Almost in all Holy scriptures and songs we find so much glorification of the divine lotus feet of the Lord, our great shelter. So many glories are chanted and sung around His divine lotus feet. Devotees are not always satisfied by calling them simply “holy feet or divine feet”. Feet of Lord are so ambrosially beautiful and colorful that they want to bring some example such as of a beautiful lotus. The divine characteristic of holiness is always there. But how does that divine beauty, fragrance manifest? In the form of a divine lotus full of beauty, softness and fragrance. That is the nature of the divine lotus feet of Lord. Softness beauty and fragrance are combined in the lotus, that’s why devotees love to call them “lotus feet of Lord”.
These are such lotus feet… If you have the fortune of kissing them, you want to continue kissing and kissing, drinking so much nectar from this kiss… If you feel the soothing touch of these lotus feet, you simply continue. Oh, you don’t want to be away from that touch… You want to continue feeling and tasting that touch with ambrosial taste which is so much soothing your mind, heart and soul. Feeling that taste all over your body, face, that soothing touch of the lotus feet of Lord… You embrace them, place on your heart and your heart feels unending ambrosial pleasure… As you put them on your head, you feel your sahasrara-chakra, all your consciousness and sensations getting filled with ambrosial taste. Such is their nature… You keep them on your face, keep on kissing and smelling the divine fragrance. You don’t to be away from that. Once you have that taste you can’t be away. Such is their irresistible attraction… So these are the characteristics of the lotus feet of our Divine God and Divine Goddess.
Sometimes devotees want to call them gloriously dancing lotus feet of my Lord. When those feet are engaged in dancing, like rasa-dance, devotees relish: “Oh! So gloriously dancing lotus feet are creating so many artistic beauties”. In rasa-dance as Krishna and Srimati Radhika were dancing together, every footstep of Their lotus feet created beautiful artistic images, wonderful arts: various flowers and ornaments. Dancing performed by lotus feet of Krishna and Srimati Radharani is not ordinary kind of steps. Each step was creating beautiful artistic ornamental designs and devotees immediately could see them with their subjective eyes. Their hearts were pleased and charmed by seeing these multifarious beauties of ornamental designs which were naturally appearing on their own. Sometimes devotees couldn’t check themselves – they were bending down and kissing those footprints, tasting nectar even from that. They smeared that dust all over their head, face, body and were feeling ecstatic. All that dust, all those designs, all that soil and grass after coming in touch with lotus feet of Divine Couple, also became filled with energy of bliss. They themselves are filled with bliss, and anyone who smears them all over one’s body also gets filled with same blissfulness.
śravaṇa kīrtana smaraṇa vandana pāda-sevana dāsya re *
pāda-sevana…
So long I’ve been describing the characteristics of the lotus feet of Lord. Now let me explain how lotus feet of Lord are realized by many wise devotees. Different forms and concepts are there.
oṁ tad viṣṇoḥ paramaṃ padaṃ sadā paśyanti sūrayaḥ divīva cakṣurātatam
[Rig Veda 1:22:20]
The lotus feet of Lord of Visnu have been experienced and described as an umbrella. A big, huge umbrella over the heads of all devotees, protecting them from scorching heat and thunder rains, experiences of the material world, as the great shelter. That’s the way the great devotees vision them –as the great vast beautiful shelter over their heads protecting them from all the dangers, all the obstacles, all the scorching heat: ādhyātmika, ādhibhautika and ādhidaivika – 3 tapa in our life.
They experience those feet not only as lotus feet, but as “paramam padam”. The padam, the lotus feet, which are filled with quality of paramam, greatness, excellence. They are manifesting as the direct solace , the great shelter and ambrosial solace in the lives of the devotees. Padam in Sanskrit means not only lotus feet, but also shelter. Paramam padam means great shelter, great excellent shelter.
What is the other characteristics of those great umbrella-like paramam padam, over the heads of devotees? They are like two vigilant eyes full of auspicious sight. Lord Visnu or Lord Krishna are constantly watching Their devotees with vigilant eyes, with blessed auspicious eyes full of loving affection. Question may arise: how lotus feet can view? How can they watch? Remember that verse from “Brahma-samhita”:
ańgāni yasya sakalendriya-vṛtti-manti
paśyanti pānti kalayanti ciraḿ jaganti
ānanda-cinmaya-sad-ujjvala-vigrahasya
govindam ādi-puruṣaḿ tam ahaḿ bhajāmi
[I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, whose transcendental form is full of bliss, truth, substantiality and is thus full of the most dazzling splendor. Each of the limbs of that transcendental figure possesses in Himself, the full-fledged functions of all the organs, and eternally sees, maintains and manifests the infinite universes, both spiritual and mundane 5.32.]
Each and every sense of Krishna is highly qualified to perform the activity of all other senses. So, what’s the great wonder that His lotus feet can see, hear, taste, feel, experience? They are qualified in every way. The great sages, munis describe the visions of the lotus feet of Lord Visnu which they experience. They experience how the divine lotus feet of Lord Visnu or Lord Krishna are watching them with open vigilant eyes and feel: “We are all the time embraced within loving sight of the eyes of our beloved Guardian”. This is a very mystically beautiful experience. Those sages, those great devotees of the Vedic period composed this mantra based on their life experience.
sadā paśyanti sūrayaḥ divīva cakṣurātatam
When we say “Om”, that means “There you are”.” Oooom – Theeere You are”. They can see Supreme All-pervading Divine Truth all over, in every direction. They are addressing Supreme Personality of this All-pervading Ambrosial Divine Truth by Om”, the seed mantra.
pāda-sevana dāsya re…
Now serving those divine lotus feet… Goddess Laxmi Devi is an ideal example of offering service to the divine lotus feet of Lord Visnu, and initially to the lotus feet of Krishna in the form of Srimati Radharani. So the conception of serving the lotus feet is not only related to the feet themselves, like gently massaging them etc, but it also means being in the shelter, ambrosial shelter of the divine lotus feet and offering service to them.
Devotees tell Lord: “ Oh Lord, all the parts and limbs of Your divine Form are so enriched with innumerable mystically brilliant qualities and ambrosial experience. We don’t have such high adhikara to actually relate to them. Our shelter is at Your lotus feet, where we can bend down, pay obeisances and surrender ourselves. This is our shelter which we want to embrace. Your other limbs, we feel, are too high for us”. Such parts of His body as: knees, thighs, hands, arms, belly, chest, shoulders, neck, head, beautiful face, lotus eyes, nose, lips. So, devotees tell Lord: “Each and every part of Your divine form is so full of unending mystical ambrosial beauty, fragrance, taste, experience that we feel it’s too much for us. We feel its better for us to come to Your lotus feet, our shelter, where we can offer our prostrated obeisances”. (Prostrated obeisances are a sign, a symbolical way of surrender to Lord). “That is our shelter. We feel more qualified to relate to Your lotus feet rather than to other parts of Your body”.
The concept of the lotus feet of Lord can never ever be conceived with our material concept of two nice feet. They can remain in a small form as feet, but can also become huge, like a shelter, a soothing shelter as we find in the Universal Form of God, His Virata Roopa. Since they are a solace, a nectarian solace of life and soul, devotees feel so much bliss to relate to their own divine solace in the form of lotus feet of Lord and engage themselves in their service. When they manifest in a small form, devotees are embracing them, kissing them, gently massaging them, feeling their soothing touch, sometimes smearing them with sandalwood paste – chandana and kum-kuma, decorating with various ornaments, for example putting beautiful golden anklets around them. They discover so many loving ways of serving lotus feet of their Lord, their beloved God and Goddess.
The ultimate example of serving the lotus feet is manifested by Lord Krishna Himself, when He was holding the lotus feet of Srimati Radharani in His palms and placing them on His face, chest… dehi pada-pallavam udäram… [Offer the fresh buds of Your enchanting feet as an ornament upon My head ]That is the super excellent ultimate example of blissful experience of relating to the lotus feet of Srimati Radharani, beloved Goddess of Krishna. Supreme beautiful God Himself also experienced great unlimited bliss by holding and embracing the lotus feet of His beloved Goddess. He prayed to Srimati Radhika, His beautiful Beloved, to offer Her lotus feet to Him, so that He could hold them, put them on His head and face, or keep on His chest, close to His heart in ambrosial embrace thus feeling overwhelmed with divine bliss. Srimati Radharani is having the same experience by holding lotus feet of Her beloved, her beautiful Beloved close to Her heart in deep embrace. Such is the super excellent glory and beauty of Their lotus feet.
Goddess Laxmi, Goddess Srimati Radharani remains absorbed in serving lotus feet of Her Beloved in the form of Lord Narayana, Lord Krishna for hours. It is one of Their dear most services to Their Beloved. They remain engaged for hours serving the lotus feet of Their Beloved. So much ecstatic love experience… And again the concept of serving lotus feet is not just serving feet as think of it. It means serving the whole Lord, serving the Supreme Lord in holistic way through that serving. We have to realize it in that way.
In the divine world, on transcendental plane everything works in a beautifully dynamic way. All the services are offered through multifarious dynamics, so we cannot try to conceive it in a limited way that we think. Serving the lotus feet of divine God and divine Goddess means serving Them in holistic, full-fledged way. This is the in-depth conception of pada sevanam, serving the lotus feet of Lord, beautiful God and Goddess.
* “Bhajahū re mana śrī nanda-nandana”, verse 4 Srila Govinda Das Kaviraj.
“It is the desire and great longing of Govinda Dasa to engage himself in the nine processes of bhakti, namely hearing the glories of Lord Hari and chanting those glories, constantly remembering Him and offering prayers to Him, serving the Lord’s lotus feet, serving the Supreme Lord as a servant, worshiping Him with flowers and incense and so forth, serving Him as a friend, and completely offering the Lord one’s very self”.
Edited by Rasakrishna Das
Correction by Kasturi Manjari dasi