The Nectar of Devotion – CHAPTER THIRTY – ALERTNESS

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A devotee once stated, “I have already conquered the mode of ignorance, and I am now on the platform of transcendental knowledge. Therefore I shall be engaged only in searching after the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” This is an instance of alertness in ecstatic love. Transcendental alertness is possible when the illusory condition is completely overcome. At that stage, when in contact with any reaction of material elements, such as sound, smell, touch or taste, the devotee realizes the transcendental presence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In this condition the ecstatic symptoms (e.g., standing of the hair on the body, rolling of the eyeballs and getting up from sleep) are persistently visible.

When Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī first saw Kṛṣṇa, She suddenly became conscious of all transcendental happiness, and the functions of Her different limbs were stunned. When Lalitā, Her constant companion, whispered into Her ear the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, Rādhārāṇī immediately opened Her eyes wide. This is an instance of alertness caused by hearing the sound of Kṛṣṇa’s name.

One day, in a joking mood, Kṛṣṇa informed Rādhārāṇī, “My dear Rādhārāṇī, I am going to give up Your company.” Upon saying this, He immediately disappeared, and because of this Rādhārāṇī became so afflicted that the hue of Her body changed and She immediately fell down upon the ground of Vṛndāvana. She had practically stopped breathing, but when She smelled the flavor of the flowers on the ground, She awoke in ecstasy and got up. This is an instance of transcendental alertness caused by smelling.

When Kṛṣṇa was touching the body of one gopī, the gopī addressed her companion thus: “My dear friend, whose hand is this touching my body? I had become very afraid after seeing the dark forest on the bank of the Yamunā, but suddenly the touch of this hand has saved me from hysterical fits.” This is an instance of alertness caused by touching.

One of the gopīs informed Kṛṣṇa, “My dear Kṛṣṇa, when You disappeared from the arena of the rāsa dance, our most dear friend, Rādhārāṇī, immediately fell on the ground and lost consciousness. But after this, when I offered Her some of Your chewed betel nut remnants, She immediately returned to consciousness with jubilant symptoms in Her body.” This is an instance of alertness caused by tasting.

One night Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī was talking in a dream. “My dear Kṛṣṇa,” She said, “please do not play any more jokes on Me! Please stop! And please don’t touch My garments either. Otherwise I shall inform the elderly persons, and I shall disclose all of Your naughty behavior.” While She was talking like this in a dream, She suddenly awoke and saw some of Her superiors standing before Her. Thus Rādhārāṇī became ashamed and bowed Her head. This is an instance of alertness after awakening from sleep.

There is another instance of this. A messenger from Kṛṣṇa came to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī while She was sleeping, and Rādhārāṇī immediately awakened. Similarly, when Kṛṣṇa began to blow on His flute in the night, all of the gopīs, the beautiful daughters of the cowherd men, immediately got up from their sleep. There is a very beautiful comparison made in this connection: “The lotus flower is sometimes surrounded by white swans, and sometimes it is surrounded by black wasps who are collecting its honey. When there is a thundering in the sky, the swans go away, but the black wasps stay to enjoy the lotus flowers.” The gopīs’ sleeping condition is compared to the white swans, and the sound of Kṛṣṇa’s flute is compared to a black wasp. When Kṛṣṇa’s flute sounded, the white swans, which represent the sleeping condition of the gopīs, were immediately vanquished, and the black wasp sound of the flute began to enjoy the lotus flower of the gopīs’ beauty.

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