The holy festival of Gopashtami is celebrated every year on the Ashtami Tithi (eighth day) of Shukla Paksha (rising moon phase) in the Hindu calendar month of Kārtik. This is the day when Lord Krishna took his cows and calves for Gochāran (grazing) for the first time. The scriptures also mention that once Indra got furious with the people of Braj and punished them by showering heavy rains. To save the people of Braj, Lord Krishna lifted the Govardhan Mountain on his little finger. This divine incident is famously known as Govardhan Leela and Lord Krishna got a new name of Govardhandhari or Giridhari (lifter of the mountain). Shree Krishna lifted Govardhan for seven and on the eighth day, Indra realized his fault and went to seek forgiveness from Lord Krishna. At that time the sacred cow Surbhi showered milk on Indra and declared Shree Krishna as Govinda who is meant to be the Lord of cows. Shree Krishna is also called Gopala which means one who looks after cows.
From then Gopashtami is celebrated and holds great importance for the devotees of Lord Krishna. When one thinks of Shree Krishna, the image of Him with cows immediately comes into one’s mind. Rasik saints have written numerous poems on the Gochāran Leela. Here we present a Pada by Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj where he is describing the divine scene of Shree Krishna returning home after the whole day of Gochāran.
धूसरि धूरि भरे हरि आवत ।
dhūsarī dhūrī bhare hari āvata
मोर मुकुट कटि कछनी काछे, मुरली मधुर बजावत ।
mora mukuta kati kachhanī kāchhe, muralī madhura bajavata
धुनि सुनि वेनु सबै ब्रजबनिता, देखन को जुरि धावत ।
dhuni suni venu sabai braja banitā, dekhana ko juri dhāvata
काँधे लकुटि कामरी कारी, लट उरझी मन भावत ।
kāmmdhe lakuti kāmarī kārī, laṭa urajhī mana bhāvata
वत्स-प्रेम रस पूरि सुरभि थन, मेदिनि क्षीर चुवावत ।
vatsa-prema rasa pūri surabhi thana, medini kṣhira chuvavata
सो ‘कृपालु’ झाँकी झाँकन हित, शंभु समाधि भुलावत ॥
so ‘kripalu’ jhāmmki jhāmmkana hita, shambhu samādhi bhulavata
Shree Krishna is returning home after grazing the cows, His whole body is covered in the dust raised by the cow’s hooves. He has a beautiful crown with a peacock feather in it on His head, a kachhanī (a red piece of cloth) is tied around His hips and He is playing melodious tunes on His flute. Hearing the sound of His flute, all the Gopis have come running to see Him. There is a staff and black blanket on His shoulders. His tangled curly locks enchant the mind. The cows are so filled with affection for Krishna that milk is automatically flowing from their udders.
Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj says, “So enchanting is this scene, that Lord Shankara abandons his divine trance in the Impersonal Brahm, in order to get a glimpse of it.”
Liston to the beautiful pad rendered by Swami Mukundananda.
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