The Beauty of Kṛṣṇa
Kṛṣṇa is known as Madana-mohana because He conquers the mind of Cupid. He is also known as Madana-mohana due to His bestowing favors upon the damsels of Vraja and accepting their devotional service. After conquering Cupid’s pride, the Lord engages in the rāsa dance as the new Cupid. He is also known as Madana-mohana because of His ability to conquer the minds of women with His five arrows of form, taste, smell, sound and touch. The pearls of the necklace hanging on Kṛṣṇa’s neck are as white as ducks, and the peacock feather decorating His head is colored like a rainbow. His yellow garment is like lightning in the sky, and Kṛṣṇa Himself is like a newly arrived cloud. The gopīs are like food grains in the field, and when the cloud pours rain on those grains, it appears that Kṛṣṇa is nourishing the hearts of the gopīs by calling down His pastime rain of mercy. Indeed, ducks fly in the sky during the rainy season, and rainbows can also be seen at that time. Kṛṣṇa freely moves among His friends as a cowherd boy in Vṛndāvana, and when He plays His flute, all living creatures, mobile and immobile, are overwhelmed with ecstasy. They quiver, and tears flow from their eyes.
Kṛṣṇa’s conjugal love is the summit of His various opulences. He is the master of all riches, all strength, all fame, all beauty, all knowledge and all renunciation, and out of these, His perfect beauty is His conjugal attraction. Such perfect conjugal beauty eternally exists only in the form of Kṛṣṇa, whereas His other opulences are present in His Nārāyaṇa form.
As Lord Caitanya described the superexcellence of Kṛṣṇa’s conjugal attraction, He felt transcendental ecstasy, and, catching the hands of Sanātana Gosvāmī, He began to proclaim how fortunate the damsels of Vraja were, reciting a verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.44.14):
lāvaṇya-sāram asamordhvam ananya-siddham
dṛgbhiḥ pibanty anusavābhinavaṁ durāpam
ekānta-dhāma yaśasaḥ śriya aiśvarasya
“What great penance and austerities the damsels of Vṛndāvana must have undergone, for they are able to drink the nectar of Kṛṣṇa, who is all beauty, all strength, all riches and all fame, and who is the essence of all beautiful bodily luster.”
The body of Kṛṣṇa, the ocean of the eternal beauty of youth, can be seen to move in waves of beauty, and there is a whirlwind at the sound of His flute. Those waves and that whirlwind make the hearts of the gopīs flutter like dry leaves on trees, and when those leaves fall down at Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet, they can never rise up again. There is no beauty to compare with that of Kṛṣṇa, who is the origin of Nārāyaṇa and all other incarnations, for no one possesses beauty equal to or greater than Kṛṣṇa’s. Otherwise, why would the goddess of fortune, the constant companion of Nārāyaṇa, give up His association and engage herself in penance to gain the association of Kṛṣṇa? Such is the superexcellent beauty of Kṛṣṇa, the everlasting mine of all beauty. It is from that beauty that all other beautiful things emanate.
The attitude of the gopīs is like a mirror upon which the reflection of Kṛṣṇa’s beauty develops at every moment. Both Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs increase their transcendental beauty at every moment, and there is always transcendental competition between them. No one can appreciate the beauty of Kṛṣṇa by properly discharging his occupational duty or by undergoing austerities, practicing mystic yoga, cultivating knowledge or offering various kinds of prayers. Only those who are on the transcendental platform of love of God, who engage in devotional service only out of love, can appreciate the transcendental beauty of Kṛṣṇa. Such beauty is the essence of all opulences and is appreciated only in Goloka Vṛndāvana and nowhere else. In the form of Nārāyaṇa the beauties of mercy, fame, etc., are all established by Kṛṣṇa, but Kṛṣṇa’s gentleness and magnanimity do not exist in Nārāyaṇa. They are found only in Kṛṣṇa.
Lord Caitanya, greatly relishing the verses of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam He was explaining to Sanātana, quoted another verse (9.24.65):
nityotsavaṁ na tatṛpur dṛśibhiḥ pibantyo
nāryo narāś ca muditāḥ kupitā nimeś ca
“The gopīs used to relish the beauty of Kṛṣṇa as a ceremony of perpetual enjoyment. They enjoyed the beautiful face of Kṛṣṇa – His beautiful ears with earrings, His broad forehead, His smile – and while enjoying this sight of Kṛṣṇa’s beauty they used to criticize the creator, Brahmā, for causing their vision of Kṛṣṇa to be momentarily impeded by the blinking of their eyelids.”
The Vedic hymn known as Kāma-gāyatrī describes the face of Kṛṣṇa as the king of all moons. In metaphorical language, there are many different full moons, but they are all one in Kṛṣṇa. There is the full moon of His face, the full moons of His cheeks, the full moon of the sandalwood-pulp spot on His forehead, which is a half-moon, and the beautiful full moons of His fingernails and toenails. In this way there are twenty-four and a half moons, and Kṛṣṇa is the central figure of all of them.
The dancing movement of Kṛṣṇa’s earrings, eyes and eyebrows is very attractive to the damsels of Vraja. Activities in devotional service increase the sense of devotional service. What else is there for two eyes to see beyond the face of Kṛṣṇa? Since one cannot sufficiently see Kṛṣṇa with only two eyes, one feels incapable and thus becomes bereaved. Such bereavement is slightly reduced when one criticizes the creative power of the creator. The unsatiated seer of Kṛṣṇa’s face thus laments: “I do not have thousands of eyes but only two, and even these two eyes are disturbed by the movements of my eyelids. So it is to be understood that the creator of this body is not very intelligent. He is not conversant with the art of ecstasy but is simply a prosaic creator. He does not know how to arrange things properly so one can see only Kṛṣṇa.”
The gopīs’ minds are always engaged in relishing the sweetness of Kṛṣṇa’s body. He is the ocean of beauty, and the luster of His body and the beauty of His face and smile are all-attractive to the minds of the gopīs. In the Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta, Kṛṣṇa’s body, face and smile have been described as sweet, sweeter and sweetest. When there are three kinds of contamination in the bodily constitution, convulsions take place. Similarly, a perfect devotee of Kṛṣṇa experiences convulsions when he is overwhelmed by seeing the beauty of Kṛṣṇa’s body, face and smile. Before Kṛṣṇa’s beauty, the devotee sometimes stays immersed in this ocean of transcendental convulsions without receiving treatment, just as a patient suffering ordinary convulsions may be prevented by a physician from receiving a drink of water for relief.
The devotee increasingly feels the absence of Kṛṣṇa, for without Him one cannot drink the nectar of His beauty. When the transcendental sound of Kṛṣṇa’s flute vibrates, the devotee’s anxiety to hear that flute penetrates the covering of the material world and enters the spiritual sky, where the transcendental sound of the flute enters into the ears of the gopīs and their followers. The sound of Kṛṣṇa’s flute always resides within the ears of the gopīs and increases their ecstasy. When they hear it, no other sound can enter their ears, and they are unable to reply properly to their family members’ questions, for all these beautiful sounds are vibrating in their ears.
Thus Lord Caitanya explained the transcendental constitution of Kṛṣṇa – His expansions, His bodily luster and everything connected with Him. In short, Lord Caitanya explained Kṛṣṇa, the essence of everything, as He is.