After arranging Shri Nathji’s temple affairs, the bhakti master went to Vrindavan.
After arriving in the divine area of Vrindavan, Shri Vallabhacharya offered some “prasada” to his disciple Prabhudas.
“I can not accept this now, I have not bathed yet.”
Shri Vallabhacharya explained, “In this sacred land of Vrindavan Shri Krishna lives within every leaf and plays a lovely melody on His flute. In such a sacred land, where every grain of sand is sacred, why consider if you have bathed or not?”
When Prabhudas turned towards the trees, he saw Shri Krishna’s face beaming in every leaf and flower.
Shri Vallabhacharya worshipped many different forms of Krishna. Sometimes he worshipped him as a child (as Bal Krishna) or as youthful Shri Nathji, or as Gokul Chandramaji, Shri Krishna as the divine flute player. He spoke to his followers about Vrindavan and his devotion to Shri Krishna,
“ Krishna enters this magical forest of Vrindavan and awakens the divinities who reside there. He accomplishes this through the call of His flute. He has opened the gates of love and the blessed women of Braja who are swept away in a current of bhava, play with Him. This takes place very close to their homes here in Vrindavan. The lakes of Braja, the Yamuna river and the adjoining hillsides are all abodes of divine dalliance.
“Krishna is is ready to love and prepares others. Shri Krishna is Love’s personified form. The Braja Gopis nourish that love and inspire it to arise.”
Shri Vallabhacharya was not only the perfect witness to Krishna lila’s, but also the Lord of speech. His words not only taught experience, but created it as well. He then continued to reveal the mysteries of the Vrindavan…
“In order to awaken divine attachment, Hari enters Vrindavan playing His flute. The Gopis sang about the song of His flute. Whoever is attracted to His attributes ends up attached to Him.
The souls Shri Vallabhacharya accepted became the beloveds of the Lord of the Gopis. Mahaprabhuji gave his eligible followers the direct experience of Shri Krishna and brought the divine realm of Vrindavan to this earth for them. He taught them that the highest reward was not to return to God, but to have God return to the soul here in this world. Human birth was not the result of negative karmas, but a supreme opportunity to have enchanges with Shri Krishna in this world, in your very home. To dedicate and then use everything for Krishna’s pleasure and then to subsist on His prasada. To wear offered cloth and live in a totally offered world was not only the key to rise above all forms of anxiety, but the Path to Presence. The search for the Beloved is a continual process. The Path of Grace is a firey affair with revolving experiences of finding Him in the world and then in the heart.
Beloved Vallabh’s speech was Brahmic in every direction. Shri Vallabhacharya did not see Vrindavan, the sacred lands of Shri Krishna’s lilas as a pilgrimage land, but rather as Shri Krishna’s divine abode appearing in the world. He urged his followers to serve Shri Krishna, for wherever one makes Shri Krishna’s seva becomes Vrindavan. To experience Krishna with all of ones senses is the highest reward of human life. True liberation is to make yourself so spiritually attractive that Shri Krishna can’t wait to find you! In the Path of Grace, exalted souls find Shri Krishna everywhere they look and there is a constant exchange.
Braja is the area with the highest concentration of seats dedicated to the Master who taught Shri Krishna’s divine essences. Shri Vallabhacharya is brilliant at giving the unattainable gift; direct insights into the nature of Shri Krishna. Anywhere his lotus feet touched the ground became a non-dual divine realm. The bhakti master wandered the twelve forests of Braja with a handful of dedicated followers. In Braja, as elsewhere, his mission was to awaken Shri Krishna’s presence in the people that he met.
This intense devotion was not understood by all. Once in Mathura, Sanatan Goswami approached Shri Vallabhacharya and said, “Yours is the Path of Grace, the path of nourishment, yet all of your followers are thin.”
Shri Vallabhacharya turned to him and explained, “I told them not to come, but they came and that is why they are thin.”
Sanatan Goswami did not understand the reply, but when he
mentioned Shri Vallabhacharya’s words to his guru, Shri Krishna Chaitanya, he fell to the ground in a divine swoon. When he arose several hours later, he asked Sanantan again what Shri Vallabhacharya had said and when he heard the Master’s words for a second time, he fell unconscious again.
The teaching that Shri Vallabhacharya gave here is from the Shrimad Bhagavatam. When Shri Vallabhacharya said. “I told them not to come,” he was referring to Shri Krishna’s lila in the forest when the Blessed Lord told the Gopis of Braja to return home when they first met Him under the full moon in the forest of Vrindavan.
“But they came and that is why they are thin,” refers to the Gopi’s divine condition. After Shri Krishna told them to go, they refused and then enjoyed His divine company and dance. Later, after the divine union with Shri Krishna, they returned home and experienced Shri Krsihna’s separation. This is what made them thin.
The Path of Grace is fire on water, union in separation, intenisty with humility and never dependant on a particular practice. Dependancy is only on Shri Krishna. Master Vallabh was also a very practical man and understood the pitfalls of spiritual life. The only means whereby a practitioner can attain the Blessed State is through humility laced with an overwhelming desire to come face to face. Pride of practice, anxiety and false expectations are all obstructions to attainment.
One day while wandering around Braja he passed through the Gahvara forest near Barsana, Shri Radha’s town. There the master’s attention was drawn to a large boa constrictor in an adjacent field that was covered with ants. He was deeply move by the sight and explained to his disciples, “In its previous birth, this snake was a false guru, a man who posed as an enlightened being, but was not. These ants were his disciples that he failed to uplift. Bhaktas always relinquish all sense of false pride and come humbly before the Blessed One. They adore Him with every sentiment and if any anxiety creeps into their lives for some reason, they realize it as His play and quickly stop being concerned. The Lord of all, Shri Krishna, will never enter the heart of the one who is filled with wordly hankerings. Krishna comes before us when we sing his praises full of devotion. That unmatched divine pleasure surpasses liberation and that is why Shri Krishna brought His bhaktas to this special land of Vrindavan. It is to liberate them from the abode of liberation. He came to Vrindavan to play and award them the pleasure of His divine being. The life of the divine soul is to enter His love plays and serve.”
Padmanabhdas, a great pandit, became Shri Vallabhacharya’s disciple and joined him on the Master trip to Braja. He was very intellectual and said he would only be convinced of Shri Krishna’s personal divine reality if he could see the Blessed Lord. Shri Vallabhacharya who provides all rewards, understood the desire of his heart and one day while they were walking near Gokul, a part of the Yamuna river’s bank broke off into the river and from the sandy crevice a one hundred foot tall image of Shri Krishna with four arms appeared.
“Look” Shri Vallabhacharya exclaimed, “Padmanabha, your Krishna has arrived. Now go and serve Him.”
“Master, how is it possible to serve Him? He is too tall.”
When Shri Vallabh approached Shri Krishna’s divine manifestation, the tall four-armed Lord became small enough to sit on the Master’s lap. Shri Krishna appeared for Padmanabhadas as Shri Mathureshji and as He rested in Shri Vallabhacharya’s lap, His head touched the Master’s chin.
“Padmanabhadas, now perform His seva, His loving worship and know that the Blessed Lord plays according to the desires of bhaktas.”
Souls established in grace see God as full of Grace. They appear in this world to serve His divine form and their bodies become transformed and capable of attending to the Lord of Sweetness.
Many separated divine souls needed the Master’s touch to awaken their inner divinity so they could feel His presence and please the Lord of sweetness. Who besides the bhakta, the follower of the Blissful Hari, is able to relieve His burden? One day, while looking towards a Vrindavan cloud, Shri Vallabh explained to his intimate disciples,
“See that Cloud. She was first moved by love that increased when she heard His glories. That love then matured into a fast friendship with Shri Krishna. Love inspired her to take her form.
“Clouds are the forms of desire and can take on any shape at will. It was because of her great affection and the nature of Hari’s play that she expanded and shades Krishna and all of his friends when they play under the hot Vrindavan sun. She is never troubled by her efforts, instead she is enthralled.”
The bhakti master reflected and then continued, “One who is born and can develop and cultivate devotion attains “atmanivedanam”, the blessed state of Soulful Dedication. This cloud has attained the perfect state of being.
His followers listened with rapt attention. The words of the Master of Speech brought them into total awareness of Krishna. He then continued, “Those who share similar qualities are generally friends. This cloud excels even in friendship. She has given everything she owns to Krishna. Her nectar essence of flowers is freely offered to Hari. It is an act of selfless love.”