In the 3rd canto we meet Uddhava for the first time. In the 1st Chapter, Vidura asks him many questions about Krishna, and in the 2nd Chapter Uddhava tries to reply – but cannot, because he is overwhelmed by emotion as a result of contemplating the answers to those questions.

All these ślokas in chapter 2 are ecstatic, but the 6th śloka has particularly appealed to my heart and mind today. It says, śanakair bhagaval-lokān nṛlokaṁ punar āgataḥ, which literally means “Gradually, from the world of Bhagavān to the world of humans, returned.” Uddhava’s memories of Krishna literally carried his consciousness to Krishna’s location! In that location, he experienced divine, transcendental emotions – and the side effects of these were visible even in Uddhavas form that was rooted in the normal plane, the human-world, the “mortal location.” And gradually he returned his consciousness to the human location so that he could reply to Vidura’s questions.

While his consciousness had gone to the spiritual location, tears and horripilation and so on erupted from his physical form. But as he returned to this plane, the śloka says, vimṛjya netre viduraṁ prītyāhoddhava utsmayan, which literally means “wiping dry his eyes, out of affection for Vidura, Uddhava smiled.” The word for smiled indicates a sudden, smile, almost like being jolted or shocked back into external consciousness – but in a pleasant way.

Śrīla Viśvanātha comments that while with Bhagavān in Bhagavān-loka, Krishna had told him, “now please return to the normal world to answer the questions of my beloved Vidura.”

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