In Vrindavan forest,
the trees fulfill their name druma
because they melt (dru) with love for Krishna;
and the name taru because they are very capable
of shielding (tāraṇa) him from the sun (taraṇa).
The vines are rightly called vratati
because of their firm vow (vrata) to serve Krishna.
The deer have fulfilled the meaning of their name kṛṣṇasāra
because they see Krishna as their own essence (sāra),
and mṛga because they always search (mṛg)
for Krishna’s footprints.
tato druma-taru-prathā vratatayaś ca kṛṣṇa-vratāḥ |
sphuranti hariṇā iha prakaṭa-kṛṣṇasāra-prathā
mṛgāś ca pada-mārgiṇaḥ pravilasanti vṛndāvane ||
In Vrindavan, everything is made of prema-rasa. There is nothing but prema-rasa, and all the living entities, moving or unmoving, are prema-rasa through and through. And as conscious beings, they also respond with all the emotional reactions that come from tasting prema-rasa. Raso vai sah. One who tastes this rasa becomes joyful.
So the trees in Vrindavan are filled with love for Hari, and so they melt in ecstatic trance. In the Venu-gita, the gopis also say that the bamboo trees, whose offspring is the flute played by Krishna, melt with emotion and shed tears to see his good fortune at being kissed by Krishna’s lips day and night.
dāmodarādhara-sudhām api gopikānām |
bhuṅkte svayaṁ yad avaśiṣṭa-rasaṁ hradinyo
hṛṣyat-tvaco ‘śru mumucus taravo yathāryāḥ ||
Dear gopis! What indescribably auspicious activities did the flute perform in previous lives that it can now freely enjoy the leftover nectar of Damodar’s lips, which is really and truly the property of us gopis. And just look! Cultured people shed tears and tremble with joy when they see someone in their family take to the service of the Lord. Similarly, the river, where the bamboo grows and who is like the flute’s mother, is jubilant and the lotus flowers blooming are like hair standing on her body. The trees, the flute’s fathers, drip with sap as though shedding tears of pleasure. (10.21.9)
Taraṇa-tāraṇe is a bit obscure in meaning, but we take taraṇa to mean the sun and tāraṇa meaning to protect or deliver. Then this would refer to the trees’ service to Krishna by giving him shade. Shyamlal Hakim’s translation has “capable of crossing over and crossing others over,” which does not fit as well.
Krishna himself glorifies this quality of the trees of Vrindavan in the Bhagavatam:
vāta-varṣātapa-himān sahanto vārayanti naḥ
aho eṣāṁ varaṁ janma sarva-prāṇy-upajīvanam
sujanasyeva yeṣāṁ vai vimukhā yānti nārthinaḥ
gandha-niryāsa-bhasmāsthi-tokmaiḥ kāmān vitanvate
etāvaj janma sāphalyaṁ dehinām iha dehiṣu
prāṇair arthair dhiyā vācā śreya evācaret sadā
tarūṇāṁ namraśākhānāṁ madhyena yamunāṁ gataḥ
“Look at these great souls who live only for the sake of others.They themselves tolerate the wind, rain, heat and snow, while protecting us from them. Ah, but they have attained a great birth, for they give life to all living beings. They are like kind-hearted householders who never turn a beggar away. They fulfill their desires of all with their leaves, flowers, fruits, shade, roots, bark and wood, as well as with scents, sap, ash, pulp and shoots. This is the limit of success in life, for those who are embodied: if one can act for the uplift of others with one’s life, wealth, intelligence and words.” With these words, Krishna went down to the Yamuna on a path lined with trees, whose branches – laden with their abundance of twigs, fruits, flowers and leaves – bowed to him. (10.22.32-36)
Their wives, the creepers who cling to them, are also like pious women who perform religious austerities for the empowerment of their husbands. Here they join them in the determination to serve and please the cynosure of all Vrindavan, Krishna.
The deer also fulfill the meaning of their two names: kṛṣṇasāra and mṛga: They have made Krishna their very essence and they search for him everywhere. Where else can such fortunate creatures exist but in Vrindavan?
yā nanda-nandanam upātta-vicitra-veśam |
ākarṇya veṇu-raṇitaṁ saha-kṛṣṇa-sārāḥ
pūjāṁ dadhur viracitāṁ praṇayāvalokaiḥ ||
The doe are so fortunate, for though they are dumb animals, when they see the son of Nanda dressed in this colorful garb and hear the sound of his flute song, they along with the black deer (kṛṣṇasāra), their husbands, worship him with glances filled with love. (10.21.11)