“Krishna saw all the trees, overloaded with fruits and fresh twigs, coming down to touch the ground as if welcoming Him by touching His lotus feet. He was very pleased by the behavior of the trees, fruits and flowers, and He began to smile realizing their desires.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 15)
Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has declared that just as the Supreme Lord, the all-attractive one, Shri Krishna, is worshipable, so is His land. By extension, this means that the occasion of Janmashtami gives a chance for glorification and remembrance of not only the son of Yashoda, but also the land which He most prefers.
That land is known as Vrindavana, and it is sacred for many reasons. It is the place of Krishna’s childhood lila; His adorable pastimes that involved His closest friends. The friendship extended beyond the human species. All of the living entities in Vrindavana during His time were liberated souls. They appreciated Krishna in different moods. While Vrindavana, both the original and the replica version in the material world, is special for the devotees because it is conducive to the practice of Krishna consciousness, it is also preferred by Krishna Himself. There are many reasons for this.
1. It has a pleasant atmosphere
Vrindavana in the spiritual world and during Krishna’s time on earth is not full of skyscraper buildings. It does not have shops at every corner. It is a rural area, with pristine forests, ever blossoming with life. This pleasant atmosphere is very pleasing to Shri Hari. In that sacred land, the foster son of Yashoda and Nanda accepts the role of cowherd. At a young age, He gets the responsibility of taking care of the calves. The residents are so pure of heart that they take care of cows from start to finish. There is never a thought to kill or eat these wonderful animals.
The atmosphere is ideal for Krishna to carry out His childhood occupation. He brings His friends along with Him when leaving for the fields. In Vrindavana, every day is a “nice day.” The weather is always perfect, even though there is still the variety of seasons.
2. It has clear water lakes
Krishna and His preferred home of Vrindavana reveal that there is more to the relationship with the Divine than just awe and reverence. Being God-fearing or God-appreciating is a significant first step, especially considering the general tendency in the material world towards atheism. The more one advances materially, the more they forget their true identity and the instrumental factor in making the laws of nature work.
If a person asks the question, “What is Krishna doing in the spiritual world,” the answer is always the same. “Enjoying.” How does He enjoy? In a variety of ways. One of them involves playing in the lakes. These have clear water, and they are beautiful in every way. Krishna enters those lakes and has fun with the gopis, the cowherd women of the town. They love Krishna without even thinking about it, and their lone desire is to enjoy with Him. In the spiritual world, desires are always granted, since they only have to do with bhakti, or devotion.
3. It has chirping birds
As Krishna and His brother Balarama roam the land, there is always a pleasant sound. Krishna wears a beautiful flower garland, to which bees are attracted. In addition to the buzzing sound around Him, Krishna hears the chirping of birds from the trees. The birds are always talking about what Krishna did. They speak to each other in their own language. The parrots even sometimes argue as to who is more glorious, Krishna or His eternal consort, Shrimati Radharani. Radha is Vrindavaneshvari, or the queen of Vrindavana. She is most dear to Krishna.
4. It has sweet flavored breezes
In the material world, a windy day can be a nuisance. If I have work to do outside, the wind gets in the way. If I’m playing a sport, the wind can totally alter my game plan. Strong winds can take down trees and buildings. If there is an unpleasant odor somewhere, the wind carries that foul smell to distant places.
In Vrindavana the breezes are sweet in flavor, adding to Shri Hari’s enjoyment. There are so many beautiful flowers around, and Krishna doesn’t have to go up to one to notice their presence. The wind offers service to Him by bringing the sweet smell directly to Him.
5. The trees pay obeisance to Him
Trees are beneficial from their offering of oxygen alone. Vedic culture tells us more about trees by introducing the concept of sinful and pious. Sinful trees are those that don’t bear any fruit. Pious trees give fruit and thereby extend life. In Vrindavana the trees are fruit-bearing. It makes sense since even trees are living entities. Sin is an immediate disqualification for residence in the spiritual world. To have devotion to Krishna is the very definition of piety, and so in the sacred land the trees are always yielding delicious fruits for Krishna’s satisfaction.
The branches on these trees bend down to offer obeisance to Krishna. There are fruits on these branches as well, which appears to give an external cause for the contorted shape. But actually, even the trees want to offer some service. Their obeisances make Krishna very happy, as does everyone in Vrindavana. On the occasion of Janmashtami we remember that sacred land and how dear it is to the most beloved Lord of the life breath of Radha, her prana-natha.
Even trees knowing service how,
Branches with fruit to Krishna bow.
Winds carrying aromas sweet,
Lord and gopis in clear water to meet.
Soles traversing the soft ground,
Everywhere heard birds’ chirping sound.
Vrindavana most pleasing place to be,
Known by His happiness just see.