“The elderly persons like Nanda Maharaja and Yashodadevi, the friends like Shridama, Sudama and the other cowherd boys, the gopis like Shrimati Radharani and Her associates, and even the birds, beasts, cows and calves are attracted. The flowers and fruits in the gardens are attracted, the waves of the Yamuna are attracted, and the land, sky, trees, plants, animals and all other living beings are attracted by Krishna. This is the natural situation of everything in Vrindavana.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 7.5.14 Purport)
Though the reference is for the specific Vrindavana of the spiritual world, in the Vaikuntha realm, it is said that the place in the manifest world is actually the same. The subtle distinction is that the proper set of eyes is needed to detect the situation. There is the butter thief roaming about, having a rendezvous in the night with the people who love Him in the most intimate way, dancing under the brightest moon of the year.
There is basic commerce taking place in the trade of milk and milk products, in the protection of the cows, and in the growing of food. It is the most natural atmosphere, though seemingly on the verge of increased pollution through the construction of modern technology.
The situation in manifest Vrindavana accurately depicts the attitude found within each of us. Prahlada Maharaja tried to explain this to the teachers working for the royal family, but they would not understand. Vrindavana shows the proper way through the spontaneous attraction exhibited by the residents.
1. Nanda and Yashoda’s attraction
They do not understand that their child is the Supreme Lord Himself. Shri Krishna is so endearing that everyone rushes to His service. Even when He is up to no good and requires mild punishment, there is love at the foundation. Yashoda spends a significant amount of time with Him during each day in the early years, and she cannot think of anyone else.
Yashoda’s husband Nanda is the same way, though as the leader of the farm community of Gokula the daily responsibilities take him away from home during the day. He playfully asks Krishna to fetch the slippers. Yashoda and her friends ask Krishna to dance for them. Though they are not consciously aware of His Divine status, their attraction to Him is the embodiment of pure devotion.
2. The attraction of the cowherd boys
Imagine that your best friend lives around the corner. There is no harm from stating your preference. That is to say if you want to play with them on a given day, there is no reason to be shy. This friend would never reject you. Even though he has so many other friends with a similar attitude, there is no jealousy.
The cowherd boys behave this way with Krishna. Nanda gives the son the important task of tending to the calves. Krishna and His elder brother Balarama depart for the fields every day, taking their friends with them. Each friend has a unique relationship with Krishna. One takes pleasure in eating the tastiest sweets. Another prefers to mock-fight in a competition with spoils for the victor. One friend is eager to massage Krishna after the jewel of Vrindavana becomes fatigued from playing.
3. The attraction of the gopis
Shrimati Radharani and her friends have work to do during the day, but they always think of Krishna.
“When will the next meeting occur? Does He remember us? Does He think of us the way we think of Him?”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu declared the love exhibited by the gopis of Vrindavana to be the topmost service in transcendental life. No one can surpass them, and Krishna openly admits that there is no way for Him to repay the kindness and affection they show for Him.
4. The attraction of the birds, beasts, cows and calves
The branches on the trees lean downwards as a way to pay obeisance. The parrots follow along and repeat what they have witnessed to others. The cows love Krishna so much that they produce milk immediately upon sight, as if He were their child. The calves are under Krishna’s protection, who is thus rightfully referred to as Govinda.
5. The attraction of the fruits and flowers
Krishna is beautifully adorned. The all-attractive one has such an effect that the ornaments actually increase in attractiveness instead of the other way around. He wears a garland of flowers, who get rewarded for their attraction by staying close to the Supreme Lord’s body. The bees use the excuse of the flowers to hover around Yashoda’s son, creating a buzzing sound pleasing to the ears.
Fruits get their desires satisfied through the conduit of the vendor lady visiting from home to home. She fills Krishna’s lotus-like hands with fruits, and He rewards her with a basket full of the most valuable jewels; despite the fact that she doesn’t intentionally seek reciprocation.
As explained in the Bhagavad-gita, everyone follows Krishna in all respects. The reward is according to the degree of surrender. Hiranyakashipu and others like him only appreciate the shadow copy, the material energy. The rewards on that side are temporary, and negative conditions accompany, such as constant worry and fear over the future.
Prahlada was totally surrendered, and he was rewarded with continued devotion, enduring the toughest tests, both physical and emotional. Despite being so materially powerful, Hiranyakashipu’s reign did not last; making it clear that the side of devotion is superior.
Not explicit instruction required,
By devotion itself inspired.
The natural situation so,
That thoughts always to go.
Towards Nanda and Yashoda’s son,
Like with friends in fields to run.
Gopis under bright moonlight to meet,
And bees sound on flower garland sweet.