Now I would like to share with you some of my favorite “Nectar of Devotion” passages about friendship.
From The Nectar of Devotion, 1970 BBT Edition, by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.
Part Three, Chapter 42, “Fraternal Love”
“At this age Krishna was garlanded with various kinds of flowers. He used to put on a silk dress, colored with various kinds of dye. Such beautiful decorations are considered cosmetics for Krishna. Krishna would wear this dress when He used to go into the forest to tend the cows. Sometimes He would wrestle there with His different friends, and sometimes they would dance all together in the forest. These are some of the specific activities of the pauganda age.” [pauganda is from six to ten years of age]
“The cowherd friends of Krishna were so happy in His company that they expressed their transcendental feelings within themselves thus: ‘My dear Krishna, You are always busy tending the cows, which are scattered all over beautiful Vrindavana. You have a beautiful garland, a small conch shell, a peacock feather on Your turban, yellow-colored silk cloth, decorations of karnikara flowers on Your ears and a mallika flower garland on Your chest. Appearing so beautiful, when You pretend, just like an actor, to be fighting with us, You give us unlimited transcendental bliss.'”
Pauganda Krishna and His Friends Ki Jaya!
“The friendly relationship of the cowherd boys with Krishna is a particular type of spiritual ecstasy almost similar to the ecstasy of conjugal love. It is very difficult to explain this ecstasy of loving affairs between the cowherd boys and Krishna. Great expert devotees like Rupa Goswami and others express their astonishment at the inconceivable feelings which are in Krishna and His cowherd boy friends.”
May we be astonished by the Transcendent Love of little Krishna and His Friends today !
Some of Sri Krishna’s Older Attractive Features
Part Three, Chapter 41, Page 326
“Sometimes the different names, forms, paraphernalia and transcendental qualities provoke fraternal love: For instance, Krishna’s nice dress, the all-auspicious symptoms on His body, His strongly-built body, His knowledge of different languages, His learned teachings in the Bhagavad-Gita, His uncommon genius in all fields of endeavor, His exhibition of expert knowledge, His mercy, His chivalry, His behavior as a conjugal lover, His intelligence, His forgiveness, His attraction for all kinds of men, His opulence and His happiness – all provoke fraternal love.”
Here is an Example of “Ecstasy in Separation”
Part Three, Chapter 42, Page 345
“There is also an example of madness caused by separation from Krishna. When Krishna was absent from Vrindavana, all the cowherd boys became bewildered, and having given up all kinds of activities, they appeared to be mad and forgot all their regular business. They were sometimes lying down on the ground, sometimes rolling in the dust, sometimes laughing and sometimes running very swiftly. All of these symptoms gave them the appearance of madmen. One friend of Krishna’s criticized Him by saying, ‘My dear Lord, You have become the King of Mathura after killing Kamsa, and that is very good news for us. But at Vrindavana all the residents have become blind from their continuous crying over Your absence. They are full only of anxieties and are not cheered at all by Your becoming the King of Mathura.'”
May the Residents of Vrindavana bless us all with Their tears of desire for GOD today !
This is an Example of Friendship Expressed Through Chivalrous Love
“…according to the prevailing rules of chivalry one’s chariot driver should never be attacked by the enemy. But Asvatthama behaved heinously in so many ways that he did not hesitate to attack Krishna’s body, although Krishna was acting only as a charioteer for Arjuna. When Arjuna saw that Asvatthama was releasing various kinds of arrows to hurt Krishna, he immediately stood in front of Krishna to intercept all of them. At that time, although Arjuna was being harmed by those arrows, he felt ecstatic love for Krishna, and the arrows appeared to him like showers of flowers.”
May our love for Krishna and all His Devotees be as chivalrous and heroic as Arjuna’s ! May we not hesitate when the time comes to accept wounding or even death for the sake of Divine Love. MAY WE ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT “Perfect love casts out fear”. May we learn to love fearlessly, and prefer rather to surrender our bodies to a shower of arrows, than to betray Divine Love ! May we know the ecstasy of complete surrender in the cause of love, and when we are in pain, may we all remember the ecstasy of Arjuna in his woundedness !
May we all aspire to love as bravely as Arjuna.
ARJUNA’S LOVE KI JAYA !
Fraternal Love Among the Saints
The following words are from a letter written by St Francis of Assisi to a minister, probably before 1223 A D. This instruction on showing the Lord’s mercy to sinners reveals why Francis was known as the friend of the most fallen.
From FRANCIS AND CLARE: THE COMPLETE WORKS
1982, Paulist Press (from the Classics in Western Spirituality Series).
“And by this I wish to know if you love the Lord God and me, his servant and yours…if you have acted in this manner: that is, there should not be any brother in the world who has sinned, however much he may have possibly sinned, who, after he has looked into your eyes, would go away without having received your mercy, if he is looking for mercy. And if he were not to seek mercy, you should ask him if he wants mercy. And if he should sin thereafter a thousand times before your very eyes, love him more than me so that you may draw him back to the Lord. Always be merciful to such as these. And announce this to the guardians, as you can, that on your part you are resolved to act this way.”
St. Francis, Friend of the fallen Ki Jaya !
May we always be mindful of the constant intercession of our gurus and all the saints, who are our truest friends in this world and the world to come. May we all receive and give Their Mercy today !
Holy Love in the flavor of friendship is one of Sri Krishna’s manifestations of beauty, truth and goodness. It is only accessible to us through the CAUSELESS MERCY AND GRACE OF SRI BALADEVA AND SRIMATI RADHARANI. Sri Krishna transcendentally pours His Grace out to us through Balarama and Radharani, and in this ‘saha’ world of suffering, the Spiritual Masters the Saints mediate Their Love and Grace to us. They teach us how to dwell in Godhead’s Love, by dwelling on GOD. It is dwelling on SRI KRISHNA the TRUE, the GOOD, the BEAUTIFUL, the SWEET, the COMPASSIONATE, the FORGIVING, the PLAYFUL…and on His activities with His loving associates and even with His adversaries, that is the nourishment we need for the revival of our souls. Krishna is present here and now, and His presence is what CAN make us more true, good, sweet, benevolent, compassionate etc. but we must EXPERIENCE HIS PRESENCE TO BENEFIT FROM IT. WE CANNOT BE NOURISHED BY FOOD IF WE ONLY LOOK AT IT. We must ‘take it in’ and make it part of our being, for it to have its life-giving effect. We must not stay on the outside of the jar. We must cultivate the habit of experiencing the REAL PRESENCE OF GOD. We must try to focus on where Krishna IS, to develop the habit of seeing Him and His devotees everywhere. Then for us, this world will reveal itself as a place of Krishna’s Lila too. We need to see that this world is pervaded by His Love for us and the Saints’ Love for Him. But, we must also remember that real Love comes in many flavors, some of them sharp and bitter. Some of the flavors of Love require acquiring a taste for appreciating them. Whatever the flavor, Krishna’s Love and Love of Krishna is always nourishing to the soul. Even a little of it is good for us. We must hanker after it and take it from wherever we can find it, whether it is bitter or sweet.