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The word vana means “forest.” We are afraid of the forest and do not wish to go there, but in Vṛndāvana the forest animals are as good as demigods, for they have no envy. Even in this material world, in the forest the animals live together, and when they go to drink water they do not attack anyone. Envy develops because of sense gratification, but in Vṛndāvana there is no sense gratification, for the only aim is Kṛṣṇa’s satisfaction. Even in this material world, the animals in Vṛndāvana are not envious of the sādhus who live there. The sādhus keep cows and supply milk to the tigers, saying, “Come here and take a little milk.” Thus envy and malice are unknown in Vṛndāvana. That is the difference between Vṛndāvana and the ordinary world. We are horrified to hear the name of vana, the forest, but in Vṛndāvana there is no such horror. Everyone there is happy by pleasing Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇotkīrtana-gāna-nartana-parau. Whether a gosvāmī or a tiger or other ferocious animal, everyone’s business is the same — to please Kṛṣṇa. Even the tigers are also devotees. This is the specific qualification of Vṛndāvana. In Vṛndāvana everyone is happy. The calf is happy, the cat is happy, the dog is happy, the man is happy — everyone. Everyone wants to serve Kṛṣṇa in a different capacity, and thus there is no envy. One may sometimes think that the monkeys in Vṛndāvana are envious, because they cause mischief and steal food, but in Vṛndāvana we find that the monkeys are allowed to take butter, which Kṛṣṇa Himself distributes. Kṛṣṇa personally demonstrates that everyone has the right to live. This is Vṛndāvana life. Why should I live and you die? No. That is material life. The inhabitants of Vṛndāvana think, “Whatever is given by Kṛṣṇa, let us divide it as prasāda and eat.” This mentality cannot appear all of a sudden, but it will gradually develop with Kṛṣṇa consciousness; by sādhana, one can come to this platform.
In the material world one may collect funds all over the world in order to distribute food freely, yet those to whom the food is given may not even feel appreciative. The value of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, however, will gradually be very much appreciated. For instance, in an article about the temple of the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement in Durban, South Africa, the Durban Post reported, “All the devotees here are very active in the service of Lord Kṛṣṇa, and the results are obvious to see: happiness, good health, peace of mind, and the development of all good qualities.” This is the nature of Vṛndāvana. Harāv abhaktasya kuto mahad-guṇāḥ: without Kṛṣṇa consciousness, happiness is impossible; one may struggle, but one cannot have happiness. We are therefore trying to give human society the opportunity for a life of happiness, good health, peace of mind and all good qualities through God consciousness.