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Tenth Skanda

Chapter 65: Lord Balarâma in Vrindâvana and the Stream Divided

(1) S’rî S’uka said: ‘O best of the Kurus, the Supreme Lord Balarâma mounted [one day] His chariot eager to see His friends and traveled to Nanda’s cowherd village. (2) By the gopas and gopîs, who for a long time had missed Him indeed, was Râma embraced and offering His respects to His parents was He joyfully greeted with prayers: (3) ‘O descendant of Das’ârha, please always protect us together with Your younger brother, the Lord of the Universe’, and saying this pulling Him close on their laps embraced they Him wetting Him with the water from their eyes. (4-6) Next He headed for the elderly cowherds whom He, taking their hands, greeted with smiles. After having offered Him a comfortable seat so that He could rest a bit and such, gathered they, who had dedicated their all and everything to the service of their lotus-eyed Krishna, around Him and asked they Him, with voices faltering of their love, questions relating to the welfare of their beloved ones. (7) ‘O Balarâma are all our relatives well? Do all of You, wives, children and all, still remember us, o Râma? (8) To our fortune was the sinful Kamsa killed and were our relatives freed; thank God found they shelter in a fortress [Dvârakâ] and were our enemies killed and conquered!’ (9) Honored to see Râma in their midst asked the gopîs with a smile: ‘Is Krishna, the darling of the city women, living happily? (10) Does He still think of His folk, His [foster] father and His mother; will He ever come to visit His mother Himself and does He with His mighty arms remember our enduring service? (11-12) For His sake have we, o Lord, detached ourselves from those who are so difficult to give up: our mothers, fathers, brothers, husbands, children and sisters, o descendant of Das’ârha. With Him suddenly rejecting us and leaving, has He broken with the friendship, but what woman wouldn’t believe in Him now she’s again being addressed? (13) In what way could those smart city women put faith in the words of Him who so easily has His heart elsewhere and breaks off the contact? They are mistaken about His eloquence and nice smiles because they factually are motivated by lust! (14) But why woud we dilate about Him any longer o gopîs, let’s talk about other things; if He wants to pass His time without us, will we do likewise [in trying to live without Him being present. See also 10.47: 47].’

(15) Thus speaking of the laughter, the conversations, the attractive glances and remembering the gait and the loving embrace of S’auri, the women cried. (16) Sankarshana, the Supreme Lord, being an expert in different kinds of conciliation, consoled them with Krishna’s confidential messages that touched their hearts. (17) Râma then resided there for the two months of Madhu and Mâdhava [the first two of the vernal equinox], during which He also during the nights brought [amorous] delight to the gopîs [see also 10.15: 8]. (18) In a grove near the Yamunâ [known as S’rîrâma-ghaththa] with by the wind carried the fragrance of kumuda [night-blooming] lotuses, enjoyed He it, bathing in the light of the full moon, to be served by the many women. (19) Sent by Varuna flowed from the hollow of a tree the divine [intoxicating spirit] Vârunî that with its aroma made the entire forest even more fragrant. (20) Balarâma, smelling the fragrance of that honey flow carried over by the wind, sought the place where it could be found and drank from it together with the women. (21) Kettledrums resounded in the sky, the Gandharvas with joy rained down flowers and the sages praised Râma for His heroic deeds. (22) As the singers of heaven sang the glory enjoyed He, beautified by the circle of young women, just like Indra’s bull elephant in a herd of females. (23) With His pastimes being sung by the women wandered Halâyudha [Balarâma as ‘armed with the plow’] through the forest inebriated with his eyes heavy of the intoxication.

(24-25) With flowers, with one earring, mad with joy and carrying His Vaijayantî garland and with His smiling, lotuslike face covered by beads of perspiration like it were snowflakes, called He for the Yamunâ with the purpose to play in the water, but when the river thereupon ignored His drunken words, was she by Him angrily with the tip of His plow dragged because she didn’t come: (26) ‘You sinful one do not come, being called by Me, and because you, in disrespect of Me, are moving about as you like, will I, dividing you with My plow in a hundred little streams, make you come!’

(27) Yamunâ thus chided, afraid fallen at His feet, o King, spoke trembling to the Yadu descendant the words [*]: (28) ‘Râma, Râma, o mighty armed one, what do I know about the prowess of You by whose single portion [of S’esha] the earth is sustained, o Master of the Universe? (29) Please, o Lord Supreme, let me go, I have surrendered, I wasn’t aware of Your status as the Supreme Personality, o Soul of the Universe so compassionate with Your devotees!’

(30) Thus entreated released Balarâma, the Supreme Lord, the Yamunâ and then submerged Himself with the women in the water like He was the king of the elephants with his wives. (31) Having played as He wanted emerging from the water presented Kânti [‘the female beauty, the brightness of the moon’, a name of Lakshmî] Him a set of blue garments, most valuable ornaments and a splendid necklace. (32) Dressing up with the blue clothes and putting on the golden necklace appeared He, excellently ornamented and anointed, as resplendent as great lord Indra’s elephant. (33) Even today are, o King, the currents of the Yamunâ the way they are drawn by Balarâma in His unlimited potency, seen as evidence of His prowess. (34) Thus passed for Râma, who in His mind was enchanted by the exquisite women of the cow-community, all the nights that He enjoyed in Vraja, like a single one.’

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