I praise Brihadvana (Gokula), where the Lord of Vraja, Nanda Maharaj, jubilantly donated 200,000 young cows that were decorated with gold and strings of pearls, as well as heaps of divine ornaments and a mountain of sesame to the brahmins on the occasion of Sri Krishna’s birth-festival.
Although this is verse 89 of Vraja-vilāsa-stava, and therefore falls out of the order we have been presenting those texts, since it is Janmashtami, this verse about Nandotsava seems quite fitting.
Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā : In this verse Raghunath Das Goswami praises Sri Bṛhad-vana, the place of Sri Krishna’s advent. It is here that Sri Nanda, the king of Vraja, desiring the welfare of his son, gave ample charity to the brahmins on the occasion of his birthday-festival. In Śrīmad Bhāgavata it is written:
dhenūnāṁ niyute prādād viprebhyaḥ samalaṅkṛte
tilādrīn sapta rātraugha śāta-kaumbhāmbarāvṛtān (Bhāg. 10.5.3),
Śrīdhara Svāmī comments: niyute dve lakṣe: “When Sri Krishna took birth Sri Nanda Maharaj gave 2,00,00 cows beautified with golden horns and silver hooves and covered by clothes that were inset with different gems and strings of gold, as well as seven piles of sesame, to the brahmins.”
In Sri Brahma Vaivarta Purāṇa it is seen that:
tato nandaś ca sānandaṁ brāhmaṇebhyo dhanaṁ dadau.
sad ratnāni prabālāni hīrakāni ca sādaram.
tilānāṁ parvatān sapta suvarṇa kāñcanaṁ mune.
raupyaṁ dhānyācalaṁ vastraṁ go-sahasraṁ manoramam.
Goparaj Sri Nanda was so happy when Krishna was born that he gave various gems, corals, diamonds and other riches, as well as seven piles of sesame, a mountain of paddy, gold, silver, garments and thousands upon thousands of cows to the brahmins.
In the Bhaviṣya Purāṇa we can see how much a pile of sesame is supposed to be:
uttamo daśabhir droṇair madhyamaḥ pañcabhir mataḥ.
tribhiḥ kaniṣṭho rājendra tila śailaḥ prakīrtitaḥ.
pūrvavac cāparaṁ sarvaṁ viṣkambha parvatādikam
The greatest pile of sesame consists of ten droṇas , a pile of five droṇas is mediocre and a pile of three droṇas is the minimum. Just as there must be Viṣkambha-mountains placed in all four corners around a mountain of paddy, so it is also prescribed for the mountain of sesame.
A droṇa is a dry measure of 32 seers for corn etc., or a measuring vessel having this capacity. In order to keep the pivotal mountain Sumeru steady, Lord Brahmā placed four supporting mountains around it, viz. Mandāra, Gandhamādana, Nīla and Supārśva. These mountains are called Vishkambha mountains. Even when mere mountains of paddy or sesame are being donated, four Vishkambha mountains must still be established around them, as if they were Mount Sumeru.
All these piles of sesame and paddy must be beautified with jewels, gold and flower garlands. The arrangements for this are also outlined by the Bhaviṣya Purāṇa:
When one thus has made a Sumeru-mountain with sesame or paddy in the amounts of ten droṇas or so, one must establish the Vishkambha mountains around them on four sides with sandal or flowers, divided in four parts. In the mountains of sesame and paddy one must then place three trees made of gold. The Vishkambha mountain situated in the east must contain pearls and diamonds, the Vishkambha mountain in the south must contain topaz-gems and Puṣpa-rāga gems, the Vishkambha mountain in the west must contain Gārutmata-gems and sapphires and the Vishkambha mountain in the north must be established containing Lapis Lazuli and rubies.
Śrīla Jiva Goswami has written in his Gopāla Campū:
Nanda Maharaj donated seven piles of sesame, each containing ten droṇas, to the brahmins. The brahmins thought that the jewels and gold that covered these mountains of sesame were even heavier than the sesame itself.
From this information we can slightly conceive of the unlimited amount of jewels and gems Goparaj Nanda gave in charity. Vraja Dham is the transcendental playground of Bhagavan Sri Krishna, therefore it is not at all impossible for Maharaj Sri Nanda to donate such amounts of jewels and gems. Raghunath Das Goswami thus praises Bṛhadvana, the place where Sri Nanda Maharaj donated such a huge amount of wealth.
śrī kṛṣṇera āvirbhāve, tāra janma mahotsave,
vraje śrīla nanda mahārāja.
dui lakṣa gābhī-gaṇe, maṇi muktā vibhūṣaṇe,
kori divya ratnamaya sāja
ratna rāśi tila giri, parama ādara kori,
brāhmaṇere korechilo dāna
se bṛhat kānane, vandi mui sāvadhāne,
divya cintāmaṇimaya sthāna
I attentively praise Mahāvana Gokula, the transcendental place made of Cintāmaṇi-gems, where Sri Krishna advented himself and where Śrīla Nanda Maharaj most respectfully gave 2,00,000 cows, decorated with jewels and pearls and dressed in divine jewel-studded blankets, as well as jewel-covered piles of sesame, in charity to the local brahmins.
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
Source: Tarun Govinda Das, Flowing Nectar Stream blog.
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