It was almost time for the dusk to set in, the sun had turned orange and the entire village was soaked in a calm that comes after a hard day’s work. Birds flew past the clouds returning home, and farmers ambled back with the bovine. At the edge of the forest sat Devkinandana Krishna the God of compassion under a mango tree playing his flute with a calf sitting at his feet.
The enchanting music could be heard deep into the forest of Vrindavan where each being was immersed in the divine melody. A group of gopis (cowherd boys) and gopikas (cowherds girls) returning from the forest were drawn to the music knowing well it could be no one else but their beloved Krishna playing his flute waiting for his cowherd to return.
And like any other day the group of boys and girls, hearing the music could sense a deep emotion of love and belonging. They followed the music and saw their Krishna playing the flute surrounded by the cows. Vishakha, the cowherd girl walked up to Krishna’s feet and kept staring at him while he played his flute with his eyes closed resting his back against the tree. She gently touched Krishna’s arm
“Oh Krishna who do you play this flute for, for whom is this beautiful music for, please tell us?” She asked him as other gopis and gopikas kept looking at him with devotion and love without blinking an eye. Devkinandan gently opened his yes, the most beautiful eyes, eyes that could make you fall in love with.
“Vishakha, I play it for you”, he replied with a gentle smile and started playing the flute again. Overwhelmed hearing this from dear Krishna, she closed her eyes and started swaying to the music. Vishakha opened her eyes again to get a glimpse of her Krishna; he was standing next to her now playing the flute for her. She kept dancing to the melody.
While swaying to the magic of the music she saw Krishna standing next to the Sridhama the young cowherd boy too, as he danced looking at Krishna next to him. Anuradha too had Krishna next to her playing the flute for her as she danced. Krishna was there next to Amsu the most mischievous boy in the group as he was raptured in the divine tune. Lalita and Tungvidya and all other cowherd boys and girls had Krishna standing beside them playing flute as they all danced with their eyes closed in devotion. Vishakha saw Krishna standing next to all her friends, playing his flute for each of them so that they could dance to the melody.
“Krishna you said you are playing the flute for me, then why are you next to all other gopi and gopikas while they dance to your music”, Vishakha asked Krishna with drop of tear in her eye.
“My Vishakha, I am here for you because of your unconditional love for me, I am with you because you are immersed in the faith you have in me as you dance with your eyes closed. How can I not be with Tungvidya, Amsu and other boys and girls when they devote themselves to my music with their eyes closed in love? All of you have opened up your heart to me being in the moment of spontaneity with no other intention,” Krishna had a smile on his face as he spoke to Vishakha.
“Free of all doubts, you all present me with your truest emotion of love with innocence; I have to be beside all of you to reciprocate this love and devotion. I am with all of you, because you are thinking of me without pretense and without an iota of doubt that it is my music that you hear and that I play it for you. You are free from fear and true to yourself and for what you feel or me, I have to be close to you”.
Hearing this Vishakha let go all of her jealousy and desire to have Krishna all to herself, she felt the love of her dear Krishna which was as much hers as for all other gopi and gopikas who were devoting themselves to the divine music of Gopala.
“Oh Krishna please tell me how can I always have you close to me in every moment…please tell me,” requested Vishakha.
Krishna looked at Vishakha in her eyes as he spoke, “Keep me in your thoughts and think of me in all your actions, show unrestrained love and equanimity and I shall be close to you always.”
“Is it that easy to have your presence beside us?” Vishakha asked again.
Krishna smiled and replied, “Yes it is, do what you have at hand with utmost concentration, simple dignity and a feeling of affection while relieving yourself of all other thoughts, you will find peace and satisfaction within yourself, and that’s who I am. I am you in your most peaceful state.”
It was almost dark and the cows were heading home, Gopala put his flute on his lips again and started walking behind the cowherd playing for tired souls of Vrindavan and slowly disappeared in the mist as Vishakha stood still with a warm feeling in her heart and a sense of fondness.
By Ankur Tunaak
Ankur Tunaak has been an Ashtanga yoga practitioner for over a decade, studied with Shree M. Vishwanath who was one of the first students and nephew of Shree Pathabhi Jois. Also, an alumnus of Bihar School Of Yoga, one of four premier Yogic Studies Institutions in India. Ankur is a storyteller and photographer, currently teaching yoga in New Delhi, India. Portrait photography by Ankur Tunaak.