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Light of the Bhagavata
(A commentated translation of the twentieth chapter of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam's Tenth Canto)
Verse 1: The arrival of clouds, accompanied by thunder and flashes of lightning all over the sky, provides a picture of life-giving hope. Covered by deep bluish clouds, the sky appears artificially dressed. The thunder and lightning within the clouds are signs of hope for a new way of life.
Verse 2: The scorching heat of the sun evaporates water from the seas, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs, and there is little water anywhere. The people become thirsty and always look overhead for rain, but in despair. Yet just at the right moment, torrents of rain begin to fall everywhere in the land, even on the hard stones, and the land becomes overflooded.
Verse 3: Attracted by electricity throughout the sky and driven by forceful winds, clouds gradually cover the surface of the earth to satisfy the needy people by supplying water, which is the substance of their life. The clouds bestow rains upon man as the mercy of the Lord, who is always kind to the needy living being.
Verse 4: After heavy rain showers, the fields and forests in all directions appear green and healthy. Thus they resemble a man who has undergone severe austerities for some material gain and has achieved his end, for such a man is strong, hearty, and good-looking.
Verse 5: The evening in the rainy season is dark all around. There is no sight of the twinkling stars on the horizon or the pleasing moon. They are covered by clouds. And the insignificant glowworms become prominent in the absence of the luminaries in the open sky.
Verse 6: On hearing the sound of the torrential rains, the frogs come out of the mountain caves and begin to chant, like brahmacārīs who chant the Vedic hymns by the order of the spiritual master.
Verse 7: The small rivulets that almost dried up during the months of May and June now begin to overflow their banks, like upstarts that suddenly overflow the limits of expenditure.
Verse 8: The colorful greenery of the newly grown grass, the seasonal flowers, the frog's umbrellas, the butterflies, and the other variegatedness of the rainy season perfectly represent a well-to-do family absorbed in vanity over their personal assets.
Verse 9: A picturesque scene of green paddy fields enlivens the heart of the poor agriculturalist, but it brings gloom to the face of the capitalist who lives by exploiting the poor farmers.
Verse 10: Just as a living being attains a transcendentally attractive form by rendering service to Lord Hari, similarly, all the inhabitants of the land and the water assume beautiful forms by taking advantage of the newly fallen water.
Verse 11: In the rainy season, when the rivers swell and rush to the ocean, and as the wind blows the waves about, the ocean appears to be agitated. Similarly, if a person engaged in the mystic yoga process is not very advanced in spiritual life, he can be affected by the modes of nature and thus will be agitated by the sex impulse.
Verse 12: The mountains, although being struck by torrents of rain during the rainy season, are not shaken, just as those whose hearts are dedicated to the transcendental Personality of Godhead are never disturbed, even when harassed by great misfortune.
Verse 13: In the rainy season some of the roads are not frequently used and become covered with long grasses, and thus it becomes very difficult to see the road. Similarly, in this age the transcendental scriptures are not properly studied by the brāhmaṇas. Being covered by the effects of time, the scriptures are practically lost, and it becomes very difficult to understand or follow them.
Verse 14: The lightning becomes unsteady in its friendship, failing to remain faithfully in any one of the clouds, although they are the friends of the entire world, just as lusty women do not remain steady even in the company of men who possess excellent qualities.
Verse 15: In the midst of the thunder in the cloudy sky there appears a rainbow that has no string. Its appearance is compared to the appearance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead or His servants in the midst of the material atmosphere.
Verse 16: At night, by the grace of the moonlight, the clouds in the sky can be seen moving. Yet the moon itself also appears to be moving, just as a living being appears to be moving because of false identification with matter.
Verse 17: When the clouds appear in the sky the peacock begins to dance in ecstasy, as a sincere soul becomes overwhelmed with joy on the appearance of a saint at his house.
Verse 18: Many plants and creepers that were almost dead during the months of April and May are now visible again in various forms, for they are nourished by their roots in the moist earth. These numberless plants and creepers resemble persons who dry up in severe penances for some material gain but then achieve their objectives and become luxuriously fat, nourished by sense enjoyment.
Verse 19: A crane stands on the edge of a pond that is always disturbed by flowing water, mud, and stones. The crane is like a householder who is disturbed in the shelter of his home but who, because of too much attachment, does not want to change his position.
Verse 20: Fierce torrents of rain break over the strands and the partition walls of the paddy field. These disturbances resemble those created by the seasonal opponents of the standard principles of the Vedas, who are influenced by the age of Kali.
Verse 21: The wind carries the clouds to different parts of the globe, and the clouds distribute rains, to the satisfaction of the people in general, just as rich kings and merchants distribute their accumulated wealth, inspired by religious priests.
Verse 22: After the complete rainy season, the forest of Vṛndāvana was full of fruits like dates and blackberries ripening on the trees and bushes Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, along with His elder brother, Śrī Baladeva, and other cowherd boys of the vicinity, entered the beautiful forest, accompanied by the cows, to display transcendental pastimes with His eternal friends.
Verse 23: The cows that followed the Lord within the forest moved slowly because of their heavy, milk-laden udders. But when the Lord called them by their specific names they at once became alert, and as they hastened toward Him their milk bags overflowed and poured milk on the ground because of affection for the Lord.
Verse 24: When the Lord entered the forest of Vṛndāvana, all the inhabitants of the forest, both animate and inanimate, were eager to receive Him. He saw that the flowers of the forest, all fully blossoming, were weeping in ecstasy, honey flowing down their petals. The waterfalls on the hilly rocks were gladly flowing, and one could hear sweet sounds from the caves nearby.
Verse 25: The Lord reciprocated the feelings of the inhabitants of the forest of Vṛndāvana. When there was rainfall, the Lord took shelter at the feet of the trees or in the caves and enjoyed the taste of different fruits with his eternal associates the cowherd boys. He played with them, sat with them, and ate fruits with them.
Verse 26: The Lord enjoyed in the company of Lord Baladeva and the other cowherd boys and sometimes sat with them on the same stone slab. While sitting they ate simple food like rice, dal, vegetables, bread, and curd, which they had brought from their homes and which they shared in friendly exchanges.
Verse 27: After good rains the grazing ground for the animals was full of green pasture, and both the bulls and the cows sat down on the grass fully satisfied. The cows, followed by their calves, appeared tired of grazing, because of full milk bags. Calmly and quietly the cows and calves rested and ruminated, chewing their cud.
Verse 28: The fully beautiful scenery after the rainy season was attractive to the eyes of everyone, including Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the cause of all causes.
Verse 29: Thus the rainy season came to an end. The autumn began, and there were no more clouds in the sky. All the reservoirs of water became crystal clear, and the wind was no longer forceful. Lord Kṛṣṇa, along with His elder brother, Lord Baladeva, lived at Vṛndāvana in this auspicious season.
Verse 30: In autumn all the reservoirs of water become enriched with growing lotuses. The muddy water again becomes normally clear and decorated, just as fallen, conditioned souls once more become spiritually enriched in devotional service.
Verse 31: The four prominent features of autumn are that there is no water in the sky, the weeds that grew here and there in the rainy season all wither away, the muddy roads and fields dry up, and the ponds of water become crystal clear. These four features of the autumn atmosphere are compared to the four orders of life.
Verse 32: The beautiful white clouds, freed from all burdens of water distribution, float in midair, like mendicants freed from all family responsibilities.
Verse 33: There are waterfalls flowing from the hills of the forest, but sometimes water does not flow from them. So the waterfalls are not like ordinary rainfall. They are compared to great reformers, who speak or do not speak, as the time requires.
Verse 34: Small pools of water accumulate during the rainy season, and in the autumn they gradually dry up. The little creatures playing in those small pools do not understand that their days are now numbered and will end very soon. Thus they are like foolish men who, not caring for the nearing day of their death, become absorbed in the so-called enjoyment of family life.
Verse 35: When the small pools of water become too hot because of the scorching heat of the autumn sun, the poor, small creatures, with their many family members, suffer terribly, as poor householders with too many family members suffer economic strains and yet go on begetting children because of uncontrolled senses.
Verse 36: With the progress of the autumn season the moist earth and muddy places begin to dry up, and the green vegetation begins to fade. This drying up and fading resembles the gradual disappearance of the false sense of affinity and ego.
Verse 37: With the inauguration of the autumn season the rough sea becomes calm and quiet, just like a philosopher after self-realization, who is no longer troubled by the modes of nature.
Verse 38: After the rainy season, the farmers begin to rebuild the partitioning walls of the paddy fields so that the water will be conserved, just as yogīs try to use their conserved energy for self-realization.
Verse 39: In the autumn there is a gulf of difference between the day and the night. During the day the extreme heat of the sun is unbearable, but at night the moonlight is extremely soothing and refreshing. Similarly, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is soothing for both the gopīs and the mundane man in illusion, who accepts the body as the soul.
Verse 40: In the clear autumn sky the twinkling stars appear brighter and brighter, just like a transcendentalist clear vision of the purpose of the Vedas.
Verse 41: In the clear sky of autumn, the beautiful moon among the beautiful stars becomes the cynosure of all eyes, just as Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the central attraction in the Vṛṣṇi dynasty or in the family of Yadu.
Verse 42: At night in autumn the atmosphere is pleasant because it is neither very hot nor very cold. The mild wind blowing through the gardens of fruits and flowers in Vṛndāvana appeared very much pleasing to all-all but the gopīs, who were always overtaken by heartfelt sorrow in the absence of Kṛṣṇa.
Verse 43: In the autumn season all the birds, beasts, and men become sexually disposed, and the bull, the stag, the male bird, the man, and other male creatures forcibly impregnate the fair sex. A similar impregnation takes place as a result of devotional service to the Lord.
Verse 44: In the autumn season all the reservoirs of water are full of lotus flowers. There are also flowers that resemble the lotus but are of a different class. Among them is a flower called kumuda. When the sun rises, all the flowers but the kumuda blossom beautifully. Similarly, lotuslike men take pleasure in the advent of a responsible king, but men who are like the kumuda do not like the existence of a king.
Verse 45: After the new grains were cut and brought home from the paddy fields, the people began to observe the navānna ceremony everywhere, in the presence of the Lord as Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva.
Verse 46: The merchants, preachers, kings, and students who were confined to home during the four months June, July, August, and September began to flow out and attain success in life, just as perfected souls attain the required body as soon as they leave the present one.
Verse 47: From the Transcendence, which is called Kṛṣṇaloka, there emanates a glowing effulgence that resembles the tail of a comet. This glowing effulgence is unlimited, immeasurable, and unfathomable. Within this effulgence there are innumerable glowing planets, each of them self-luminous. Somewhere, a limited part of that glowing effulgence is covered by material energy, just as a part of the sky is covered by a cloud. Within this material energy there are innumerable universes, in every universe there are innumerable material planets, and the earth is one of these planets. Thus we can understand what an insignificant part of the entire cosmos is this globe on which we live.
Verse 48: The moon, or Candraloka, is one of the four important places of residence for the demigods. Beyond Mānasa Lake is Sumeru Mountain. On the eastern side of this mountain is the planet Devadhānī, where Indra resides. On the southern side is the planet known as Saṁyamanī, where Yamarāja resides. On the western side is the planet known as Nimlocanī, the residence of Vāyu, the demigod who controls the wind. And on the northern side of the mountain is the moon, which is also known as Vibhāvarī.