“While Krishna was engaged in enjoyment with the boys and girls within the forest of Vrindavana, Kamsa used to send his associates to kill Him, and Krishna would show His prowess by killing them.” (The Nectar of Devotion, Ch 26)
Friend1: Vrindavana is a special place.
Friend2: Where Vrinda Devi, the goddess of devotion, flourishes.
Friend1: She is the tulasi plant.
Friend2: Yes. If you sit in front of a tulasi plant and chant the maha-mantra, you don’t really require anything else to be successful in life.
Friend1: Saphala will soon become a reality. That is the power of the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Friend2: I mean, you can try to ask for material rewards. You can try to think about something else, but the goddess of devotion is so merciful that she helps you to stay on course. Just offering a little water to her does so much.
Friend1: Therefore it’s no surprise that Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, favors Vrindavana so much.
Friend2: He spent His childhood years there. There is unlimited lila with Bhagavan. His pastimes are too many to count, but there is something special about that childhood form wandering around, breaking into the homes of the neighbors, stealing butter, tending to the calves, playing with His friends, enchanting everyone with the sounds emanating from His flute, and saving everyone from danger.
Friend1: I’m glad you mentioned that. Let’s delve a little deeper. Why is there danger?
Friend2: Well, in general or just in Vrindavana? Because in general there is danger at every step. No one is ever completely safe.
Friend1: In Vrindavana.
Friend2: The asuras coming from Mathura. King Kamsa has been told that his death will be in the form of the eighth child of his sister, Devaki. Krishna is that child and somehow He has escaped to the neighboring town of Gokula, and from there Vrindavana. Kamsa sends one bad character after another to get rid of his agent of death before it can strike.
Friend1: Do you see the contradiction here?
Friend2: In Kamsa? That he thinks he can nullify the Divine will?
Friend1: Not that. Look at Vrindavana. You just said that bhakti flourishes there. Everyone is in the devotional consciousness, correct?
Friend2: Yes. It is said that the results of pious activities and austerities from previous lives gets you birth in Vrindavana at the time of Krishna’s advent.
Friend1: That all makes sense to me. What I don’t understand is how asuras, the bad guys, could arrive there. Why is there danger when in the shelter of Shri Krishna? Aren’t the asuras forgetful of God and His abilities? Isn’t forgetfulness rampant everywhere else in a material existence, but specifically not in a sacred dhama like Vrindavana?
Friend2: Oh, these are good questions. What do you think the answers are?
Friend1: I’m asking you.
Friend2: You used an important word. Forgetfulness. The asuras, though so wicked that they would try to kill an innocent infant, weren’t forgetful of Krishna. Neither was Kamsa. In fact, they were thinking of Devaki’s son twenty-four hours a day. The witch Putana thought of Krishna while quitting her body, which is considered the most auspicious way to die. Arishtasura, Aghasura, Trinavarta and others met the same fortunate end.
Friend1: Is that considered bhakti, though? If devotion flourishes in that sacred place, how can people who are not in the devotional consciousness appear there? How can maya, the illusory energy, take hold?
Friend2: That energy is yogamaya, which Krishna directly supervises. Remember, the residents were in a kind of illusion, too. They didn’t think that Krishna was God. The cowherd boys thought He was their best friend. The gopis thought He was their paramour. The parents thought He was their dependent child. These are different forms of illusion, but since it is yogamaya the effect is positive.
Friend1: The same goes for the asuras, too?
Friend2: A person can only fight with God directly like that if they are a devotee at heart. It is said that such fighting cannot take place in the spiritual world. You won’t find asuras in the Vrindavana in the Vaikuntha realm.
Friend1: Ah, I see. I think I get it now.
Friend2: Remember, it wasn’t just the asuras. Brahma and Indra, two demigods, also became antagonistic against Krishna for a brief period. They were in illusion, too. The idea is that everyone is benefitted appropriately when interacting directly with Bhagavan. As He says in the Bhagavad-gita, He rewards everyone accordingly, to how they surrender to Him.
Asuras to Vrindavana to come,
But having bhakti spirit none.
Still feet set in sacred land,
Though Krishna not to understand.
In reality thinking day and night,
Purposely arranged to display His might.
Rewarded accordingly everyone to interact,
Yogamaya supervising benefits exact.