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Feeling Freely

~by Pranada Comtois

Yasoda looked at Krsna, who had the complexion of a delicate blue sapphire. All her senses became eyes to worship his exquisite form of abundant sweetness. She became stunned, ecstasy surged throughout her body, and affectionate tears streamed down her face. 

On hearing of Krsna’s birth, Nanda jubilantly dashed from the cowshed toward the birth room. Rohini greeted him at Yasoda’s door. When he saw Krsna’s face – with large eyes sweeping toward his ears, with his cherry red lips, button nose, and perfect ears – Nanda became motionless, filled with the intoxicating presence of supreme bliss incarnate. Rohini waited for Nanda to come back to his senses, then had him sit down, and gently placed Krsna on his lap. Nanda tenderly held his son like a priceless jewel, tasting the beauty of his form, drinking the pleasing nectar of his face, smelling the fragrance of his head with its black curly locks. The affection Nanda had for his son and his bliss astonished everyone present.

Word of Krsna’s birth and his parent’s unprecedented happiness spread rapidly in Gokula. Women, who had abandoned their jewelry in grief because Yasoda had been childless for so long, now adorned themselves with their finest pieces and hurried toward the new mother. Many of them converged on the road, laughing and sharing exclamations of wonder as they left a trail of fragrant flowers that fell from their decorated dancing braids. And the men came too, rushing forward. All of them vibrant with spontaneous love for precious Krsna, their very life.

Everyone filled their eyes with delight by lifting the blanket on Krsna and touching him while smiling. One, two, four, or eight people, alone or in pairs, in groups or many groups, youths and elders entered the house to see baby Krsna. 

They joined together in Nanda’s courtyard and sprinkled each other with ghee, yogurt, and turmeric. They danced and sang with joyous abandon. Soon they began exuberantly showering each other with milk. Then some men threw other men into large pots of yogurt and everyone laughed heartily overcome with ecstasy in welcoming Krsna. 

Hearing of this unrestricted merriment and abundant jubilation, I submerged in their broad, boundless joy and was seized with a desire to know Krsna; to love Krsna. I marveled at the cowherds’ liberal emotions. I wanted to freely feel, safely feel like that. Mostly I’m afraid of my feelings; they’ve gotten me into lots of trouble. And attachment to matter is not only the cause of my bondage, but it’s agonizing.

I felt a twinge of envy. The residents of  Vraja are able to safely feel, I thought. They’re able to fully express emotions without concern that their attachment–their all-consuming, mind-numbing attachment–will drag them into the separateness of dark self-interest and samsara. I was possessed of a desire to feel freely and drown in the joy of that pure love. 

To feel freely, to feel safely, to feel truly, we must consciously choose our object of love. We require a perfect object of love. 

We know what happens when we don’t love the Supreme Person. Our love never flames into a blaze or it withers on the vine before it blooms its delicacy or we’re betrayed or abused or neglected or left. To experience that giving is receiving we must repose our love in Krsna, the perfect object of love.  

This is the thing. Krsna wants our very self. Everything. Krsna loves much; he exists to love and immerses himself completely in loving relationships. He gives himself fully to those who love him. Giving to Krsna is always receiving because he gives more than we have to offer him. Just looking at him sends intense waves of ecstasy throughout the devotee’s body. Imagine the ecstasy of having daily exchanges of love with such a person! But to have his love, to own him in love, we have to give everything. Our very self. Nothing held back. He is all in; he expects the same of us. We must come to this: I will love unbridled; I will love Krsna unrestrained without selfish motivation, without interruption.

And “that’s the rub.” We look at attractive Krsna and say, “I’m not so sure.” (We’re probably not thinking clearly about what Death will allow us to hold onto.)

And life looks at us and says, “Let me help you with that.” And proceeds to nip at us here, tear at us there, wear on us under here, saw on us over there. 

And our loves look at us and say, “I’m not so sure,” and heartbroken we look for the next love.

These negative impetuses can impel us toward pure love of Krsna–if we simultaneously engage in the Bhakti practice of keeping company with those who are developing their love for Krsna, and we allow Krsna to take birth in our hearts by hearing about, reading about, speaking about, and singing about Krsna, who is an ocean of unlimited good qualities, who is the very form of truth and beauty, who is the supreme lover, who is our undying friend, who is happy in giving joy to others, who weaves his overture as the charming flute-player – who is waiting for us. 

Pranada Comtois is a devoted pilgrim and award-winning author of Wise-Love: Bhakti and the Search for the Soul of Consciousness. Her writing sheds light on bhakti’s wisdom school of heartfulness. At sixteen she met her teacher A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami and began her lifelong study and practice of bhakti. Her writing has appeared in numerous online and print publications and she is a featured speaker in the film “Women of Bhakti.” Her second book, Bhakti-Shakti: The Goddess of Divine Love is due out in 2022 through Mandala Publishing. Connect with Pranada here.