O Friend of the Deceiver!
Updated: Jan 8
Uddhava came to Vrindavan to impart the knowledge of Vedanta to the inhabitants but surrendered his pride before the divine love of the villagers. Everywhere he set his foot, he heard the stories of Krishna and his leelas. Every inch of Vrij was enlivened with Krishna and his memoirs. He wanted to drown in the love that every being of Vrij, animate or innanimate, had for Krishna. Submerged in this divine experience, Uddhava was walking on the banks of Yamuna, when his eyes fell on a gopi who was sitting down in a bower by the river. The place lighted up with her molten gold complexion. Wearing a rich blue garment, her beauty was incomparable in the three worlds. Her face radiant like a thousand full moons, held two large lotus shaped eyes that were filled with tears. As she sat there, reminiscing her days spent with Sri Krishna, when he resided in Vrij, a bumblebee started buzzing near her. As the humming became louder, the heart of the gopi seemed to pound faster. With every beat her eyes began to watch the bee intently and the colour changed. In a state of ecstatic bewilderment, she went from inquisitiveness to a frown to an angry outburst. The bee came to her and sat near her feet as if eager to convey a message. As she looked on at the bee, she thought it to be a messenger of Krishna. The treacherous bumblebee sent by an even more treacherous Krishna! Addressing the bumblebee, the gopi snapped, “O honeybee! O friend of the deceiver! Don’t touch my feet with your whiskers. They are smeared with kumkuma from the flowers of Krishna’s garland, the very garland that was crushed by the breasts of a rival with who Krishna was involved. Let him woo the women of Mathura. This behaviour of his will certainly be ridiculed.
You resemble your lord in every way. You wander from flower to flower, sucking the honey, and fly away without a care. Your Lord similarly enchants every woman around him, steals the love from their hearts and discards them. He made us drink the nectar of his lips, made us forget our world and then suddenly one day abandoned us. How could he remain so detached? I wonder, how Goddess Lakshmi serves his lotus feet day in and day out? She also must have been charmed by him and wouldn’t be aware of his duplicity.”
In the same sarcastic tone she continued that there was no need for the bee to sing praises of the Krishna who had become a prince, the Lord of the Yadus in front of the gopis, the homeless people. Rather, the bee should sing in front of the new beloveds that the friend of Arjuna is spending time with now. They would surely fulfil the desire of the bee. But not them. They knew him too intimately to be carried away by the bee’s words. Jealousy interlaced with anger, she went on, “Is there any woman in this entire universe, heaven or earth, that he cannot engage in amorous relationship? The way he arches his eyebrows and throws that crooked smile, fixing his gaze on his target, he can win over anyone. He has charmed everyone so well that the supreme goddess also worships the dust of his feet. He lifts the fallen ones and hence is called Uttamashloka. How can he still adorn that name after what he has done with us?”
With lingering pride, she scoffed, “You are an adroit diplomat trying to placate us and make us believe your sweet talk. Take your head away from my feet. Who can trust a person who abandoned the very people who left everything for him? We know him and his flattering words so well. We know how traitorous he can be! He should be ashamed of how treacherously he killed Bali in the Bali – Sugriva fight. Is that what great people do? Now let me remind you of Suparnakha. What was Suparnakha’s fault that he punished her by cutting off her nose, simply because he was enjoying marital bliss with another woman? Is this the behaviour of the brave? How can anyone forget what he did to King Mahabali, the most benevolent Asura king? After asking for three steps of land, he crushed Mahabali to Patal. So, even though we cannot stop talking and remembering him, we would never accept the friendship of that dark, deceitful boy again. We still feel the sharp pain of lust he ignited in us.”
The gopi was in deep mourning and kept ridiculing the behaviour of Krishna. But as soon as the bee disappeared from her sight, she became mad searching for him. Talking to the bee made her feel as if Krishna was listening to every word she spoke. When the bee appeared again, she felt relieved and thought Krishna was still kind to her to have sent the bee as a messenger. Giving up her anger she asked, “O friend of my dear one, has my beloved sent you here again? Tell us o bee, does he remember his father’s household affairs? Does he remember his friends, the cowherd boys? O great soul! Does he ever talk about us, his maid servants? When will he come to us – to lay his hands, ever so fragrant with the scent of auguru, on our heads?”
Srimad Bhagavatam, tenth canto, chapter forty-seven, sings the Bhramara Gita, where Shrimati Radharani, the pinnacle of divine love, talks to a bumble bee taking him to be a messenger of Krishna. Some authorities also opine that it was Sri Krishna who came in the form of a bumblebee for the darshan of Shrimati Radharani.