Yesterday I was riding around Japan on my bike (passing out fliers for my new English classes) listening via iPod to my Guru read and discuss Brihat Bhagavatamrita. We were up to the part where Narada Muni meets Uddhava in Dvaraka. Krsna and Balarama are on the terrace of their palace, sobbing hysterically over the fact that Krsna is unable to return to Vrindavana and the devotees there are suffering so miserably. Balarama tells Krsna:
“Remember when you banished the Kaliya dragon from the lake, and thus purified the place of all its powerful venom and toxic wastes?”
“They were so happy about it then. But now it only makes them more miserable!”
“Why!?” Krsna asks
“Because they are so distraught over your constant absence that they want to kill themselves. They are mad because the poison of that place would have let them do so, but now it is gone!” Balarama answers.
Sobbing then renewed its mournful echoes through the palaces which never before heard such sounds.
Balarama then continued: “Since you have left, Goverdhan hill has crumbled, being bereft of strength on account of the depression of not being able to host your daily play and sports. The people of Vrndavana mourn for Goverdhan’s emotional state, but even more they feel miserable that they could not jump from his previously enormous heights to end their lives.”
An onlooker such as Kamsa’s mother, Padmavati, might then inquire in her ignorance, “Why is it so difficult for these people to kill themselves!? They could still drown themselves in the water even if it is not poisonous. They could still die from jumping off a cliff face on Goverdhan even if the mountain is not as terrifically tall as it previously was! Or they could just do something simple like stop eating. This all sounds like nonsense to me!”
So Balarama silenced her, saying, “These Vraja-vasis are not ordinary people. Every day, every hour, every minute, every moment they are absorbed in drinking the amrita (nectar of immortality) that is the name “Krsna.” Therefore they cannot die by ordinary means. They require an extraordinary poison like Kaliya possessed. Or an extreme height like what Goverdhan used to afford.”
Then Balarama – who is the original Nityananda, whose energy empowered the divine master of our Aindra Prabhu – looked Krishna lovingly in the eyes. Tenderly taking hold of his remorsefully postured shoulders, the moonlike Baladeva then spoke these words – invoking the image of the external means of our Aindra’s apparent disappearance from this world:
“Those who constantly relish the nectar of your names, my dear brother, only hold on to the hope that some terrible and sudden fire will come and end the misery of their separation from you.”