The night is ready to bid farewell. The first rays of dawn begin to colour the distant skies with deep amber hues. As the colour starts spreading through the hinterland of Vrindavan, the gopis get up excited and absorbed in thoughts of their prince, Krishna. The forests of Vrindavan have started ornamenting themselves to welcome Krishna. The humming of the maddened bees and the fluttering of the birds in the lakes, rivers and hills creates the most melodious welcome songs. The fragrant, cool breeze, caressing the lotus flowers of the clear lakes, fills the forest with a sweet incense as Krishna, with his cows and cowherd friends, enters the forests.
As Krishna herds the cows into the forest, he takes out the bamboo flute that is tucked in his waistband. The flute is thrilled by his touch and holds its breath waiting for the kiss of the Lord’s lotus lips. Not allowing the wish to be left unfulfilled, Krishna gently brings it to his lips, satisfying its desire. As the flute surrenders, Krishna starts playing the most magical notes that resonates in the hearts of every being, living or non-living. When the flute reaches the ears of the damsels of Brij, they are pierced with Cupid’s arrows, and their minds become fixed on Krishna. They run to their friends, eager to talk about Krishna and describe his qualities, but they are so strung by the melody of his flute that not a single word comes out. Their hearts only hold the picture of Krishna wearing a yellow garment, brilliant as gold, the garland of vaijayanti flower swaying on his neck as he advances, playing his flute. The blue karnikara flowers on his ears and peacock feather adorning the jewels on his head swoon as the greatest dancer glides his way into the forests of Vrindavan, beautifying its bosom with the mark of his footprints. At last, when words come out, the gopis embrace each other, describing the beautiful faces of Krishna and Balaram, surrounded by their friends, driving the cows before them. What can be a more gorgeous sight that the vision of the two brothers wearing vibrant garments, garlands resting on their chest, adorned with peacock feathers, lotuses, lilies, newly grown mango sprouts and clusters of flower buds, shining magnificently with their flutes to their mouth, glancing lovingly on everyone around?!
What must have the flute done to deserve the nectar of Krishna’s lips and leave only a taste for the gopis for whom the nectar was actually meant for? The forefathers of the flute, the bamboo trees, shed tears of joy watching this. Their mother, the river on whose bank the bamboo was born, is elated and the blooming lotus flowers stand erect like hairs on her body.
Blessed with the presence of Sri Krishna, Vrindavan has become the glorious epicentre, radiating bliss all around. Peacocks dance madly listening to the Lord’s flute and all other animals stay stunned on hilltops. The deer look on stupefied, worshipping Govinda’s loving glance on them. Alert, the cows, raise their ears to drink the ambrosia of the song of the flute flowing out of Krishna’s lips. The calves, with their mouth full of mother’s milk, stand still, tear running down their eyes as they embrace Krishna within their hearts. The birds all around the forest hop up to the highest branch of the trees to watch Krishna and close their eyes, fully immersed in the sweet vibrations of the divine flute, not attracted by anything else.
Krishna and Balaram play their flutes as they herd the animals of Brij under the fierce heat of the summer sun. Seeing this, the cloud in the sky expands itself out of love and rises high, converting itself into an umbrella with flower-like droplets of water for the sake of Krishna’s friends. What can be said about the Govardhan Hill?! It has arranged soft, green grass for their cows. Filled with fruits, flowers, vegetables and water for the divine brothers and their friends and caves for them to rest as its offering.
When the rivers hear the song of the flute, the flow of their currents stops and their water rises uncontrollably, moving around in whirlpools. With the arms of their waves, the rivers embrace the feet of Krishna, holding unto them and presenting lotus flowers as offerings.
When the wives of the gandharvas flying in the sky above catch sight of Krishna and hear the notes of his resonating flute, their hearts are pierced by Cupid’s arrows and they become so dazed that their garments slip off and flowers drop out of their hair. When the village girls in the outskirts of Vrindavan see red kumkuma powder from Krishna’s feet on the green grass, they are mystified. They smear it on their faces and get rid of all their anxiety.
On hearing the nectarian note of Sri Krishna’s flute, the living, moving beings become immobile, stunned and dazed while the immobile trees tremble, shake and dance in ecstasy.
In the tenth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, the gopis describe the early morning lila of Sri Krishna in Venu Geet. When Govinda goes out with gopa friends to tend the cows in the forest and plays his flute, the hearts of the gopis at home are thrilled. To ease their pangs of separation, they sing about their beloved Shyam, his mystifying flute, and his frolicking in the forests of Vrindavana.
एवंविधा भगवतो या वृन्दावनचारिण: । वर्णयन्त्यो मिथो गोप्य: क्रीडास्तन्मयतां ययु: ॥
evaṁ-vidhā bhagavato yā vṛndāvana-cāriṇaḥ varṇayantyo mitho gopyaḥ krīḍās tan-mayatāṁ yayuḥ
- Narrating to one another the purvanha lila of Sri Krishna, as he wanders about in the forest of Vrindavan, the gopis become fully absorbed in Him.