... that Krsna should not neglect the plight of His helpless elderly parents. ... They all live in terror of Kamsa, and so also do the demigods, brāhmanas, ...
Author: Gopiparanadhana Dasa
Publisher: The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust
The hero’s quest for the extraordinary – an ever-recurring theme in literature – reflects the urge of every heart at its noblest to discover the full possibilities of life. Anyone dissatisfied with the scant potential of mundane existence is naturally stimulated by the prospect of finding, even vicariously, a world of greater liberty. There should be some better place for the soul. Why should happiness be so elusive, and why should confusion and resentment always shroud the mind’s eye, making it unable to see clearly what is in front of it? Srila Sanatana Gosvami’s Brhad-bhagavatamrta, written in Sanskrit nearly five hundred years ago, is a gemlike example of the quest genre, but different from the sort commonly encountered in fable and fiction. Narada and Gopa-kumara, the respective heroes of this book’s two parts, are searching for a key to fulfillment much subtler than wealth, influence, mundane love, the Fountain of Youth, or even the Holy Grail. Narada has vast experience of the cosmos; Gopa-kumara is illiterate and naive; yet they share the same vision of what is most valuable. What both want is not to conquer or exploit on any level, but to explore the mystery of selfless service. As Narada already knows, and Gopa-kumara will gradually learn, the superior mode of life they seek is personal and defined by the interplay of those who take part in it, rather than by material laws of nature. In Part Two of Sri Brhad-Bhagavatamrta, the book’s hero, Gopa-kumara, an illiterate, naive cowherd living near Govardhana Hill in Vrindavan, is inspired by a mysterious bhakta to start on a spiritual quest. His journey takes him in this volume all the way from his home to Vaikuntha-Ayodhya, and from sraddha to almost-perfect prema. Gopa-kumara’s adventure is different from the hero’s journeys we read about in less spiritual literature, because he explores the material universe not with his sights set on mundane wealth or power or romance but the sweetness of confidential, selfless, devotional service to his dearest Lord and friend, Sri Krishna. It is this focus that takes him beyond all temporal dimensions into the spiritual world beyond.