Sri Gopala-virudavali: Calling Out to Lord Gopala (By Srila Jiva Goswami)
Translated by Sriman Kusakratha dasa
May this poem, Gopala-virudavali, become like a garden of desire-creepers to give pleasure to Lord Gopala.
If Brahma, Brahma’s sons, Siva, all the splendid devotees of the goddess of fortune’s husband, the personified Vedas, and all the residents of the material universes and the spiritual Vaikuntha worlds, are singing the Vrndavana pastimes of the killer of Agha without their lips ever becoming tired, then why do I now write these words in verse and prose?
Although this poem is just like the mediocre poetry of many other foolish, greedy authors, proud of thinking themselves learned poets, I shamelessly continue to write.
O Lord whose pastimes please Your devotees, O Lord whose descent to the Earth has created spiritual narrations everywhere, O Lord whose virtues have no equal or superior, O Lord whose splendour defeats the splendour of a host of sapphires, O Lord dressed in a splendid golden dhoti, O Lord whose transcendental qualities delight the ear, O Lord decorated with colourful jewels, O Lord whose victory over the demons delights your friends, O Lord whose glories fulfill the world’s desires, O Lord whose names, when even briefly glorified, bring great pleasure, O Lord whose sweet flute music enchants all moving and non-moving living entities, O glistening nectar moon risen from the ocean of Your father and glorified by a great family, O Lord who liberated those who deserve a terrible hell, O splendid sun whose face delights the eyes, O Lord who filled this world with pleasure and then returned to Your own abode, O Lord who joked with playful words of rebuke, O Lord who sits, as if bound, in the hearts of the faithful, O Lord fragrant with kindness to the devotees, O Lord whose smile protects those filled with terrible fears, O Lord whose eyes are glorified in hundreds and hundreds of books, all glories to You!
May my heart rest on He who is the crown of all handsome men, whose splendour defeats the king of sapphires, who has a host of glorious virtues, who is the king of all opulences, whose power is limitless, who checks the demons’ pride, whose pastimes please everyone, and who is fond of the flute.
O shelter of Vrndavana, O auspiciousness of Vrndavana, O Lord whose nectar glances are drunk by the people of Vrndavana!
O Lord, as You enter Vrndavana, you come with the cows and boys to a place where all can see You. The people gaze at You at every moment.
O Lord who pleased Your affectionate relatives, O Lord who celebrated Your birthday with a party like those in Svargaloka, O Lord to whom visitors gave many gifts, O Lord who delighted the happy and prosperous king of Vraja, O Lord who made the demoness Putana a follower of Your mother, O Lord whose soft feet overturned the cart, O Lord whose transcendental names were revealed by Garga Acarya, O Lord who easily killed the menacing Madhu demon, O Lord eager to purchase some fruit with the golden coins of Your broken words, O Lord who day after day filled eloquent Sukadeva Gosvami with bliss, O Lord who enjoys many wonderful pastimes with Your friends, O Lord embraced by smiling Balarama and Your devotees, O Lord who tried to solve the mystery of the wandering calves’ disappearance, O Lord who to keep the peace returned home with calves that were only a magical illusion, O Lord who made a new stream of happiness flow from the theft of the boys and calves, O Lord who, personally becoming the calves, bested Brahma in the contest of strength, O Lord whose waist Your mother bound with a long rope, O Lord who rescued Nalakuvara and Manigriva from the the fate of being trees, O Lord who enjoys pastimes without ever becoming tired, O Lord who wanders in the forest with Your friends,
Because Your birth created a birth of happiness, Your opulence opulence, and Your pastimes pastimes, and because Vraja became plunged in a rising ocean of nectar, intense hope now rises in this old man.
O Lord who lives in glorious, splendid, ever-new Vraja, O Lord who without embarrassment plays and jokes with countless friends in the forest named Vrndavana, O Lord whose pastimes are happy and auspicious,
O form of bliss, beautiful Govardhana, Vrndavana, and the sandy banks of the Yamuna which all gave great pleasure to You, bring us under their spell.
O Lord who plays with the calves, O Lord who killed Vatsasura, O Lord who, swallowed by Baka forced Him to spit You out,
It is not wonderful that You quickly pushed into the void the demon Vyomasura, who pretended to join the boys’ game of stealing lambs, or that when Aghasura swallowed You and everyone else, You made him pure and sinless, although these were a great wonder for Dama and Your other friends. May my mind be always fixed on these pastimes.
O Lord who, when Brahma stole the cowherd boys, tricked him and bewildered his intelligence, O Lord whose thoughts are filled with mercy, O lord who attracts Your followers,
Even though Brahma, displaying his illusory potency, stole away Your Vraja-friends, still, You gave him Vraja-bhakti and You were filled with mercy and forgiveness for him.
O Lord, holding the flute, and covered by the dust raised by Your cows, Your walking defeats the graceful movements of the elephant.
“O Lord who went to the serpent’s lake, O Lord who wished to destroy the poison, O Lord who dove into the water, O Lord who, fighting with the king of serpents, broke his strength and danced on him, please bewilder him, please place him in distress.” This was the sages’ prayer.
Day after day herding Your cows, You please all the forest-goddesses. O Lotus-eyed Lord, crushing Kaliya’s head with the violence of Your dancing, You made the Yamuna free of poison.
O Lord who plays with the cowherd boys, who meets with Your friends, who playfully fights with them, who easily defeats the demons, who went to the serpent’s lake, who became happy when the poison was gone, You shine with great splendour. O Lord whose dancing weighed heavily on the serpent’s hundreds of splendidly jewelled hoods, who exiled the dangerous, sinful snake and his followers, who thus made the lake beautiful, who is splendidly powerful, free of all cares, who rests in Your own home, and who gently smiles, please appear before me.
O Lord who extinguished the poison fire in the water, who extinguished the forest fire on the land, and who, having extinguished both fires, returned to Vraja and with a glance created a great shower of nectar, I worship You.
O source of auspiciousness, happiness, and protection for Vrndavana’s cows, all glories to You!
Protecting the cows, playing, delighting Your friends, killing Dhenukasura, gradually becoming full of lustre, increasing the glory of Your youth with the splendour of Your face and limbs in Your sixth year, and delighting the eyes of the beautiful-eyed gopis, You are very happy.
O Lord who dances with Your friends, O wrestler, O Lord more splendid than bilvas and other fruits, O Lord who would playfully imitate the cows and run like the horses, O Lord who would jump without any inhibition, O Lord who killed the demon who kidnapped Your elder brother, O Lord who mercifully drank up the great forest-fire.
O Lord, Your pastimes with Your friends, which seem bound with rivalry, and in the midst of which You swallowed a forest-fire, are only for their pleasure.
O Lord charming as spring, O Lord pleasant as summer, O Lord splendid as the monsoon season, O Lord with the limitless playfulness of autumn, O Lord with the wonderful handsomeness of winter!
O Lord whose splendid, sweet music makes the living entities wild with bliss!
“O Lord, again and again manifesting the glorious music of Your flute, with Your extraordinary transcendental teachings You make the conscious and unconscious tremble with love.” Ah! These were the gopis’ words.
O Lord who stopped the sacrifice for Indra, O Lord decorated for the splendid sacrifice for Govardhana Hill, O Lord whose form is graceful, O Lord who delights Your friends, O Lord who circumambulated the hill, O Lord who made Your people offer respect to the hill, O Lord who appeared as the hill, O splendid, handsome Lord, O Lord whose splendid handsomeness broke crooked-hearted Indra, O Lord who lifted the tall hill, O Lord who neutralised the rainclouds’ poison, O Lord who was kind to Indra, O Lord whom the demigods crowned king with a coronation bath,
May He who, speaking to his father and others, rejected the Indra-yajna as opposed to the Vedic scriptures, stopped the yajna and, seeing rain bringing great suffering, placed a hill on the tip of His hand and became the shelter of Vraja’s people, protect us.
O Lord crowned by the surabhi cow in a coronation-bathing ceremony, O Lord to whom Your offensive adversary surrendered with life and soul,
You were then bathed by the demigod kings, Your transcendental position become perfectly manifest, and everyone’s heart became anointed with love and joy.
O Lord who mercifully protected Your father when he was kidnapped by Varuna, O Lord worshipped because You expertly protect the devotees!
O Lord who returned with Your father, O Lord who dispelled Your father’s illusion, O Lord whose eyes are the abode of transcendental glory, O maintainer of the maintainers of the universe, O Lord whose graceful lotus feet delight everyone!
I take shelter of He whose eyes are red lotus flowers, who rescued His father from Varuna, and who showed to His people His own abode
O Lord who, as time gradually turned into the hemanta season, stole the gopis’ garments and was pleased by their prayers,
O Lord who, as it gradually became winter was decorated with a great garland of delightful blossoming flowers reaching from Your auspicious cheeks to Your waist, to Your lotus feet, and filled with bumblebees, O Lord who with strength greater and more splendid than the untouchable sun protects the people of Vraja,
O Lord who paints pictures with Your friends, O Lord who happily plays with them in a great banana tree,
O Lord whose handsome eyes and smile defeat jasmine flowers, O Lord who intelligently killed the demons disguised as devotees, and made them flee Your transcendental power, O Lord who, drinking a great forest fire, protected Your frightened friends,
O Lord whose voice is the thunder of monsoon clouds, O Lord who in a wonderful moment glanced at the beautiful forest, which was like a dancing arena, O Lord whose desires were aroused by the splendour of autumn, which made the land glisten with thousands of lakes, O Lord who forgot Your home, O Lord who enjoyed a festival with Your friends, O Lord who played a flute as Your cows rested,
The arrogance of Your flute attracts airplanes from far away. Your sweetness stuns the demigoddesses and makes them fall from their airplanes.
O Lord who went on a pilgrimage to Ambikavana, O auspicious and opulent Lord, O Lord who enjoys limitless pastimes, O Lord glorious when You saved Your father from being swallowed by a serpent, O Lord who celebrated the Holi festival with the gopis, although You were destined to be separated from them, O Lord who, when Sankhacuda interrupted Your pastimes, distressed the gopis and fled, took his conch-shaped jewel and destroyed his sins,
O Lord who was very happy to herd the cows, O Lord whose pastimes of music and dancing delighted the beautiful gopis, O Lord who is the greatest in all respects, O Lord who killed the fearful bull Arista, who was repeatedly attacking everyone, O Lord the description of whose glorious pastimes brings great transcendental pleasure,
After bringing a great calamity to Arista, He became pleased to see the prosperity of His happy relatives. He is glorified as He travels the Earth. All glories to Him!
May Lord Krsna, who is famous for killing the demons, who killed Kamsa, who is the destiny that kills repeated birth and death for the intelligent, who is an ocean of the splendour of transcendental glory, whose footprints in Vraja Brahma and the demigods yearn to attain, who was born in a family of His own devotees, and who is fond of the flute, appear before us.