the honeylike sweetness; mattaiḥ — intoxicated; ali — of bees; kulaiḥ — by the swarms; alaghu — strong; gītam — the singing; abhīṣṭam — desirable; ādriyan — thankfully acknowledging; yarhi — when; sandhita — placed; veṇuḥ — His flute; sarasiin the lake; sārasa — the cranes; haḿsa — swans; vihańgāḥ — and other birds; cāru — charming; gīta — by the song (of His flute); hṛta — taken away; cetasaḥ — whose minds; etya — coming forward; harim — Lord Kṛṣṇa; upāsata — worship; te — they; yata — under control; cittāḥ — whose minds; hanta — ah; mīlita — closed; dṛśaḥ — their eyes; dhṛta — maintaining; maunāḥ — silence.


Kṛṣṇa moves about the forest in the company of His friends, who vividly chant the glories of His magnificent deeds. He thus appears just like the Supreme Personality of Godhead exhibiting His inexhaustible opulences. When the cows wander onto the mountainsides and Kṛṣṇa calls out to them with the sound of His flute, the trees and creepers in the forest respond by becoming so luxuriant with fruits and flowers that they seem to be manifesting Lord Viṣṇu within their hearts. As their branches bend low with the weight, the filaments on their trunks and vines stand erect out of the ecstasy of love of God, and both the trees and the creepers pour down a rain of sweet sap.

Maddened by the divine, honeylike aroma of the tulasī flowers on the garland Kṛṣṇa wears, swarms of bees sing loudly for Him, and that most beautiful of all persons thankfully acknowledges and acclaims their song by taking His flute to His lips and playing it. The charming flute song then steals away the minds of the cranes, swans and other lake-dwelling birds. Indeed they approach Kṛṣṇa, close their eyes and, maintaining strict silence, worship Him by fixing their consciousness upon Him in deep meditation.


Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has made several illuminating comments on these verses. He gives the analogy that just as when householder Vaiṣṇavas hear a sańkīrtana party approaching they become ecstatic and offer obeisances, so the trees and creepers in Vṛndāvana became ecstatic when they heard Kṛṣṇa's flute and bowed low with their branches and vines. The word darśanīya-tilaka in Text 10 indicates not only that the Lord is "the most excellent (to see)," but also that He decorated Himself with attractive reddish tilaka taken from the mineral rich earth of Vṛndāvana forest.

Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī also points out that tulasī, although exalted in many ways, is not normally considered an especially fragrant plant. However, early in the morning tulasī emits a transcendental fragrance that ordinary people cannot perceive but that transcendental personalities fully appreciate. The bees who are privileged to swarm about the flower garlands worn by the Supreme Personality of Godhead certainly appreciate this fragrance, and Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī quotes from the Bhāgavatam (3.15.19) to the effect that the most fragrant plants in Vaikuṇṭha also appreciate the special qualifications of Tulasī-devī.

The word sandhita-veṇuḥ in Text 10 indicates that Lord Kṛṣṇa placed His flute firmly upon His lips. And the melody emanating from that flute is certainly the most enchanting of sounds, as the gopīs describe in this chapter.

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