Translation by Kushakrata Dasa

Shataka One

1. Meditating on the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha-Muralimanohara, placing myself at the dust of Lord Caitanya’s feet, and respectfully offering obeisances to the great devotees of the Lord, who are so many oceans of transcendental virtue. I shall now happily begin to praise the transcendental opulences of Sri Vrindavan.

2. I am not strong enough to go to the far shore of the great nectar ocean of Vrindavan’s glories. Who can go there? However, because I love Vrindavan I will now dip into that ocean. I pray that this endeavour may become successful and bring an auspicious result.

3. O Sri Vrindavan, please reveal in my heart Your wonderful transcendental form full of the most confidential spiritual knowledge and bliss. Embarrassed to describe the highest nectar, the Upanishads only say “not this, not this”. Where are you described.

4, Day and night I glorify Vrindavan, which is filled with the wonder of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna’s pastimes, the wonder of the greatest sweetness, the ultimate nectar of Lord Hari, the sweetest, most beautiful auspiciousness and a flood of virtues Ananta-sesa, Siva, and a host of others cannot cross.

5 Think of Vrindavan with love. Roll in its dust. Love it ardently. Please its moving and non moving residents. Worship Sri Radha’s birthplace. With all your heart take shelter of Sri Vrindavan, the best of all holy places.

6. If the Vedanta does not directly describe Vrindavan, why should that matter to me? If the faulty logicians, who are like serpents living the Vedic literatures, ignore Vrindavan, why should I care? If even the devotees of the Lord do not understand the glories of Vrindavan, how does that affect me? Even if my heart were pierced by thousands of thunderbolts, I would not leave Vrindavan.

7. I meditate on Vrindavan, where the cuckoos sing the fifth note, the flute plays splendid melodies, peacocks sing and dance, vines and trees bloom, splendid and charming forests are wonderful with many birds and deer, and there are many splendid lakes, streams and hills.

8 The transcendental, subtle, expansive Brahman effulgence, which is the secondary cause of material creation, is last. Before it is Vaikuntha, then Dvaraka, then Krishna’s birthplace, Mathura, then Krishna’s Vrindavan, the shelter of the surabhi cows, and first is the place in Vrindavan forest where the gopis enjoyed pastimes, it

9 Radha’s grove, which fills us with wonder and which is the form of the highest purest love, which maddens everyone there, is splendidly manifest.

10. Wonderfully flooded with handsomeness, intelligence, and mutual love, Sri Sri Radha-Krishna, eternally enjoy passionate amorous pastimes in the company of Their friends there.

11 Srila Vrindavan is perfect in every way. blind fools say there are genuine defects there. Oh! Oh! I pray that I may not see these fools at the moment of my death! Are they not the object of everyone’s laughter.

12 After attaining the platform of Brahman happiness by performing severe austerities, the personified Upanishads worshipped the Personality of Godhead without any reservation, and thus obtained His mercy. By the mercy of the Lord they were able to become surabhi cows in the land of vraja and enjoy the direct association of Sri Krishna, and by constantly grazing on the grass of Vrindavan, they become filled with the nectarean taste of the topmost mellows of pure devotional love for the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna.

13 If someone relates to me the faults of one of the moving or non-moving residents of Vrindavan, then how is his action different from cutting me with hundreds of sharpened swords, arrows and other weapons? The residents of Vrindavan are all as dear to the Personality of Godhead as His own life. If one is a little bit inimical to even a blade of grass in Vrindavan, then who will be able to rescue him from the horrible hell that awaits him? When will that rescue occur?

14 May my eyes become overwhelmed with ecstasy by seeing the nectar waves of Vrindavan’s beauty. May my intelligence drown in the nectar ocean of Vrindavan’s glories. May my body become agitated by the swiftly moving currents of ecstatic bliss and thus roll about on the ground of Vrindavan. Falling down like a stick, may I offer my respectful obeisances to all the residents of Vrindavan.

15 May the land of Srila Vrindavan where Subala and the other wonderful cowherd boys, who are all dear friends of Sri Krishna, play, where Lalita and the other splendidly beautiful young gopis, who are all filled with love for Srimati Radharani, enjoy transcendental bliss, and where Sri Sri Radha-Krishna thirst to enjoy wonderful transcendental amorous pastimes day and night, become manifest in my heart.

16 To drink: the freely flowing streams are filled with clear sweet water as nectar. To eat: the dried leaves from the trees are foods as palatable as one could desire. The warm breezes are just as one would have them. To reside: there are clean mountain caves and other suitable residences. Alas! Alas! How unfortunate I would be if I wished to leave Vrindavan!

17 Vrindavan is like the incomparable essence of the ocean of pure love of Krishna, or it is like the sweetest island-bracelet decorating that ocean of love, I pray this land of Vrindavan, which the great sages experience sweet as nectar, give me shelter until the moment I leave this body.

18 I meditate on wonderful Vrindavan, where there are millions of lakes, ponds, and wells, all filled with water as sweet as transcendental nectar, where there are many gardens filled with blossoming transcendental flowers and fruits and unlimited wonderful trees and vines, where there are numberless transcendental deer and other animals who move here and there, and where there are many beautiful transcendental groves.

19. Whose heart would not be enchanted by Vrindavan where Sri Radhika-Madanamohana enjoy many pastimes, where there are many trees and flowering vines, where the ground is paved with jewels, and where the birds, deer and other animals are all maddened with transcendental bliss?

20. I have seen Vrindavan plunged into an ocean of sweetness by the amorous pastimes of two persons more splendid than gold and sapphires and more glorious than millions of Ratis and Kamadevas.

21 The materialists, who are strongly attached to the objects of sense gratification, the ascetics, who cannot tolerate even a glimpse of sense happiness, the earnestly endeavouring yogis, the impersonalists, whose minds are merged in Brahman happiness, and the devotees whose minds have entered the lotus flower of Lord Govinda’s feet, are all enchanted by the transcendental qualities of Sri Vrindavan.

22 If one studies the Upanishads for a long time he will not obtain even an atomic particle of transcendental sweetness as a result of his study. On the other hand, simply by residing in Vrindavan one will become quickly drowned in a great ocean of transcendental nectar. May that supreme abode of Sri Vrindavan become manifest within my heart.

23 When, patiently tolerating hundreds of kicks, millions of insults, and the constant onslaught of hunger, thirst, cold, heat and hundreds of other sufferings, penniless, agitated, shedding a great shower of tears, and calling out the names of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna in a piteous voice, will I wander in this land of Vrindavan?

24 Today or tomorrow this worthless material body will leave me and all the material happiness connected with it will also leave. Because material happiness is temporary, it should be understood to be only a mirage of the real happiness. O my mind, please abandon this false happiness and enjoy the real, eternal happiness of devotional service within the land of Vrindavan.

25. How important are the most powerful earthly kings for us? How important are all the demigods and sages? How important are countless material opulences, which come and go like the scenery in a dream? How important are even the liberated devotees in the spiritual realm of Vaikuntha, for those of us who have made residing in Vrindavan our only goal of life?

26 May Sri Vrindavan, which grants auspiciousness and bliss to all, and which is deeply loved by two or three great souls, become the mother and protectress of blind me.

27 May I love Vrindavan, where at the base of a kadamba tree on the cool shore of the Yamuna a dark complexioned, amorous, divine youth dressed in yellow garments plays a flute as He glances at Radha’s lotus face.

28. What is the use of the highest royal pleasures? What is the use of perfecting the yoga-system and travelling to the upper planets? What is the use of the great variety of material endeavours to attain useless ends? These things are insignificant in comparison to residence in Vrindavan. Simply by living in Vrindavan I will one day hear the sweet sound of Krishna’s flute, which brings the ultimate bliss.

29 My body may be decorated with beautiful garments and ornaments, or it may burn with terrible disease. I may be praised, or defamed with millions of words. I may become the master of all wealth, or I may be reduced to abject poverty. I may be free from all suffering, or I may be a living corpse. Whatever my condition, I shall always take shelter of the transcendental land of Sri Vrindavan, the source of all bliss.

30 You may experience either happiness or distress. You may know fame or infamy. The lowest persons may insult you, or the saintly devotees praise you. You may know poverty or great wealth. You may obtain all valuable things, or you may not obtain anything. Whatever position your past pious or impious deeds may place you in, just make Vrindavan your life and soul.

31 Flee from the witch of female companionship, uproot all desires for material enjoyment, accept whatever destiny provides for your bodily maintenance, and reside in Sri Vrindavan.

32 Don’t do anything! Don’t say anything! Forget everything you’ve seen! Remember the fair and dark divine couple that pains Kamadeva, flee the common people and go to transcendental Vrindavan!

33 He who gives up the company of ordinary people, keeps no servants or followers, agitated with a desire to serve Sri Sri Radha-Krishna, constantly sheds tears, his hands placed on his cheeks and lives in Vrindavan, is the most fortunate of all persons.

34 If you desire to easily get vast wealth, a beautiful wife, good children, a palatial home and the other opulences that don’t come in this world without a struggle, and if you desire krishna-bhakti, which carries liberation in the palm of her hand, then simply reside in the spiritual realm named Vrindavan.

35 O friend, please control your mind and senses and go and live in Vrindavan, which is a mine of nectar, and which is so glorious that even millions of books by the greatest poets and philosophers cannot describe a single ray of light from the host of the jewels of its virtues.

36 All glories to Sri Vrindavan which, with single particle of its glory, which cannot be understood even by Lakshmi, Siva, Brahma, and all the leaders of the demigods, makes numberless kamadhenu cows, kalpa-vrksa trees, and cintamani gems appear insignificant.

37 If Vrindavan, whose great splendour eclipses the shining of millions of suns, moons, fires and lighting flashes, once shines in the heart, then the desire for wealth and a host of material benefits will not enter.

38 May blissful, spiritual, wonderful Vrindavan which with its charming groves where Sri Sri Radhika-Muralimohana enjoy pastimes, milks the ocean of nectar, destroy my sins.

39 May faultless Vrindavan, which transforms sinners into saints, protect me, who stands outside all religious duties, and dry up the multitude of my terrible sins.

40 With great devotion Brahma and the demigods glorify and the Supreme Personality of Godhead nullifies the karma of a glorious person who because of many past pious deeds has obtained Vrindavan as a guest residing in his eyes.

41 When, filled with eternal transcendental bliss, will I reside in Vrindavan, the most exalted moving and non-moving creatures, and the nectar treasury of pure devotional service to Sri-Radhika-ramana?

42 Sri Krishna, whose heart is supremely splendid and magnanimous, eternally resides in the supremely purifying, glorious and limitless land of Vrindavan, capitol city of the most wonderful nectar.

43 They who somehow or other remain up to the moment of death here in Vrindavan, which with its splendour bathes all moving and non-moving creatures in an ocean of bliss, are at the head of all great vaisnavas.

44 May Vrindavan, filled with a host of pure spiritual virtues, and glorified by the greatest sages and philosophers, with her wonderful power and mercy transform sinful animals like me into servants of her feet.

45 Oh, look at Vrindavan, so beautiful with many blissful, splendid groves of kalpa-vrksa trees, with many parrots and other birds intoxicated by singing Vedic hymns glorifying Krishna, with many deer so pleasing to Krishna, with splendid transcendental lakes, ponds and streams, all filled with water sweet as nectar, and with mountains of valuable jewels.

46 Is this the wonder of the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s opulence? Is this the wonderful sweetness of the shoreless nectar ocean of transcendental bliss? Is this the seed of many splendid kalpa-vrksa forests? Is this Vrindavan, the glorious and wonderful transformation of pure love for Krishna?

47 Where do all people automatically and effortlessly obtain pure ecstatic love for Krishna? Where does the Supreme Personality of Godhead manifest His supremely wonderful pastime form? Where is the empire of the bliss o devotional service to Krishna’s lotus feet manifest? O brother, listen I will tell you a secret. All this is present here in Vrindavan.

48 O brother, please reside under the trees of Vrindavan, and from time to time enter the villages to beg alms. Drink as much Yamuna water as you like. Dress in some rejected pieces of cloth. Consider others’ praise of you the most bitter poison, and their disrespect sweet as nectar. Serve Sri Sri Radha-Muralidhara, and never leave this land of Vrindavan.

49 The great Vedic scholars cannot obtain even a glimpse of the wonderful and splendid transcendental essence of the nectarean ocean o the bliss of pure Krishna consciousness. O brother, now that you have entered the difficult to attain land of Vrindavan which fulfils all desires, why have you allowed yourself to come the spell of petty materialism, and why do you allow yourself to constantly roam about with entering the realm of pure love of Krishna?

They who have gone to the farther shore of the Vedas cannot glimpse the wonderful and splendid nectar of the ocean of the Krishna bliss. Oh, now that you have entered difficult to attain Vrindavan, which fulfils all desires, why do you wander about, charmed by the witch of petty desires?

50 Brother, do you know for certain when you will die? Do you think the maha-mantra you will check powerful death? Do you think that death will patiently wait and allow you to die at the time you prescribe? Is it for these reasons that again and again you fearlessly leave Vrindavan?

51 Unaware that Vrindavan bestows the gift of pure devotional service to Lord Govinda’s lotus feet, fools do not aspire to live there. The tormented fools will not dive into the nectar ocean of intense bliss there.

52 Don’t be afraid, thinking it disobedient to the Vedas! Don’t consider the arguments of your elders! Don’t enter the realm of ordinary duties! Don’t run about to maintain your poor family! Don’t become bound by love and compassion! O friend, run to Vrindavan!

53 They who are very unfortunate will not take shelter of Vrindavan, where the wonderfully handsome fair and dark divine couple eternally enjoy amorous pastimes and plunge Their friends into the great nectar of intense bliss.

54 All the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s happiness does not equal an atom of the gopis happiness when their eyes plunge in the ocean of Radha’s lover’s pastimes. if someone aspires to attain this incomparable good fortune, he should let his body perish in the spiritual realm named Vrindavan.

55 All glories to Vrindavan, the place of Krishna’s amorous pastimes which holds a krishna-nectar-treasure the Vedas cannot attain, and which maddens with passion a dark youth that longs for the young gopis merciful glances and has become Radha’s pet deer.

56 I pray that as I reside in Vrindavan I may consider with equal vision severe poverty and great wealth, great happiness and intense suffering, great fame and infamy, a jewel and a clod of earth, and my greatest friend and bitterest enemy.

57 Vrindavan is wonderful. The two sweet fair and dark splendours named Radha and Krishna are wonderful. Pure love for Their lotus feet is wonderful. He who has faith in Them and rises to the spiritual world is wonderful. The rare soul who understands these truths is wonderful.

58 Friend, don’t try to be popular. Treat the senses roughly. Break the love of this world. Don’t be attached to wife, children, friends and relatives. Friend, desiring to stay until the body perishes, reside in Vrindavan.

59 Always hearing and chanting Sri Sri Radha-Madhava’s glories, describing them to others, reflecting on them with your equals, again and again decorating the forest groves, and great love making you ignore the material body. O friend, please reside in Vrindavan.

60 Although the opulences of liberation clutch his feet, he runs to hell. After obtaining a cintamani jewel, he throws it in the ocean. After making the Supreme Personality of Godhead his submissive servant, he becomes the lowest dog. Such is a person who, after attaining Vrindavan, again leaves.

61 I pray that I may engage in the service of the moving and non-moving residents of Vrindavan. What are Brahma and the other demigods in comparison to them? The residents of Vrindavan are more glorious. They are very dear to Vraja’s king . Their forms are eternal, spiritual and full of nectar. Their glories are limitless. They are the root that sprouts into the bliss of the Upanishads.

62 What is this wonderful thing? I don’t know. The crowns of the Vedas lovingly glorify it. Krishna eternally serves it. it is the source of the sweetest nectar of love. Is it a creation of the most wonderful nectar of intense bliss, or is it the purifying land of Vrindavan.

63 If people criticise me, what is that? If I become the poorest of the poor, barely able to eke out a living for my family, what is that? If all calamities befall me, what is that? If I do not serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead, what is that? I will patiently remain in Sri Vrindavan. My greatest desire will be fulfilled.

64 Dressed in a kaupina and kantha, living by eating fruit fallen from the trees, not speaking useless words, not passing the time in useless deeds, abandoning all pride, going to each house to beg a little alms, and following those for whom Sri Radhika is their entire life, I will live in Vrindavan.

65 Thinking of all women as mother, thinking all moving and non-moving living entities worshipable, thinking all material opulences valueless things that wither the face and the heart, not thinking myself the owner of my material body, wife, wealth, and sons and thinking my enemies are friends, may I, even in the greatest suffering, remain always cheerful at heart in the unlimitedly blissful land of Vrindavan.

66 Impersonal liberation is bitter, the objects of the senses shine like a fearful hell, sense pleasures are great flames of virulent poison, all great demigods are insects, and yogic powers are mirages, now that my heart is intoxicated by tasting the sweet nectar of Vrindavan.

67 If you leave Vrindavan, if you leave this forest of kalpa-vrksa trees and go to another forest, if you stop talking about the nectar of Vrindavan and take pleasure in other talks, then, knowingly throwing away the sweetest nectar, you desire to eat dog-stool.

68 Sinful or pious, infamous or famous, wealthy or so poor a morsel of food is hard to get, incomparably dull or a great treasury of knowledge, friend, don’t count these things. Somehow see Vrindavan, and with the help of the words of guru and sastra, cut, cut the ropes of material illusion.

69 To body, home, wife, and possessions don’t uselessly think “I” and “mine”. With help from the guru’s words cut the shackles of illusion. Go at once to Vrindavan, the beginning of the kingdom of bliss. Live there on fruit and other simple food, and always remember the pastimes of Vrindavan’s king.

70 Don’t, don’t harbour illusions about your body, home and everything else! Know that death will thwart all your plans! O friend, run, run! To Sri Vrindavan don’t make your heart harder than a thunderbolt.

71 O fool, give up everything and run to Vrindavan, the kalpa-vrksa grove of pure love for Sri Sri Radhika-Suratanatha! Don’t stay to fulfil your obligations!

72 O sadhu, if you can’t suddenly renounce this dreamlike world, then day and night meditate on Vrindavan. Worship Vrindavan’s king and queen, always chant Their holy names, and always hear Their glories. With food, clothing, and other gifts, serve the residents of Vrindavan.

73 He who has his house, clothing and food in sacred Vrindavan is pious a million times over. he becomes liberated and he liberates others. He who resides in Vrindavan, the spiritual abode of the nectar bliss of pure love, easily attains wonderful love from the beloved of Maharaj Vrsabhanu’s daughter.

74 He who with food, clothing and other gifts, serves Vrindavan’s residents that are penniless, desireless, afraid of materialists company, and plunged into Krishna nectar makes Vrindavan’s king and queen his submissive servants.

75 He who yearns to attain the sweetness of pure love in Vrindavan, but by destiny is forced to live elsewhere, laments and always remembers Vrindavan, beautiful with splendid groves where Sri Sri Radhika-Krishna enjoy pastimes. he meditates on entering Vrindavan and thinks “Now I am serving the divine couple”.

76 To they who, rejecting a thornless kingdom and beautiful women, thinking all material happinesses most bitter and renouncing education, noble birth, wealth, and fame, go to Vrindavan, never to leave, we offer our respectful obeisances.

77 To the supremely fortunate, pious and affectionate persons who live in Vrindavan, which is more blissful than Lord Vishnu’s abode, and who, worshipping Them with prayers and gifts, make Radha and Krishna deeply indebted to them, we offer our respectful obeisances.

78 Friend, when you will die? Do you know? Do not even infants sometimes die unexpectedly? With clear intelligence, without attachment to the body and sense, and without stopping to think, run to Vrindavan.

79 If you desire to attain the supremely sweet, blissful, exalted and opulent mellows of pure love of God, then, not touching the paths of bhakti mixed with piety, speculation and dry renunciation, break the hard shackles of material lie and accept the life of a sannyasi in Vrindavan.

80 O friend, by great good-fortune you have attained this body where you have heard Vrindavan’s wonderful glories and learned that everything in this world is like a dream. Don’t, don’t, don’t put any faith in the mind and body. Run to Vrindavan.

81 O brother, when you close your eyes in death, where will your loving wife, children, brothers, relatives and friend be? Where will your good qualities be? Where will your fame be? Where will your pride, wealth, education, control over others, and other powers and opulences be? O learned and intelligent friend, why do you not renounce these temporary things and run to Vrindavan.

82 Ignoring your crying father, mother, children and other relatives, and not hearing their splendid words, with a very hard heart, quickly see the groves where krishna enjoyed transcendental pastimes.

83 I worship two splendours who are more handsome than millions of Rati-Kamadevas, who have stolen the glory of millions of Lakshmi-Narayanas, whose forms are effulgent as gold and sapphires, and who enjoy pastimes in the forest of Vrindavan.

84 Let us worship the Person more splendid than a blue lotus and sweeter than the nectar handsomeness of all other forms of Godhead, who wanders in a forest filled with nectar from Radha’s feet.

85 Even glorious Lakshmi-devi, who rests on Lord Narayana’s chest, cannot taste the supremely sweet nectar Radha’s maidservants always taste in many ways. O dear friend, please worship Radha in Vrindavan forest.

86 Rejecting the paths of the worms in the poison of sense-gratification and they who think that only they exist, paths that do not attract one to take loving shelter of the supreme Personality of Godhead at the fearful time of death, we aspire for Vrindavan, which is flooded with flowing nectar streams of bliss.

87 Their intelligence stolen by the illusory potency maya, the materialists speak just like madmen. Temporary material benefits, which inevitably carry unwanted sufferings in their wake, they make the goal of their lives. Rejecting all spiritual instructions, they cannot distinguish real happiness from the mirage offered by maya. They are bound with by strong ropes of material affection, and they foolishly act against their own self-interest, as if they were all committing suicide. O abode of Vrindavan when will I flee from these inauspicious people and take shelter of you?

88 I have fallen into the blind well of household-life, and I am being devoured by the black snakes of lust and other faults. o abode of Vrindavan, when will you life me out of this well and acting as a mother, give me shelter on your lap.

89 When. accepting a vow of poverty, and always remaining in a solitary place in Vrindavan, which is worshipped even by the demigods, will I worship the splendid couple, Sri Sri Radhika-Madhava, with great ecstatic love?

90 When will I cheat the wife, children, friends, well-wishers, and other associates that have devastated my spiritual life, and with firm resolve flee to the forest where Lord Hari enjoyed pastimes.

91 I have uselessly spent countless lifetimes agitated with the cares of maintaining my material body, home, family and relatives. Even now that I am supposed to be intelligent, I am still bewildered by such things. O Vrindavan, your holy name is my shelter.

92 “I am a debtor, how can I go to Vrindavan? How can I abandon my aged, helpless parents, my wife, and my children? How can I leave my friends and relatives, who are as dear to me as my own life?” One who speaks these words, even though many respectable persons may praise him, is a fool.

93 I have rejected nectar and knowingly drunk poison. Although I can see well, I have voluntarily tightly bound my eyes and I suffer as a blind man. O Mother Vrindavan, you are my life and soul. Out of affection for me, please drag me from my friends and relatives and place me on your lap.

94 The real goal of my life is to attain the nectar of confidential devotional service to Sri Sri Radhika-Krishna. I shall some day renounce everything and live in Vrindavan. These are the words of feigned renunciation spoken by one addicted to the affairs of household life. The holy abode of Vrindavan will not give shelter to such a person.

95 As Srimati Radharani was reclining on a couch in the pastime-groves of Vrindavan, Her dearmost Sri Krishna noticed His own complexion reflected on her breasts. Thinking this a blue bodice worn by Her, He eagerly tried to remove it and became filled with wonder at His failure. I pray I may someday become one of Radha’s smiling friends staying outside and joking about these pastimes.

96 In Vrindavan I see the black bee of Krishna sometimes land at Radha’s lotus feet, sometimes drink the nectar of Her lotus mouth and sometimes becomes attached to Her lotus-bud breasts.

97 When renouncing all material duties, cutting all ties to the world and entering Vrindavan, without a companion, will I pass my days in talk of Vrindavan’s king?

98 When, having cut the chains of feigned affection and, not seeing the slightest trace in my heart of the arrow loved by the learned followers of the Vedic path, will I overcome with excitement, take shelter of Vrindavan?

99 Although I yearn for the feet of Vrindavan’s king, although I hear and chant His glories, and although I know how to stop all that might stop me, alas, I do not take shelter of Vrindavan. How pathetic I am!