With great longing I praise Vraja’s
all-blissful grass, bushes, worms and insects,
whose fortune is desired for by Brahmā, Uddhava and others,
whose glories are repeatedly and clearly established
by scriptures like Śrīmad Bhāgavata,
who are very dear to Mukunda and who assist Krishna in his pastimes.
sarvānanda-mayaṁ mukunda-dayitaṁ līlānukūlaṁ param
śāstrair eva muhur muhuḥ sphuṭam idaṁ niṣṭaṅkitaṁ yācñayā
brahmāder api sa-spṛheṇa tad idaṁ sarvaṁ mayā vandyate
Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā : Desiring to see and personally serve Sri Sri Radha Madhava, Raghunath Das Goswami praises Vraja’s grass, bushes, worms and insects in this verse, who are all very dear to Mukunda and who assist Krishna in his pastimes.
Although they appear like insignificant blades of grass, bushes, worms and insects to the external eyes, they are not like the grass, bushes, worms and insects of this material world, who have taken such a low and fallen birth among the 8.4 million species of life due to sinful acts in previous lives. No, they are favorable assistants to the pastimes of Sri Radha and Krishna!
They are also required for their pastimes, just like the divine abode and the divine companions. Hence, they are also divine companions in these transcendental pastimes, and are dearly beloved by Mukunda. They are so fortunate to relish the sweetness of Mukunda’s smile, which is white as the kunda flower, as he jokes with Priyājī and her sakhīs during his vana-vihāra, and they are blessed to relish his ever-so-sweet form, qualities and pastimes and to be touched by his hands and feet.
Some people may think: “The blades of grass, bushes, worms and insects that were present during Sri Sri Radha and Krishna’s prakaṭa-līlā may have been the eternal companions of the Lord, but the blades of grass, bushes, worms and insects that are present now during the aprakaṭa-līlā did indeed attain such wretched bodies due to their sinful activities in the past.”
No, it is not like that! The scriptures and the great souls see it like this: What is visible of the holy dhāma during the aprakaṭa-līlā may be transcendental, but out of mercy upon the living entities in this world it accepts both the form and nature of the material planet earth. If not, then persons like us, who are bound to our worldly activities (karma) would never be able to see this transcendental abode or to reside there. Therefore, just as the holy dhāma is transcendental although it assumes a material form, similarly who knows which great, offenseless souls have taken birth in Vraja as blades of grass, bushes, worms and insects to live there and to relish the aprakaṭa or nitya-līlās there?
The acharyas say: Persons who commit the offense of considering these creatures ordinary will not experience any result from their bhajan or from even an extensive stay in the dhāma — which can bestow prema on the offenseless aspirant who stays there for only one night. Therefore the offenseless person who considers all the blades of grass, bushes, worms and insects that reside in the dhāma to be transcendental will make his stay there a success by attaining prema. This is the experienced conclusion of the wise and learned.
Raghunath Das Goswami says: “Knowing these glories, great learned sages like Lord Brahmā and Uddhava have desired to take birth in Vraja as blades of grass, bushes, worms and insects” (śāstrair eva muhur muhuḥ sphuṭam idaṁ niṣṭaṅkitaṁ yācñayā brahmāder api ). This is found in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, which contains the essence of the whole Vedānta. In our commentary on verse 100, wherein Brahmā’s prayer is cited from the Bhāgavata–tad bhūri bhāgyam iha janma kim apyaṭavyām and its Toṣanī commentary. Sri Uddhava Mahāśaya has made a similar prayer:
āsām aho caraṇa-reṇu-juṣām ahaṁ syāṁ
vṛndāvane kim api gulma latauṣadhīnām
yā dustyajaṁ svajanam arya-pathaṁ ca hitvā
bhejur mukunda-padavīṁ śrutibhir vimṛgyām
“Aho! I have an impossible dream! All the different bushes, vines and herbs of Sri Vrindavan are most fortunate and blessed, for they can easily hold the footdust of the Vrajasundarīs on their heads! If I could attain the birth of any of these bushes, vines and herbs then I can also become blessed with the footdust of the Vraja-gopīs, that have given up the path of morality and family-virtues, that is so hard to give up, to eagerly and thirstily worship the lotus feet of Mukunda. Such a position is coveted, but not attained, even by the Vedas!” (Śrīmad Bhāgavata 10.47.61)
In this way Lord Brahmā and Uddhava pray for birth in Vraja as a blade of grass or a bush, and all of their words have been clearly mentioned by scriptures such as Śrīmad Bhāgavata, which is the essence of the Vedānta. Raghunath Das Goswami says: “Full of longing I praise the all-blissful blades of grass, bushes, worms and insects of Vraja.”
brahmā uddhavādi yādera saubhāgya kāmanā | nirantara kore sadā koriyā vandanā
vṛndāvane kim api gulma latauṣadhīnām | bhāgavata śāstre āche yāhāra pramāṇa
vraje yoto tṛṇa gulma kīṭa pataṅgādi | kṛṣṇa līlāra anukūla sadā līlā sāthī
kṛṣṇa priya hoy tārā sarvānanda maya | vraja yoto tṛṇa gulma kīṭādi nicaya
sa-spṛhe vandanā kori tāṅdera sakale | vāñchā-pūrti hoy yāṅhādera kṛpā-bole
“Full of longing I always praise all the blissful blades of grass, bushes, worms and other creatures of Vraja, that are so dear to Krishna, who favorably assist him in his pastimes as his companions and whose fortunate has been coveted by Brahmā, Uddhava and others, as has been proven in the Bhāgavata-verse vṛndāvane kim api gulma-latauṣadhīnām. On the strength of their grace I will have all my desires fulfilled!”
Commentary of Sri Radha Kund Mahant, Pandit Sri Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj is named Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā (a drop of the nectar of Stavāvalī), and was published in Gaurābda 503 (1989 A.D.) from Sri Krishna Chaitanya Shastra Mandir, Vrajananda Ghera, PO Radhakunda (district Mathura), U.P., India.
Devotional songs in Bengali that follow each commentary were composed by Dr. Haripada Sheel.
© Translated by Advaita dāsa in 1994
More of Ananta Das Pandit’s writings in English translation can be found at Tarun Govinda’s blog, Amrita Tarangini.