See for the online version with illustrations, music and links to the previous translation: http://bhagavata.org/
"The Story of the Fortunate One"
Third revised version 2012
CANTO 10: Part I
Chapter 1 The Advent of Lord Krishna: Introduction
Chapter 2 Prayers by the Demigods for Lord Krishna in the Womb
Chapter 3 The Birth of Lord Krishna
Chapter 4 The Atrocities of King Kamsa
Chapter 5 Krishna's Birth Ceremony and the Meeting of Nanda Mahārāja and Vasudeva
Chapter 6 The Killing of the Demoness Pūtanā
Chapter 7 Krishna Kicks the Cart, Defeats Trināvarta and Shows Yas'odā the Universe
Chapter 8 The Name Ceremony, His Pranks and Again the Universe Within His Mouth
Chapter 9 Mother Yas'odā Binds Lord Krishna
Chapter 10 The Deliverance of the Sons of Kuvera
Chapter 11 A New Residence, the Fruit Vendor and Vatsāsura and Bakāsura Defeated
Chapter 12 The Killing of the Demon Aghāsura
Chapter 13 Lord Brahmā Steals the Boys and Calves
Chapter 14 Brahmā's Prayers to Lord Krishna
Chapter 15 The Killing of Dhenuka, the Ass Demon and Poison in the River
Chapter 16 Krishna Chastises the Serpent Kāliya
Chapter 17 The History of Kāliya and Krishna Swallows a Forest Fire.
Chapter 18 Lord Balarāma Slays the Demon Pralamba
Chapter 19 Krishna Swallows Again a Forest Fire
Chapter 20 The Rainy Season and Autumn in Vrindāvana
Chapter 21 The Gopīs Glorify the Song of Krishna's Flute
Chapter 22 Krishna Steals the Garments of the Unmarried Gopīs
Chapter 23 The Brahmin Wives Blessed
IntroductionThis book tells the story of the Lord and His incarnations since the earliest records of Vedic history, the history of the original culture of knowledge of India. It is verily the Krishna 'bible' [in Sanskrit called a samhitā] of the Hindu universe. The Bhagavad Gītā relates to this book like the sermon on the mountain by Lord Jesus relates to the full Bible. It has about 18.000 verses contained in 335 chapters and consists of 12 subdivisons of books that are called Cantos. These books together tell the complete history of the Vedic culture and cover the essence of the classical collections of stories called the Purānas. This specific collection of Vedic stories is considered the most important one of all the great eigtheen classical Purānas of India. It includes the cream of the Vedic knowledge compiled from all the Vedic literatures as also the story of the life of Lord Krishna in full (Canto 10). Lord Krishna constitutes a watershed in the history between the old Vedic culture and the 'modern' political culture in which the rule of state no longer automatically is led by the spiritual order. The book tells the story of His birth, His youth, all His wonderful proofs of His divine nature and His superhuman feats of defeating all kinds of demons up to the great Mahābhārat war at Kurukshetra. In this war the Vedic culture fell down to be replaced by the fragmented relighiosity we these days call Hinduism. This leading Purāna also called the 'perfect Purāna', is a brilliant story that has been brought to the West by S'rīla A.C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda, a Caitanya Vaishnava, a bhakti (devotional) monk of Lord Vishṇu [the name for the transcendental form of Lord Krishna]. He undertook the daring task of enlightening the materialist westerners, the advanced philosophers and theologians, in order to help them to overcome the perils and loneliness of impersonalism and the philosophy of emptiness.
For the translation the author of this internet version has consulted the translations of C.L Goswami. M.A., Sāstrī (from the Gītā Press, Gorakhpur), the paramparā [disciplic succession] version of S'rīla Vishvanātha Cakravarti Thhākura and the later version of this book by S'rīla A.C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda. The latter translators as ācāryas [guru teaching by example] of the age-old Indian Vaishnava tradition are representatives of a culture of reformation of the devotion for God or bhakti, the way it has been practiced in India since the 16th century. This reformation asserts that the false authority of the caste system and single dry book knowledge is to be rejected. S'rī Krishna Caitanya, also called Caitanya Mahāprabhu (1486-1534), the avatāra [an incarnation of the Lord] who heralded this reform, restored the original purpose of developing devotion unto the person of God and endeavored in particular for dissemination of the two main sacred scriptures expounding on that devotion in relation to Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. These scriptures are the Bhagavad Gītā and this Bhāgavata Purāna, that is also called the S'rīmad Bhāgavatam, from which all the Vaishnava ācāryas derived their wisdom for the purpose of instruction and the shaping of their devotion. The word for word translations as also the full text and commentaries of this book were studied within and without the Hare Krishna temples where the teaching of this culture takes place. The purpose of the translation is first of all to make this glorious text available to a wider audience over the Internet. Since the Bible, the Koran and numerous other holy texts are readily available, the translator meant that this book could not stay behind on the shelf of his own bookcase as a token of material possessiveness. When we started with this endeavor in the year 2000 there was no proper web presentation of this book. Knowledge not shared is knowledge lost, and certainly this type of knowledge, which stresses the yoga of non-possessiveness and devotion as one of its main values could not be left out. The version of Swami Prabhupāda is very extensive covering some 2400 pages of plain fine printed text including his commentaries. And that were only the first ten Cantos. The remaining two Cantos were posthumously published by his pupils in the full of his spirit. I thus was faced with two daring challenges: one was to concatenate the text or make a readable running narrative of the book that had been dissected and commented to the single word and the second challenge was to put it into a language that would befit the 21st century with all its modern and postmodern experience and digital progress of the present cultural order of the world, without losing anything of its original verses. Thus another verse to verse as-it-is translation came about in which Vishvanātha's, Prabhupāda's and Sāstrī's words were pruned, retranslated and set to the understanding and realization of today. This realization in my case originated directly from the disciplic line of succession of the Vaishnava line of ācāryas as also from a realization of the total field of indian philosophy of enlightenment and yoga discipline as was brought to the West by also non-Vaishnava gurus and maintained by their pupils. Therefore the author has to express his gratitude to all these great heroes who dared to face the adamantine of western philosophy with all its doubts, concreticism and skepticism. Especially the pupils of Prabhupāda, members of the renounced order (sannyāsīs) who instructed the author in the independence and maturity of the philosophy of the bhakti-yogis of Lord Caitanya need to be mentioned. I was already initiated in India by a non-Vaishnava guru and have been given the name of Swami Anand Aadhar ('teacher of the foundation of happiness'). That name the Krishna community converted into Anand Aadhar Prabhu ('master of the foundation of happiness') without further ceremonies of Vaishnava initiation (apart from a basic training). With the name Anand Aadhar I am a withdrawn devotee, a so-called vānaprashta, who does his devotional service independently in the silence and modesty of his local adaptations of the philosophy.
In most cases the word for word translations and grammatical directions of S'rīla A.C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda/ISKCON, Vishvanātha Cakravarti Thhākura and C.L. Goswami. M.A., Sāstrī have been followed as they were used in their translations and I have checked them with the help of the Monier-Williams Sanskrit Dictionary [see the file of the terms used]. In footnotes and between square brackets [ ] sometimes a little comment and extra info is given to accommodate the reader when the original text is drawing from a more experienced approach. On the internetsite bhagavata.org of this book, my version refers to the version of Prabhupāda that is linked up at each verse together with my own previous version so that it is possible to retrace at any moment what I have done with the text. This is in accordance with the scientific tradition of the Vaishnava community.
For the copyright on this translation the so-called Commons Attribution Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License has been chosen. This means that one is free to copy, distribute and alter the text on the condition of attribution (refer to the name of Anand Aadhar and to my website address bhagavata.org), that the resulting work can only be distributed under the same or similar license to this one and that one cannot use the text for commercial purposes. For all other usage one will have to contact the translator.
With love and devotion,
Anand Aadhar Prabhu,
Enschede, The Netherlands, April 17, 2012.
Chapter 1: The Advent of Lord Krishna: Introduction
(1) The honorable king said: 'Your Lordship extensively described both the dynasties of the kings of the sun god and the moon god, as also the most wonderful deeds of their members [*]. (2) Please describe to us the heroic acts of Lord Vishnu who [together with His plenary expansion Sankarshana in the form of Baladeva] appeared as an incarnation in [two] different parts in the line of the most dharmic and virtuous Yadus, whom you also described to us, oh best of the munis. (3) Be so kind to tell us all about the actions of the Supreme Lord, the Soul of the Universe, the Cause of the Manifestation, after He descended in the Yadu dynasty. (4) [By the disciplic succession or the paramparā] listening to the pleasing vibrations of the glorification of the Lord Praised in the Verses, constitutes the proper medicine for the mind to be released from the material disease of its desires. Unless he is a killer of animals, a person can become free [from the falsehood, see also B.G. 2: 44] by listening to and voicing such descriptions. (5-7) When in the past, on the battlefield, my grandfathers [the Pāndavas] were fighting with imperishable warriors, like Devavrata [Bhīshma] and other great commanders who were like timingilas [shark-eaters], they crossed the so very difficult to overcome ocean of Kaurava soldiers in the boat that He is, as easily as one steps over a calf's hoof print. This body of mine, the only seed left of the Kurus and Pāndavas, was scorched by As'vatthāmā's weapon when I resided in the womb of my mother, but it was by Him, [Krishna,] holding the cakra in His hand, protected because my mother sought His protection [1.8: 11 and 1.12: 7]. Oh man of learning, please describe the glories of the Lord who, by His own potency, appeared as a normal human being, of Him, the Giver of Death and Eternal Life, as one calls Him, of Him who manifests Himself in physical forms bound to time, of Him, the Original Person who is present both inside and outside of all the embodied beings. (8) We know from you about Balarāma, who is Sankarshana, that He is the son of Rohinī. How could He, without assuming another body, be connected with the womb of Devakī? (9) Why did Mukunda, the Supreme Lord move from the house of His father to [the house of Nanda in] Vraja, and where did He, the Master of the devotees, live with His relatives? (10) What did He do when He lived in Vraja and when He resided in the city of Mathurā? Why did He, the killer of Kes'ī, kill His uncle Kamsa, His mother's brother? Is that not something completely at odds with the scriptures? (11) For how many years did He, who assumed a human body, live with the Vrishnis, and how long lived He in the city of the Yadus [Dvārakā]? How many wives had the Master? (12) Oh sage, you know everything. You are the one to tell us about Lord Krishna's activities. Please describe this all in detail to me so full of faith and surrender, as also everything more to say. (13) Now that I drink the nectar of the talks about the Lord that emanate from your lotus mouth, it is not even difficult to bear the hunger [of my fasting] or my forsaking of water.'
(14) Sūta [see 1.1] said: "Oh son of Bhrigu [S'aunaka], after the mighty son of Vyāsa, the purest of all devotees, had heard his pious questions, the devotee of Vishnu paid his respects. Next he began to describe the topics of Krishna that put an end to the darkness of Kali-yuga [compare 1.7: 2-8]. (15) S'rī S'uka said: 'Oh best of the wise kings, because of your lasting attraction for the stories about Vāsudeva [Krishna as the son of Vasudeva], your intelligence has developed a firm determination. (16) The way the world is purified by the [Ganges] water that flows from His toes [5.17: 1], the three persons of the speaker, the inquirer and the one attending are purified by questions concerning the stories about Vāsudeva. (17) When mother earth was overcome by an unbearable burden of countless numbers of conceited Daitya military forces [9.24: 67] and their so-called nobles, she [one day] went to Lord Brahmā to take shelter. (18) Assuming the form of a cow she, greatly distressed weeping piteously, appeared before the Almighty One [see also 1.16: 18] and submitted her complaints. (19) Lord Brahmā, with understanding for her predicament, thereupon together with her, the godly souls and the Three-Eyed One [Lord S'iva], approached the shore of the milk ocean [wherein Vishnu resides, see also 8.7: 41]. (20) Reaching there they, fully attentive, with the help of the [Purusha-sūkta] hymns worshiped the Original Person, the Supreme Personality, the God of Gods and Master of the Universe, who takes care of all.
(21) The lord of the Veda [Brahmā] heard in his trance a vibration of words in the sky [see also 1.1: 1]. He said to the servants of the three worlds, the demigods: 'Hear further from me about the order of the Original Person, oh immortal souls. Execute these instructions immediately, do not delay. (22) Before we came here, the Personality of Godhead knew already about the distress of mother earth. Together with your good selves as His parts, He wants to manifest Himself by taking birth in the family of the Yadus. He wants you to be there with Him [for the fulfillment of His mission] for as long as He, the Lord of Lords, with His potency of Time, moves around on this earth to diminish the burden of the planet. (23) The Supreme Lord, the original transcendental person, will personally appear in the house of Vasudeva, and He also wants all the wives of the demigods to take birth to please Him. (24) Before Lord Vāsudeva appears, first the part of Hari, known as the fully independent Ananta with the thousands of hoods [Sankarshana, see also 5.25], will appear [as Baladeva] with the desire to please [Him]. (25) By the Master being ordered to appear and to manage His affairs, [the grace of Vishnu known as the female incarnation of His potency called] Vishnu-māyā will also appear together with all her different potencies, she who is as good as the Supreme Lord Himself and who captivates all the worlds [see also B.G. 9: 12 & 13].'
(26) S'rī S'uka said: 'After thus having pacified mother earth with sweet words and having informed the immortals, the supreme master of the founding fathers returned to his supreme abode. (27) In the past S'ūrasena, the king of the Yadus [see 9.23: 27], lived in the city of Mathurā, from where he ruled the different districts Māthura and S'ūrasena. (28) Mathurā, the city intimately connected with the Supreme Lord Hari, from that time on was the capital for all the kings of Yadu [see also the bhajan Sāvarana S'rī Gaura Mahimā]. (29) It was in that place that one day the divine character of Vasudeva, after having married Devakī, together with his bride mounted a chariot to return home. (30) Kamsa, the son of Ugrasena, held, in order to please his sister on the occasion, the reins of the horses in the midst of thousands of golden chariots. (31-32) When she left home, king Devaka, who was fond of his daughter, had given a dowry of four hundred elephants with golden garlands, ten thousand horses together with eighteen hundred chariots, and a hundred young and attractive maidservants complete with jewelry. (33) My dearest King, when they departed, conch shells, bugles, drums and kettledrums vibrated in concert to wish the bride and bridegroom all the best. (34) Being on their way, a voice from beyond addressed Kamsa who held the reins: 'The eighth child of this girl you are carrying with you, oh fool, will put an end to your life!'
(35) Thus being addressed he, who mischievous and sinful in the past had degraded the Bhoja family, took up a sword against his sister and grabbed her by her hair with the intention to kill her. (36) In order to pacify him who was ready to commit such a heinous and shameless crime, Vasudeva, that greatly fortunate soul, addressed him. (37) S'rī Vasudeva said: 'A man of so many praiseworthy qualities, such a brilliant star among the heroic Bhojas like you, how can you kill your own sister, a woman, especially at the time of her marriage [see also 1.7: 53-54]? (38) Death is included with the body that was born. Whether one dies today or in a hundred years, ultimately every living being is sure to die [see also B.G. 2: 27-28]. (39) When the body has to return to the five elements, the indweller automatically, according to his own karma, receives a new body upon abandoning the old one. (40) The way a person as he walks, changes from one foot to the other, and the way a caterpillar, on a plant [moves from one leaf to another], a living being likewise has to experience the consequences of his karma [see also B.G. 2: 22 and 2: 13]. (41) Just as one in a dream, being endowed with the qualities of a material body, is subjected to that what the mind is thinking and one's consciousness is fully absorbed by that what one hears and sees, one is the same way forgetful in one's present body [about the body and karma acquired in a previous life, see also 4.29: 60-79 and 5.26]. (42) The mind, impelled by fate and deliberation, moves from one position to the next, so that the embodied soul, after the demise of its physical frame, obtains a birth and arrives at a [new] body in accordance with the material quality [and the evolution] he was experiencing [B.G. 13: 22, 14: 14-15 and 6: 34-35]. (43) The way the reflection of the luminaries, as one may observe them in water or other liquids, being moved by the wind offers distortions in different shapes, the person, the living entity, likewise, in the situation that was created by his own imaginative power in association with the natural modes [the world with its changing qualities], gets bewildered depending his attachments [to different bodies or distortions of his form. See also 5.5: 4 and B.G. 9: 12-13, 12: 5]. (44) Therefore everyone, to the interest of his own welfare [and good rebirth], should not harm anybody, for the evil-doer has to live in fear for others himself [the 'golden rule']. (45) This innocent woman, your younger sister, completely depends on you like she was your own daughter - do not kill her. She means good to you and she deserves your care and compassion!'*: To recall what was described in the previous chapters: Lord Rāma appeared in the sūrya-vams'a of Iksvāku or sun dynasty and Lord Krishna appeared in the candra-vams'a or moon dynasty.
(46) S'rī S'uka said: 'He, feeling no pity, could, by these attempts of good advise, not be stopped or pacified, oh son of Kuru, for he followed the course of the man-eaters [the Rākshasas]. (47) Seeing his determination, Vasudeva thought deeply about how he, with this immediate threat of death, could stop him, and thus he arrived at the following alternative. (48) [He thought:] 'An intelligent person should, as long as he is in control of his mental and physical faculties, ward off death, but when someone is faced with the inevitability of death, this rule does not apply. (49-50) If I promise to deliver my sons to this man of doom, I might set my innocent Devakī free. Perhaps I do not get any sons or maybe he will die beforehand. That might happen or the contrary. Who knows what fate has in store for us? That is difficult to say. Even though the threat remains hereafter, I, at least for the moment, may avert her death. (51) When a piece of wood for some reason escapes from a fire, that is decided by providence and nothing else. Even so one cannot determine why a living being assumes or abandons a [particular] body.' (52) After contemplating this way to the best of his ability, the God-fearing man paid the sinner his obeisances and submitted the proposal to him with the greatest attention. (53) With a big lotus-like smile on his face, but with anxiety and sorrow in his heart, he then spoke to the cruel-hearted, shameless man. (54) S'rī Vasudeva said: 'You have, according to what the voice from heaven vibrated, nothing to fear from Devakī indeed. Her sons gave rise to your anxiety and I shall deliver them therefore all to you.'
(55) S'rī S'uka said: 'Kamsa, understanding the essence of what he said, was for the time being stopped from killing his sister. With him more at ease, Vasudeva then was happy to come home [unharmed]. (56) Thereafter in due course of time Devakī, the mother of all divinity [see 4.31: 14 and B.G. 10: 2], year after year gave birth to indeed [as said in 9.24: 53-55] eight sons and a daughter. (57) Most afraid to break his promise Ānakadundubhi [or Vasudeva, see 9.24: 28-31] with great pain handed his first born baby, Kīrtimān, over to Kamsa. (58) What would be too painful for a saint, on what would a sage depend, what would be forbidden to a bad person and what would for someone holding on to the soul be too hard to forsake? (59) Oh King, when Kamsa saw that Vasudeva was equanimous, truthful and certain of himself, he, satisfied about that, with a grin on his face said: (60) 'You can take this child back, my fear does not concern him, my death was predicted from the eighth pregnancy you have with your wife.'
(61) 'Very well', Ānakadundubhi said, took his son back and left without attaching too much value to the words of that untruthful character lacking in self-control. (62-63) Oh scion of Bharata, beginning with Nanda [Krishna's foster father] all the inhabitants of Vraja, all the cowherds and their wives, as also all the Vrishnis beginning with Vasudeva and Devakī, and the Yadu women, in truth were gods from heaven indeed. And also the relatives, friends and well-wishers following Kamsa were of that nature [see also verse 22 and B.G. 6: 41-42]. (64) This was all communicated to Kamsa by the all-powerful Nārada [**], who paid him a visit in order to tell him that all the Daityas who burdened the earth were going to be killed [see verse 17 and also 9.24: 56]. (65-66) After the rishi had left Kamsa thought that all the Yadus were divine and that therefore any child born from Devakī could be Vishnu. He thus in fear of his own death arrested Vasudeva and Devakī, confined them at home in shackles and killed, one after the other, each of their newborn sons, not knowing whether it would be the 'Never-born' Lord or not [***]. (67) Kings like him, who on this earth are driven by animalistic pleasures and greed, usually put to death mothers, fathers, brothers, friends or anyone else. (68) He had understood [from Nārada] that he in a previous life, as the great Asura Kālanemi, personally had been killed by Vishnu [see 8.10: 56]. Therefore he, born again in this world, became an enemy of the Yadu dynasty [that carried the blessings of Vishnu]. (69) He, the almighty ruler, subdued [and imprisoned] his own father Ugrasena, the king of the Yadus, Bhojas and Andhakas, so that he could enjoy the states of S'ūrasena all by himself.'
**: An additional verse in this chapter of S'rīmad Bhāgavatam is accepted by the Madhvācārya-sampradāya, represented by Vijayadhvaja Tīrtha. The verse is as follows:atha kamsam upāgamya
vākyam etad uvāca ha
atha: in this way; kamsam: unto Kamsa; upāgamya: after going; nāradah: the great sage Nārada; brahma-nandanah: who is the son of Brahmā; ekāntam upasangamya: after going to a very solitary place; vākyam: the following instruction; etat: this; uvāca: said; ha: in the past.
"Thereafter, Nārada, the mental son of Lord Brahmā, approached Kamsa and, in a very solitary place, informed him of the following news."
***: Svāmī Prabhupāda comments: 'Formerly an Asura named Kālanemi had six sons, named Hamsa, Suvikrama, Krātha, Damana, Ripurmardana and Krodhahantā. They were known as the Shad-garbhas, or six Garbhas, and they were all equally powerful and expert in military affairs. These Shad-garbhas gave up the association of Hiranyakas'ipu, their grandfather, and underwent great austerities to satisfy Lord Brahmā, who, upon being satisfied, agreed to give them whatever benediction they might desire. When asked by Lord Brahmā to state what they wanted, the Shad-garbhas replied: "Dear Lord Brahmā, if you want to give us a benediction, give us the blessing that we will not be killed by any demigod, Mahā-roga, Yaksha, Gandharva-pati, Siddha, Cārana or human being, nor by great sages who are perfect in their penances and austerities." Brahmā understood their purpose and fulfilled their desire. But when Hiranyakas'ipu came to know of these events, he was very angry at his grandsons. "You have given up my association and have gone to worship Lord Brahmā", he said, "and therefore I no longer have any affection for you. You have tried to save yourselves from the hands of the demigods, but I curse you in this way: Your father will take birth as Kamsa and kill all of you because you will take birth as sons of Devakī." Because of this curse, the grandsons of Hiranyakas'ipu had to take birth from the womb of Devakī and be killed by Kamsa, although he was previously their father. This description is mentioned in the Hari-vams'a, Vishnu-parva, Second Chapter. According to the comments of the Vaishnava-toshanī, the son of Devakī, known as Kīrtimān, was the third incarnation. In his first incarnation he was known as Smara and was the son of Marīci, and later he became the son of Kālanemi. This is mentioned in the histories.'
Chapter 2: Prayers by the Demigods for Lord Krishna in the Womb
*: Svāmī Prabhupāda comments: 'Symbolically, mother Devakī's constant fear of Kamsa was purifying her. A pure devotee should always fear material association, and in this way all the Asuras of material association will be killed, as the Shad-garbhāsuras were killed by Kamsa. It is said that from the mind, Marīci appears. In other words, Marīci is an incarnation of the mind. Marīci has six sons: Kāma, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Mada and Mātsarya (lust, anger, greed, illusion, madness and envy). The Supreme Personality of Godhead appears in pure devotional service. This is confirmed in the Vedas: bhaktir evainam dars'ayati. Only bhakti can bring one in contact with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Supreme Personality of Godhead appeared from the womb of Devakī, and therefore Devakī symbolically represents bhakti, and Kamsa symbolically represents material fear. When a pure devotee always fears material association, his real position of bhakti is manifested, and he naturally becomes uninterested in material enjoyment. When the six sons of Marīci are killed by such fear and one is freed from material contamination, within the womb of bhakti the Supreme Personality of Godhead appears. Thus the seventh pregnancy of Devakī signifies the appearance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. After the six sons Kāma, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Mada and Mātsarya are killed, the S'esha incarnation creates a suitable situation for the appearance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In other words, when one awakens his natural Krishna consciousness, Lord Krishna appears. This is the explanation given by S'rīla Vis'vanātha Cakravartī Thhākura.'(1-2) S'rī S'uka said: 'Under the protection of the mighty king of Maghada, Jarāsandha [see 9.22: 8], with the assistance of characters like Pralamba, Baka, Cānūra, Trināvarta, Aghāsura, Mushthika, Arishtha, Dvivida, Pūtanā, Kes'ī, Dhenuka, and Asura kings like Bāna, Bhaumāsura and more of those, there was a systematic persecution [by Kamsa] of the kings of Yadu. (3) Being harassed they sought shelter in the countries of the Kurus, the Pańcālas, the Kekayas, the S'ālvas, the Vidharbas, the Nishadhas, the Videhas and the Kos'alas. (4-5) Some of their relatives though followed the policy of the son of Ugrasena [Kamsa]. When Kamsa had killed six of the children born from Devakī, the seventh one, a plenary expansion of Vishnu who was celebrated with the name Ananta, therefore as an embryo in the womb of Devakī gave rise to both pleasure and sorrow. (6) When the Supreme Lord, who is also the Supersoul of each living being [see also B.G. 10: 11], learned about the fear for Kamsa of the Yadus who had accepted Him as their refuge, He instructed His spiritual potency [Yoga-māyā] as follows: (7) 'Oh Devī so good for all living beings, please go to Vraja, that beautiful place with its cowherds and cows, where Rohinī and the other wives of Vasudeva in seclusion, out of fear for Kamsa, are living in the cowherd community [the gokula] of Nanda. (8) In the womb of Devakī there is the embryo known as [Ananta-]S'esha who is a plenary expansion of Me. Take care of a smooth transition from her womb to the womb of Rohinī [*]. (9) At that time I will, with all My different parts [with My full potency], become Devakī's son, oh all-auspicious one. Meanwhile you will appear as the daughter of Yas'odā, the wife of Nanda. (10) The people [the s'āktas as opposed to the Vaishnavas] will worship you, with incense, in different forms of sacrifice as being the best Goddess for all desires, for you, with bestowing your blessings, fulfill every wish. (11-12) Depending on the place on earth [**] you will be celebrated with different names like Durgā, Bhadrakāli, Vijayā, Vaishnavī, Kumudā, Candikā, Krishnā, Mādhavī, Kanyakā [or Kanyā-kumārī], Māyā, Nārāyanī, Īs'ānī, S'āradā and Ambikā [***]. (13) Because He changes wombs [from Devakī to the womb of Rohinī] the people of the world will address Him with the name Sankarshana, because He brings pleasure to the people [of Gokula] He will be called Rāma, and because of His great physical strength He will be named Balabhadra.'
(14) Thus being instructed by the Supreme Lord, she accepted His words with the mantra 'Om'. After next circumambulating Him, she went away to execute exactly what was told [compare B.G. 16: 24]. (15) When Devakī's embryo, owing to the slumber of yoga [raised by Yoga-māyā, see B.G. 2: 69], was transferred to Rohinī, everyone lamented: 'Alas, the baby is lost' [thinking it was a miscarriage]. (16) The Supreme Lord, the Soul of All, who always puts an end to the fear of His devotees, then with His full potency entered the mind of Vasudeva [see also 3.2: 15]. (17) Carrying [within himself] the effulgent shelter of the Original Personality, Vasudeva shone like the sun, and he thus for everyone became difficult to behold or approach. (18) He, the Blessing of the Complete Universe, who is Infallible in All His Parts, was thereafter by the son of S'ūrasena [Vasudeva] in full transferred from mind to mind to his devī [Devakī], so that she, preserving the Supreme Soul and Cause of all Causes, bloomed of happiness like the eastern sky. (19) Devakī with in her womb the Sustainer of All the Universes, could not freely radiate her light, being confined in the Bhoja house like the flames of a covered fire or like the knowledge of a man unable to express himself [****]. (20) But Kamsa saw her radiating with the beauty of having the Invincible One within her womb, and that she cleared the entire atmosphere with her brilliant smiles. He said to himself: 'The one who now has entered the womb of Devakī must be the Lord who is going to kill me. She never before looked like this! (21) What should I do now, not to neglect my self interest? I assume that the Example of Virtue will not give up His ways. The killing of a woman, my sister, especially when she is pregnant, will for ever tarnish my reputation and opulence, and will shorten my life span. (22) That person is dead being alive who lives his life with much cruelty. When the body is finished everyone will condemn him. With his physical concept of life [see also 7.5: 30 and 5.5: 5 and B.G. 16: 18-21] he will certainly enter the deepest darkness [Andhatama, see also 3.20: 18 and 5.26: 9].'
(23) Thus contemplating the ghastly idea of killing [the mother], he refrained from it and kept himself under control. Persisting in enmity he awaited the moment that the Lord would take birth. (24) Whether he sat or lay down, wherever he was, he ate or went, he [filled with hatred] thought about Hrishīkes'a, the Lord of the Senses. He meant the entire world to him. (25) But Lord Brahmā and Lord S'iva assembled there, together with the sages, Nārada and other divine personalities and their followers, in order to please Him, the Strongest Man of All, with prayers: (26) 'You are the truth of the vow [see 9.24: 56 and B.G. 9: 22], the truth of the Supreme and the truth of the threefoldness [of e.g. the past, present and future]. You are the source of all truth who pervades all truths, You are the truth of everything that is held true, the original truth of each truth that meets the eye, and the truth of all that pertains to the Supreme Soul, of You, whom we offer our full surrender. (27) The original tree [of this universe, our body], in which one finds two birds [the soul and the Supersoul], is one in its dependence [on matter], is two in its fruits [of happiness and grief], is three in its roots [the three modes], is four in its tastes [the purushārthas, the civil virtues], is five in its knowing [by the senses], is six in its conditions [of lamentation, illusion, old age, death, hunger and thirst], is seven in its layers ['the bark' or the koshas, the different bodies], is eight in its branches [the elements, mind, intelligence and ego], is nine in its apertures and is ten in its foliage [or the ten airs, see 7.15: 42]. (28) You as the One and All are the Original Source of this visible universe [this tree]. You are the mercy [the conservation] when we are thrown in despair [meet destruction]. Those whose intelligence is covered by Your māyā and miss the vision of the devotees and scholars, cannot see You behind the diversity. (29) For the sake of every living being, moving or not moving, You watch over the soul and beatitude, in assuming all sorts of forms consisting of pure goodness, that bring transcendental happiness to virtuous souls, and that time and again put an end to those who are wicked. (30) Fully engaged in a constant meditation on You as the abode of the complete consciousness, oh Lotus-eyed Lord, by that one-pointedness as practiced by the greatest, one gets on board of the boat of Your lotus feet that reduces the great ocean of nescience to [the size of] a calf's hoof print [compare 10.1: 5-7]. (31) Once they personally have crossed the so difficult to pass ocean of darkness, oh Light of the World, they [the experienced devotees] who, because of Your mercy for the truth loving souls, are full of goodwill [to help], leave behind the boat [the method] of Your lotus feet in this world [see also B.G. 6: 44]. (32) All others who neglect Your feet, oh Lotus-eyed One, are caught in an illusion of being liberated, and have, bereft of You, an impure intelligence. Even though they are successful in severe practices [of penance and such] they, from their elevated position, fall down again back into the material world [see also B.G. 8: 15-16 and 5.6: 11]. (33) They who follow You in devotion, oh Mādhava, unlike the non-devotees, do not fall away from the path. Because they are fully attached to You, they are protected by You and move without fear over the heads of those who march against them, oh Master [see also 1.5: 17 and B.G. 18: 78]. (34) For the purpose of maintaining [Your rule], Your Lordship, existing beyond the modes, assumes a form for the benefit and welfare of all embodied souls, so that human society, in accordance with the Veda, by [bhakti-]yoga and penance being absorbed in Your worship, may be of sacrifice [see also B.G. 3: 9 & 18: 3]. (35) How could we have arrived at Your wisdom, that drives away the ignorance, if the purity of existence, oh Source of the World, would not be this constancy of You [being present]? The ignorance is completely vanquished when that quality of Yours is awakened by Your Lordship manifesting Yourself, and for that there is no alternative. (36) Oh Lord, on the path of the words and assumptions of those who look after the mind only [the impersonal intellect], Your name, form, qualities and actions cannot be ascertained. You are only realized when one [actually] puts Your name and form into practice [with ceremony and song; see also 1.3: 37-38, 4.18: 5, 7.15: 58 and B.G. 6: 24 & 18: 55]. (37) Constantly hearing, reciting, remembering and contemplating Your auspicious names [see 7.5: 23-24] and forms, he, who is of an undivided attention in service at Your lotus feet, no longer is capable of losing himself in the material world [see also 6.17: 28-31]. (38) In having this planet earth as the place of Your feet, oh Lord, it is our fortune to see the Asura burden removed by You. Due to the causeless mercy of Your manifestation as the Controller of All, we may enjoy the fortune of witnessing, both in heaven and on earth, the marks of Your transcendentally decorated lotus feet [the conch, the lotus, the club and the disc]. (39) For You, who directs our lives, there exists [actually] no such thing as being born [or dying, like we have to face]. However, it suffers no doubt that the cause of one's being born cannot exist without the pleasure [of Your liberating pastimes]. You after all are with the being born, maintaining and dying of us normal souls - which is arranged by the external energy - our safe haven against all fear. (40) In the form of a fish, a horse, a tortoise, a lion, a boar, a swan [or self-realized sage], a king, and as a man of learning among the God-fearing souls [like Lord Vāmana], Your Lordship has appeared as avatāras. Now please save us and the three worlds, oh Controller, diminish the earth's burden, oh best of the Yadus, we dedicate all our prayers to You [see also 1.3]. (41) [and towards Devakī they prayed:] To our fortune, oh mother, the Supreme Personality with all His energies can now be seen in your womb. The Supreme Lord is full of mercy for everyone. Fear therefore never the master of the Bhojas [Kamsa], who wishes to be killed by Him, the protector of the Yadu dynasty, who will become Your son.'
(42) S'rī S'uka said: 'After thus having offered their prayers unto the Original Personality whose form is Transcendental, all the demigods, lead by Brahmā and S'iva, returned to their abodes.'
**: The names by which Māyādevī is known in different places have been listed by Vallabhācārya as follows. In Vārānasī she is known as Durgā, in Avantī she is known as Bhadrakālī, in Orissa she is known as Vijayā, and in Kulahāpura she is known as Vaishnavī or Mahālakshmī (the representatives of Mahālakshmī and Ambikā are present in Bombay). In the country known as Kāmarūpa she is known as Candikā, in Northern India as S'āradā, and in Cape Comorin as Kanyakā. Thus she is distributed according to various names in various places.
***: S'rīla Vijayadhvaja Tīrthapāda, in his Pada-ratnāvalī-tīkā, has explained the meanings of the different representations. Māyā is known as Durgā because she is approached with great difficulty, as Bhadrā because she is auspicious, and as Kālī because she is deep blue. Because she is the most powerful energy, she is known as Vijayā; because she is one of the different energies of Vishnu, she is known as Vaishnavī; and because she enjoys in this material world and gives facilities for material enjoyment, she is known as Kumudā. Because she is very severe to her enemies, the Asuras, she is known as Candikā, and because she gives all sorts of material facilities, she is called Krishnā. In this way the material energy is differently named and situated in different places on the surface of the globe.
****: S'rī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said:yāre dekha, tāre kaha 'krishna'-upades'a
āmāra ājńāya guru hańā tāra' ei des'a
"Instruct everyone to follow the orders of Lord S'rī Krishna as they are given in Bhagavad Gītā and S'rīmad Bhāgavatam. In this way become a spiritual master and try to liberate everyone in this land." (Cc. Madhya 7.128)
Chapter 3: The Birth of Lord Krishna
(1-5) S'rī S'uka said: 'Then there was the supremely auspicious hour that, with the constellation of Rohinī rising, was endowed with all qualities. All the stars and planets stood in a favorable position. There was peace all around, all the stars twinkled in the sky, and the cities, towns, pasturing grounds and mines were at their best. With the rivers crystal clear and the lakes beautiful with lotuses, with the flocks of birds and the swarms of bees sweetly singing their praise in the blooming forests, the breezes fragrant and free from dust blew with a gentle touch, while the fires of the brahmins burned steadily and undisturbed. The minds of the virtuous souls, who were oppressed by the Asura [Kamsa and his men], cleared up when in that situation the kettledrums resounded together to celebrate the birth of the Unborn One. (6) The Kinnaras and Gandharvas [the excellent souls and the singers of heaven] sang, the Siddhas and Cāranas [the perfected souls and the demigods] offered prayers and the Vidyādhara women [the wives of the scientists] danced in great jubilation together with the Apsaras [the dancing girls of heaven]. (7-8) The sages and the demigods joyously showered the finest flowers, and the clouds rumbled silently like the ocean waves, when, at the darkest hour of the night, Janārdana, the World's Well-wisher, appeared from the divine form of Devakī. Lord Vishnu, He who resides in the heart of everyone, manifested Himself in full, like the full moon rising in the east. (9-10) That wonderful child, with its lotus-like eyes and its four arms that held different weapons [and other attributes, like] a conch, a club and so on, was decorated with the S'rīvatsa mark, with the shining Kaustubha jewel around its neck, with yellow garments and with a beautiful hue like that of rain clouds. Vasudeva saw Him [the Lord] beautifully decorated sparkling with a with vaidūrya (tiger's eye) studded helmet, with rings in His ears, with luxuriant scattered locks of hair, with an exquisite belt around His waist, and with armlets and bracelets on His arms. (11) Ānakadundubhi was amazed to see the beautiful appearance of the Lord as his son. Overwhelmed by great jubilation he lost himself in dreams of holding a festival to the occasion of the descent of Krishna, a festivity where he would donate ten thousand cows to the brahmins.
(12) Oh son of Bharata, understanding that the child definitely was the Original Personality, he lost all his fears. Having arrived at that conclusion he, enraptured by His majesty, fell down with folded hands to offer prayers to Him who illumined His birth place in every direction. (13) Vasudeva said: 'You, my Lordship, are the Original Person Himself, transcendental to material nature, You are the absolute understanding and blissfulness [sat-cit-ānanda] in its true form, the intelligence that watches over each. (14) You, for sure, we know as He who, after in the beginning by His personal energy having created this world consisting of the three modes [see B.G. 7: 4-6], next seems to have entered [as avatāras], but in reality You did not do so [see also 7.12: 15 and B.G. 9: 11]. (15-17) It is like the notion of the material elements [earth, water, air, fire and ether] that have not changed at all, even though they are caught in many combinations of different separated energies [of organisms or molecules], that together form the complete of the universe. After in their association having appeared, it seems that the primal elements have entered creation later on, but that entering of this world never took place since they existed there before. The same way, oh my Lord, reasoning from true intelligence and such attributes, You, despite being in touch with the objects of the senses and the modes of nature, are not determined by those material qualities at all. You after all [being the complete], are not covered by them. Because You are the root of everyone and everything, there is no such thing as a within and a without to You, the Supersoul of all existence [see also 7.12: 15 and B.G. 9: 4-6]. (18) Anyone who, in the position of being recognizable as a material body, continues to act as if he would have an existence for himself, separate from the original self or soul, is a fool. He is a person who, in his false identification, will be rejected as being stupid for lacking in proper analysis and missing the full consideration of 'that' [or tat. See also B.G. 18: 16, B.G. 7: 4-5 and *]. (19) Oh Almighty Lord, the birth, the maintaining and the ending of this all, is there, so conclude the scholars, because of You, who are free from inclinations, free from changes, and free from the modes. This is not contradictory, because You, who are both the Lord and the Supreme Brahman, constitute the solid foundation for the fundamental qualities of nature [see B.G. 9: 10]. (20) You therefore [as that basis, as that transcendence], in order to maintain the three worlds with Your energy, assume a white form from the Soul [in goodness and knowledge], assume the color red belonging to the passion of creation [the movement], as also assume the form of darkness [of ignorance] for the purpose of the ultimate destruction. (21) You, now here present, oh Mighty One, have appeared in my home as the Completeness of Control, with the wish to protect this planet and punish all the demoniac men and their armies who, unenlightened, by the millions, all over the world pose as kings and statesmen [see also B.G. 4: 8]. (22) But he who is so godless [Kamsa] and who, after hearing about Your taking birth in our home, has killed all the brothers who were born before You, oh Lord of the God-fearing souls, will be informed by his lieutenants about Your appearance, and undoubtedly immediately take up his arms.'
(23) S'uka said: 'After having seen that their son was endowed with all the characteristics of the Supreme Personality, Devakī, who had been afraid of Kamsa but now was most [happily] surprised [about the arrival of Krishna], offered Him prayers. (24) S'rī Devakī said: 'Being the 'tat' form [or the substance of our oneness in diversity], You are sometimes called the imperceptible one, the original one, or Brahman, the light, the freedom above the modes, the changeless one and pure existence [the measure of goodness and perfection]. You are the undivided one free from material motives, who is directly Lord Vishnu, the light of the Supersoul [compare B.G. 14: 27]. (25) When, after millions and millions of years, the cosmos runs at its end, the primary elements merge with their primal forms, and everything that manifested, by the force of Time, turns into the unmanifest, You, oh Lord with the Many Names, are the only one to remain. (26) This so powerful Time factor, by which, from the smallest measure of time up to the measure of a year, this entire creation works, is said to be Your action, the movement of You, the secure abode, the Supreme Controller, whom I offer my surrender. (27) The mortals, afraid of the serpent of death, flee in all directions but cannot shake off the fear. Only when they happen to obtain Your lotus feet, they sleep undisturbed and have death running away from them. (28) Oh Lordship, can You, in Your form as the One dispelling the fears of Your servants, protect us against the terrible son of Ugrasena we fear so much? And please, can You, as this Original Personality we attend to in meditation, make it so that You are not directly visible to those who consider You as having a physical form [compare B.G. 11: 8]? (29) Oh Madhusūdana, off balance because of Kamsa, I am plagued by fear with Your appearance. May Your taking birth from my womb escape the attention of that great sinner. (30) Please, oh All-pervading One, withdraw this supernatural four-armed form, that is equipped with the attributes of the conch, lotus, disc and club. (31) The entire creation, with everything that belongs to it, is by You, oh Lord, oh transcendental Original Personality, easily sheltered and kept within Your body at the time of devastation. But to see You now having entered my body is something unimaginable in the human world, oh Godhead!'
(32) The Supreme Lord replied: 'In a previous age you became known as Pris'ni, oh chaste lady, and he [Vasudeva] at the time was a Prajāpati called Sutapā, an impeccable person. (33) When Lord Brahmā told you both to create offspring, you were thereafter of severe austerities to keep your senses under control. (34-35) Enduring the rain, the wind, the blistering sun and the severe cold and heat of the seasonal changes, you, by practicing restraint, freed your mind from contaminations. Eating fallen leaves and air only, you became pure and peaceful, performed My worship in serenity and prayed for a boon from Me. (36) While you, with your mind fixed on Me, thus in severe penance practiced the most difficult austerities, twelve thousand celestial years passed. (37-38) By this determination of heart and constant, faithful service and penance, oh sinless souls, I, proclaimed to be the most favorable bestower of boons, being very satisfied with the both of you, then appeared in this form. Eager to fulfill your desires I told you to think about a boon for yourselves, whereupon you asked for a son just like Me. (39) You, who as a man and wife without a son, disappointed sensually, were so strongly attracted to My divine energy, never asked Me for being liberated from this world [see also 4.9: 30-35]. (40) After you received the benediction and I had left, you enjoyed sexual intercourse, whereupon the two of you achieved the desired result of having a son like Me. (41) Because I did not find anyone else in this world with your noble character and qualities, I became your son and am thus known as Pris'nigarbha [see also 11.5: 26]. (42) Through Kas'yapa born from Aditi, I again appeared from the two of you with the name Upendra, and was also called Vāmana because I was a dwarf [see 8.17-22]. (43) True to My word, for the third time appearing in this manner in a form like this, I again took My birth from the two of you, oh chaste lady. (44) I showed you this [four-handed] form to remind you of My previous appearances. With the transient form, the spiritual understanding of My identity would otherwise not arise [in you]. (45) When you treat Me with love and affection, the two of you, in your constant awareness of Me as being both your son and the Absolute Truth, will thus attain My transcendental abode.'
(46) S'rī S'uka said: 'Thus having spoken, the Personality of Godhead, the Supreme Lord, was silent, and directly He, before the eyes of His parents, from His inner potency assumed the form of an ordinary human child. (47) When thereafter the son of S'ūrasena, as instructed by the Supreme Lord, carefully wanted to carry his son away from the place of delivery, precisely at that time Yogamāyā [see 10.2: 6-12], the one [of transcendence who factually is] never born, took her birth from the wife of Nanda. (48-49) By her influence the guards and the rest of the people, being fast asleep, had lost consciousness of all their senses. As soon as Vasudeva carrying Krishna approached, all the heavy doors and gates, sealed with bolts and chains, opened wide out of their own, like darkness dissipated by the sun. The slightly rumbling clouds showered rain, but S'esha Nāga followed them and stopped the rains with His hoods spread out. (50) The surface of the deep waters of Yamarāja's younger sister, the Yamunā, was foaming because of Indra's constant showers. The waters whirled agitated, but the waves of the forceful, fierce stream gave way, just like the ocean did before the Husband of Sītā [Lord Rāma, see 9.10: 13-15]. (51) The son of S'ūrasena reached the cow-village of Nanda, and found all the cowherds there fast asleep. While they slept he put his son on Yas'odā's bed, took up her daughter and then returned home. (52) There he placed the little girl on Devakī's bed, and put the shackles back on his feet so that he remained bound as before. (53) Yas'odā, Nanda's wife, delivering her child had no idea what it precisely looked like, because being overwhelmed by sleep from the hard labor, she lay unconscious.'
*: Svāmī Prabhupāda comments: 'If we regard this world as false, we fall into the category of Asuras, who say that this world is unreal, with no foundation and no God in control (asatyam apratishthham te jagad āhur anīs'varam). As described in the Sixteenth Chapter of Bhagavad Gītā, this is the conclusion of demons.'
Chapter 4: The Atrocities of King Kamsa
(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'With all the outer and inner doors of the building closed as before, the guards of the prison woke up when they heard the newborn child cry. (2) They hurried to report it to the king of Bhoja who fearfully awaited the time that Devakī would deliver. (3) He quickly got out of bed and said: 'The Time has arrived' and went perturbed, with his hair on his head disheveled, immediately to the place of birth.
(4) The chaste Devakī, miserably and full of pity, said to Kamsa, her brother: 'All good fortune to you, this girl will be your daughter-in-law. You should not kill a woman. (5) Following the voice from above you have killed many children brilliant as fire, my brother. Please allow me this one daughter. (6) I am still your poor younger and childless sister, is it not? Oh master, dear brother, hold back, you owe me this last child.'
(7) S'rī S'uka said: 'In tears clasping her baby, she pleaded most piteously, but he most cruelly with a growl tore it away from her hands. (8) Having abandoned all his familial affection, he took the newborn child of his sister by its legs and wanted to smash the daughter against the stone floor. (9) But it slipped midair out of his hands and appeared that very instant in the sky as Devī [Durgā], the younger sister of Vishnu, with her eight mighty arms complete with weapons [see also 8.12: 40]. (10-11) Adorned with sandalwood pulp, flower garlands, valuable jewels and being nicely dressed, she held a bow, a lance, arrows, a shield, a sword, a conch, a lotus and a disc. With different presentations being worshipped by the Siddhas [the perfected souls], the Cāranas [the venerable souls], the Gandharvas [the singers of heaven], the Apsaras [the dancing girls], the Kinnaras [the souls specially talented] and the Uragas [the 'divine snakes'], she said the following: (12) 'What's the use of killing me, oh fool! He, your former enemy [see 1.68] who will kill you, has already been born [and is now] somewhere else. Stop this unnecessary murder of poor little babies.'
(13) After the Goddess of the immense power of māyā thus had spoken to him, she [disappeared and] became known in different places on earth under diverse names [such as Annapūrnā, Durgā, Kālī and Bhadrā, see 10.2: 10 & 11]. (14) When Kamsa heard the words she spoke, he was struck with wonder and forthwith released Devakī and Vasudeva, saying humbly: (15) 'My dear sister and brother-in-law, I, because of my sins behaving like a cannibal eating his own kids, have alas killed your many sons. (16) I am really such a one who, mercilessly cruel, denies his relatives and friends their life. What kind of world is someone, who engages like a brahmin-killer, heading for, here or in the hereafter? (17) Not just human beings, but also heaven can be misleading. Just because I believed the prophecy, I most sinfully killed all my sister's children! (18) Oh blessed souls, do not lament over your sons, for all who are born are burdened by their own deeds [in a previous life, see footnote 3 ch. 1]. Living beings have to abide by their fate and cannot always live in the same place. (19) Everything on earth, and all which is produced from earth [like pots], appears and disappears again. This physical body similarly undergoes change, but the soul, just like the earth element itself, does not [compare 10.3: 15-17]. (20) When one, without knowledge of this difference [between body and soul], does not properly identify with the true self, and one thus, falsely being united with the body, is of separation [in one's heart and society], one cannot break through the repetition of one's conditioned life [viz. one can only unite in consciousness]. (21) Because everyone unwillingly has to face the consequences of his own actions, you, my dear sister, should not lament over your sons killed by me. (22) As long as one does not know oneself [as a soul] and one with a mistaken notion thinks of oneself as someone who kills or gets killed [thus as being a body], one is an ignoramus running into the pains of material distress [see also B.G. 3: 9 & 18: 17 and nitya-mukta]. (23) Please forgive me my atrocities, you are both saintly, humble and loving souls!' Saying this he clasped the feet of his sister and brother-in-law, with tears rolling down his cheeks.
(24) Trusting the words of Durgā he released Vasudeva and Devakī from their shackles, and thus proved his heart for the family. (25) Because he showed remorse, Devakī was relieved of her anger with her brother, and Vasudeva also gave up his anger. He said to him with a smile: (26) 'What you said about embodied souls in the grip of ignorance is correct, oh man of great fortune, one thus makes a difference between one's own interest and that of others. (27) When people consider everything as existing separately, they go at each other's cost and are filled with lamentation, lust, fear, hate, greed, illusion and madness. Discriminating like that, one does not see one's continuity [the 'thread', the soul, one's connectedness].'
(28) S'ri S'uka said: 'Kamsa, thus free from impurities being answered by the appeased Devakī and Vasudeva, took leave and entered his palace. (29) After the night had passed Kamsa called for his ministers and informed them about everything that the 'Slumber of Yoga', Durgā [or Yoga-māyā], had said. (30) Upon hearing what their master had to say, the Daitya opponents of the demigods, who resented them and were not that skilled, replied [see also B.G. 9: 12]: (31) 'Well, in that case, oh King of Bhoja, let us right now kill all the children about ten days old or younger, in every town, village and pasturing ground. (32) What can the demigods do in their fear to fight? They are terrified by the sound of your bowstring! (33) Facing your many devoted arrows, hitting them from all sides, they left and right fled from the fight to save their lives. (34) Some of those inhabitants of heaven, with their hair and clothing in disarray and bereft of their weapons, folded miserably their hands before you while saying: 'We are so afraid of you!' (35) And you killed none of them when they were scared to death, when they had lost their chariots, they did not know how to use their weapons anymore, when they wanted other things than fighting or when their bows were broken and they could not respond any longer. (36) What to say about the position taken by the so very powerful gods? Away from the fighting they can boast! And what of Lord Hari? He is hiding in the heart! Should we fear Lord S'iva then? He is living in the forest! And Indra then? He is not much of a hero either! And Brahmā? He always meditates! (37) Still we think that the demigods because of their enmity should not be overlooked. Engage us, your faithful followers, therefore to uproot them! (38) Just like a disease of the body that, once neglected, in its acute stage by men cannot be treated anymore, and like senses disregarded [that later on cannot be controlled], similarly a great enemy that became too strong cannot be removed. (39) Lord Vishnu is the foundation of the demigods. He lies at the bottom of the traditional religious duties and the brahminical order with its cows, its scholars, its penances and the sacrifices that require compensation [see also 7.5: 31]. (40) We therefore by all means, oh King, will endeavor to put an end to the brahmins and their brahminical talk, those repenters so busy with their sacrifices and their cows that deliver the ghee! (41) The scholars, the cows and the Vedas, the austerity, the truthfulness and the sense control, the equanimity, the faith, the mercy and the tolerance, as also the ceremonies, are all part of Hari. (42) He is the leader of all the Suras and the enemy of the Asuras. He is in all hearts. At His feet all the demigods are found, including their controller [S'iva] and the four-faced one [Brahmā]. Really, the only way to prevent Him is to persecute all His sages, devotees and saints.'
(43) S'rī S'uka said: 'Thus rather ignorantly deliberating with his evil counselors, Kamsa, who as a demon was ruled by the Lord of Death, thought that the best thing he could do was to persecute the brahmins [and their followers]. (44) After he gave the Dānavas, those adherents of violence and destruction who could assume any form, permission to fight all the repenters in the world, the demons spread in all directions. Kamsa then returned to his quarters. (45) Filled with a passion of the deepest darkness they, bewildered with the shadow of death hanging over them, engaged in the persecution of the virtuous souls. (46) Of a person trespassing against great personalities, the benedictions of a long life, beauty, fame, religion, talents and a place in heaven, are all destroyed.'
Chapter 5: Krishna's Birth Ceremony and the Meeting of Nanda Mahārāja and Vasudeva(1-2) S'rī S'uka said: 'Nanda was a man of great devotion. Overjoyed that a son had been born, he invited the scholars conversant with the Veda, cleansed himself with a bath and dressed himself up. In order to celebrate the birth [with a jātakarma ceremony*] as was prescribed, he took care that the mantras were chanted, and also arranged for the worship of the forefathers and demigods. (3) To the brahmins he donated countless fully decorated milk cows and seven mountains of sesame seed, masses of jewels and gold-embroidered cloth. (4) Material things are purified by time, by washing and bathing them, by rituals, by penance, by worship, by charity and by contentment, but the soul is purified by self-realization. (5) The scholars, the storytellers, the reciters and the singers uttered words that purified everyone and everything, while the bherīs and dundubhis [drums] sounded constantly. (6) All of Vraja was swept, the doorsteps, the courtyards and the interiors were sprinkled with water, and a variety of festoons and flags decorated gates that were made with garlands, pieces of cloth and mango leaves. (7) The cows, bulls and calves were smeared with turmeric oil and decorated with a variety of mineral colors, peacock feathers, cloth, golden ornaments and flowers. (8) Oh King, the cowherds [the gopas] gathering there, carried all kinds of gifts and were dressed in the most precious garments, with costly ornaments, coats and turbans. (9) The cowherd wives [the gopīs] were also glad to hear that mother Yas'odā had given birth to a boy, and personally gave their best by appearing in festive dresses with eye make-up and wearing jewelry and such. (10) With their lotus like faces most beautifully decorated with saffron and fresh kunkuma, they with offerings in their hands hurried hither with swaying bosoms and hips. (11) The gopīs wore brilliantly polished jeweled earrings, strings of golden coins around their necks and colorfully embroidered clothes. It was a feast to the eye to see them, with their swinging bangles, earrings, breasts and garlands, thus being dressed going to Nanda's house, while a shower of flowers fell from their hair. (12) They all for a long time pronounced blessings for the newborn child, like 'pāhi' ['be protected'], and sprinkled the Unborn Lord with turmeric oil while saying prayers. (13) With Krishna, the Unlimited Controller of the Entire Universe, arriving in Nanda's cow community, many different musical instruments vibrated in a great festival. (14) The gopas rejoicing, threw curds, milk and buttermilk at each other and smeared with butter. (15-16) In order to offer his child the best prospects and to satisfy Lord Vishnu, Nanda, that noble soul, warm-heartedly honored the gopas, the storytellers, the reciters, the singers, and all those who found their livelihood by their education, with whatever they could wish for and could use as for clothes, ornaments and cows [see also 7.14: 17]. (17) The greatly fortunate Rohinī [the mother of Baladeva, see 10.2: 7] was congratulated by Nanda and Yas'odā, and she also, beautifully dressed and adorned with a garland and a necklace, moved around busily [being engaged in receiving guests]. (18) Oh King, from that time on the cow lands of Nanda became opulent with all riches, for they, now being the residence of the Lord, were by His transcendental qualities transformed into a place for the pastimes of Ramā [the Goddess of Fortune, see 8.8: 8].
(19) Nanda thereafter entrusted the protection of Gokula [the cow village] to his cowherd men and went to Mathurā to pay Kamsa the yearly taxes over his profit, oh best of the Kuru dynasty. (20) Vasudeva, who heard that his [younger step-]brother Nanda [**] had arrived [in the city] - as it turned out to pay his tribute to the king, thereupon went to his camp. (21) When Nanda all of a sudden saw him before his eyes, he very pleased rose to his feet as if his body had found a new life. Overwhelmed by love and affection he embraced his dear friend. (22) Welcoming him respectfully with all regards, he assigned him a seat and informed about his health. Vasudeva, attached as he was, then asked about his two sons, saying the following, oh ruler over the world. (23) 'Dear brother Nanda, advanced in age and having no son, you were desperately longing for one. What a great fortune now to have gotten a son! (24) What a great fortune also to see you here today, it is like a rebirth. Despite being around in this world of birth and death, it is so very hard to meet again your loved ones! (25) Like things that afloat in a river are carried away by the force of the waves, we, intimately living together, do not stay [together] in one place, because our karmic ways are diverging. (26) Is everything alright with your cow business? Is there enough water, grass, plants and such, in the great forest where you are living now with your friends? (27) Oh brother, does my son who with His mother [Rohinī] lives in your house, consider you His father and is He a sweet boy under your loving care? (28) A person's three goals of life as described in the Vedic literatures [the regulation of one's lusts, income and rituals], find their consequence and belief when one is together. But that is not so when that togetherness has become difficult, then they lose their meaning.'
(29) S'rī Nanda said: 'Kamsa killed, alas, the many sons you had with Devakī, and also the one remaining child, the youngest, a daughter, went to heaven. (30) Fate determines the end of all things, providence is elevated above every living being, and the unseen is the ultimate truth of all souls. He who knows this will never get bewildered.'
(31) S'rī Vasudeva said: 'Now that you have paid the king his yearly taxes and we have met, the both of us should not spend more days together in this place. Something might have happened in Gokula!' (32) S'rī S'uka said: 'After that advise of Vasudeva, Nanda and the gopas excused themselves, yoked their oxen to their bullock carts, and then left for Gokula.'
*: The jātakarma birth ceremony, which can take place when the umbilical cord, connecting the child and the placenta, is cut, entails the touching of the tongue of the new-born thrice with ghee preceded by introductory prayers. The birth ceremony for Krishna is also called Nandotsava. The day of yearly celebrating His birth is called Janmāshthamī [the eight day of the month of Bhādra or S'rāvana (August-September)].
**: The paramparā elucidates: 'Vasudeva and Nanda Mahārāja were so intimately connected that they lived like brothers. Furthermore, it is learned from the notes of S'rīpāda Madhvācārya that Vasudeva and Nanda Mahārāja were stepbrothers. Vasudeva's father, S'ūrasena, married a vais'ya girl, and from her Nanda Mahārāja was born. Later, Nanda Mahārāja himself married a vais'ya girl, Yas'odā. Therefore his family is celebrated as a vais'ya family, and Krishna, identifying Himself as their son, took charge of vais'ya activities like the care for cows (krishi-go-rakshya-vānijyam, B.G. 18: 44)'.
Chapter 6: The Killing of the Demon Pūtanā(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'Nanda on his way [home] thought that the words of the son of S'ūra [Vasudeva] were not said unjustly and therefore he, apprehensive of difficulties ahead, took shelter of the Lord. (2) Kamsa [see 10.4: 43] had sent a ghastly murderess who roamed the cities, towns and villages to kill babies. (3) Wherever one manages to listen and all of that [in bhakti], and one performs one's duty, there cannot, because of the Protector of the Devotees, be any question of murderous ogres and bad elements. (4) She who was called Pūtanā and could move through the air, one day flew to the village of Nanda. There she converted herself by her mystic power into a beautiful woman and, moving about at will, penetrated wherever she wanted. (5-6) With her hair arranged with mallikā [jasmine] flowers, with her very big breasts and hips that outweighed her slim waist, with her nice clothes and the earrings she wore, with the brilliance and great attraction of her face that was surrounded by her black hair, and with the appealing glances she threw at everyone, she as a beauty attracted the attention of everyone in Gokula. In the eyes of the gopīs she, so ravishing with a lotus in her hand, seemed to be the goddess of beauty who had arrived to see her Husband. (7) The baby murderess, unchecked, entered the house of Nanda, looked for children and saw there the Child that Puts an End to All Untruth lying in bed. Its unlimited power was covered, just like a fire that lies hidden under ashes. (8) Understanding that she was bent on killing babies, He, the Unlimited Soul of All That Lives and Not Lives, closed His eyes when she, unaware, like someone who takes a sleeping snake for a rope, placed Him - her own death, on her lap. (9) With an evil mind acting most pleasantly, she was like a sharp sword in a nice scabbard. The mothers [Yas'odā and Rohinī] though who saw her in the room were so impressed by the conspicuous, beautiful woman, that they stood rooted to the spot. (10) The terrible woman placed Him on her lap and on the spot pushed her breast into His mouth. The breast was smeared with a strong poison, but the Supreme Lord in response squeezed her painfully hard with both His hands and vehemently sucked both the poison and the life out of her. (11) Completely being exhausted she cried, from the core of her being, 'stop, stop, enough!', and severely perspiring opened her eyes wide and violently struggled, kicking all around with her arms and legs. (12) The very deep and powerful sound she produced, made the earth with its mountains, outer space with all its stars above, and the worlds below, tremble in all directions. People who felt the vibrations feared to be hit by lightening and fell flat to the ground. (13) Thus squirming being tormented at her breasts, she, with her mouth wide open and all of her arms, legs and hair spread out, gave up her life. Thereupon she expanded to her original demoniac form and collapsed on the pasturing grounds, oh King, just as when Vritrāsura was killed by Indra's bolt [see 6.12]. (14) As her body fell down it smashed all trees twelve miles around, oh King, for it was wonderfully gigantic.
(15-17) The gopas and gopīs, who in their hearts, ears and heads were already shocked by the loud yelling, were terrified to see that massive body. The mouth had fearful teeth as high as a plow, the nostrils were as big as mountain caves, the breasts were like huge boulders, the scattered hair looked like copper, the deep eye sockets were like overgrown wells, the thighs were like river banks, the limbs resembled dams, and the abdomen looked like a dried-up lake. (18) And on top of it the child was fearlessly playing. It was quickly picked up by the approaching gopīs who were all greatly excited. (19) Together with Yas'odā and Rohinī they waved a cow's tail around the child in order to assure it of full protection against all dangers. (20) The child was thoroughly washed with cow's urine and further covered with dust thrown up by cows. Next for the protection of the child the Holy Name was applied with cow dung in twelve places [*]. (21) The gopīs took a sip of water [ācamana] and after placing the letters of the [following **] mantra on their bodies and two hands, they proceeded with the child: (22-23) 'May Aja protect Your legs, may Manimān protect Your knees, may Yajńa protect Your thighs, may Acyuta protect You above the waist, may Hayagrīva protect Your abdomen, may Kes'ava protect Your heart, may Īs'a protect Your chest, may Sūrya protect Your neck, may Vishnu protect Your arms, may Urukrama protect Your mouth, and may Īs'vara protect Your head. May Cakrī protect You from the front, may the Supreme Personality of Gadādharī, the carrier of the club, protect You from the back, and may the killer of Madhu and Ajana, the carrier of the bow and the sword, protect Your two sides. May Lord Urugāya, the carrier of the conch shell, protect You from all corners, may Upendra protect You from above, may [the One riding] Garuda protect You on the ground, and may the Supreme Person of Haladhara protect You on all sides. (24) May Your senses be protected by Hrishīkes'a and Your life air by Nārāyana, may the Master of S'vetadvīpa protect Your memory and may Your mind be guarded by Yoges'vara. (25-26) May Pris'nigarbha protect Your intelligence, may Your soul be protected by Bhagavān, may Govinda protect You when You play, and may Mādhava protect You in Your sleep. May the Lord of Vaikunthha protect You when You walk, may the Husband of the Goddess of Fortune protect You when You sit down, and may Lord Yajńabhuk, the fear of all evil planets, protect You when You enjoy life. (27-29) The demoniac women, devils and haters of children that are like bad stars, the evil spirits, hobgoblins, ghosts and spooks, the ogres, monsters and witches like Kotharā, Revatī, Jyeshthhā, Mātrikā and Pūtanā, who drive people mad, are the ones who bewilder the memory and hinder one's body, life air and vitality. May those nightmarish beings who cause so much trouble for both old and young people, all be vanquished, may they all be scared away by the chanting of Lord Vishnu's names.'
(30) S'ri S'uka said: 'Bound by their maternal affection, the elderly gopīs thus took all measures to ward off evil. His mother thereupon nursed Him and put her son in bed. (31) The gopas, headed by Nanda, in the meantime had returned from Mathurā, and when they saw Pūtanā's body in Vraja they were all struck with great wonder [and said]: (32) 'Oh friends, Ānakadundubhi appears to have grown into a great master of yoga. Otherwise, how could he have predicted the kind of situation we see now?' (33) The inhabitants of Vraja cut the mass of the body into pieces with the help of axes. Then it was thrown away in a distant place, covered with wood and burned to ashes. (34) When they cremated the body, the smoke produced turned out to be as serenely fragrant as aguru incense. Being sucked by Krishna, that body had been instantly freed from all contaminations [see also 1.2: 17]. (35-36) If Pūtanā, that child murderess and she-devil hankering for blood, despite her lust to destroy, could attain the supreme destination after offering her breast to the Lord, then what may those expect who with faith and devotion, just like His affectionate mothers, offered the one most dear, Krishna, the Supreme Personality, what [He needed]? (37-38) The Supreme Lord embraced her breast and trod her body with His lotus feet, the feet the devotees always have in their hearts and are held in devotion by those praised everywhere [like Brahmā and S'iva]. When she, by assuming the position of a mother, went to heaven, despite being a murderess, then what would that mean for the motherly cows that by Krishna were sucked for enjoying the milk? (39-40) Oh King, for all women from whose love for the child the milk was flowing that He, the Supreme Lord, the bestower of Oneness, Giver of Liberation and son of Devakī, drank to His satisfaction, for all those who constantly made Krishna their maternal concern [the gopīs], it can never be so that they have to return to the material ocean where one lusts in ignorance [see also B.G. 4: 9].
(41) Smelling the fragrance of the smoke that emanated, all the inhabitants of Vrajabhūmi wondered: 'Where does it come from?' Thus talking to each other they reached the cow village. (42) Getting there they were greatly surprised to hear what the gopas all had to say about the havoc Pūtanā had created, how she had died and everything that was done for the sake of the baby. (43) The gentle-minded Nanda took his son on his lap as if He had returned from death, smelled His head and achieved the highest peace, oh best of the Kurus. (44) Any mortal who with faith and devotion listens to this wonderful Krishna childhood pastime about the salvation of Pūtanā, will grow fond of Govinda ['the Protector of the Cows'].'
*: Waving a cow's tail around a child is an occult rite in which the tail of a cow is regarded the seat of Lakshmī, the Goddess of Fortune. This is also true for the urine, dust, the milk and dung of the cows that with their products are held sacred. The urine has antiseptic qualities, the dung serves as fuel and the milk brings all health and wealth.
**: With the mantra [anga-nyāsa and kara-nyāsa] one asigns the first letter or seed-letter of the names of the Lord mentioned in the next verse, followed by anusvāra and the word namah.
Chapter 7: Krishna Kicks the Cart, Defeats Trināvarta and Shows Yas'odā the Universe
(1-2) The honorable king said: 'The different pastimes of the avatāras of the Supreme Lord that offer us the image of the Lord, our Controller, are most pleasing to our ears and inspiring to our minds, oh master. Whoever hears about them will find his existence very soon purified from the propensity for dissatisfaction and, as a person who is devoted to the Lord, also find friendship with His people [Vaishnavas]. If you like, please speak to us about everything pertaining to Him. (3) Tell us more about the wonderful pastimes of Krishna who, imitating the human way, in the form of a child assumed His position on this earth.' [*]
(4) S'rī S'uka said: 'One day, when the moon stood in the constellation of Rohinī [after three months], He could turn Himself on His back in His crib. To celebrate this the mothers organized a celebration with a washing ritual. They gathered with music and song, and while mother Yas'odā performed the bathing ceremony, hymns were chanted by the brahmins. (5) After Nanda's wife and the other members of the household had finished the bathing, the brahmins, who performed their auspicious mantras, were respectfully honored with food, garments, garlands and cows. Seeing that the child had become sleepy, it was laid aside for the time being. (6) While busily engaged for the utthāna [or 'turning upward'] ceremony she, providing the guests from all over Vraja to their liking, did not hear any of the cries of her child that, wailing to be fed, angrily kicked around its legs. (7) The cart underneath He was put was hit by His delicate feet that were as tender as a new leaf. It turned over so that all the bowls, plates and the sweetness they contained fell to the ground, the wheels and axle got dislocated and the pole was broken [**]. (8) All the men and women of Vraja who, being invited by Yas'odā and Nanda, had assembled for the utthāna ceremony, witnessed that wondrous event and wondered how the cart out of its own could have been damaged so badly. (9) The children told the dumbfounded gopas and gopīs that it suffered no doubt that, as soon as the child started to cry, it with one leg had dashed it apart. (10) They, unaware of the inconceivable power of that small baby, could not believe it. The gopas thought that all that they had heard was but child prattle. (11) Mother Yas'odā, picked up her crying son and offered Him her breast. Thinking it had been an unfavorable planet, she called for the brahmins to perform a ceremony with Vedic hymns. (12) After a couple of strong gopas had reassembled the cart and had placed the pots and everything back on it, the priests with curds, rice, kus'a grass and water performed the rituals for the fire sacrifice. (13-15) The blessings of those who endowed with the perfect truth are free from discontent, untruth, false pride, envy, violence and self-conceit, never go in vain [see also B.G. 18: 42]. With this in mind Nanda took care of the child by asking those fine brahmins to sing auspicious hymns and purify it according to the Sāma, Rig and Yajur Veda with the help of water mixed with herbs. When the child had been bathed he, the leading cowherd, held a fire sacrifice and devoutly served the souls of rebirth a most excellent meal. (16) To assure his son of all of the best, he - to the blessing they also gave him - donated in charity the best quality milk cows that were nicely decorated with flowers and golden chains. (17) The scholars, being joined with whatever they pronounce, bring one, as experts in the mantras, all the blessings because the valid words they use never at any time will be fruitless.
(18) One day [with Him about a year old] when Yas'odā fondled Him as He sat on her lap, she could no longer bear the child's weight because He became as heavy as a mountain peak. (19) Astonished about the pressing weight the gopī put the child on the floor. Next she turned to Nārāyana and engaged herself in her worldly duties. (20) The child sitting there was swept away [though] by a demon named Trināvarta, a servant sent by Kamsa who had assumed the form of a whirlwind. (21) Producing a tremendous noise it massively roaring covered all of Gokula with dust that penetrated every nook and corner, so that everything was hidden from sight. (22) For an hour or so all of the cow land was plunged in darkness by the heavy dust. Yas'odā could not find her son on the spot where she had put Him down. (23) The people could not see themselves or each other anymore because of the sands blown up and were disturbed and confused. (24) The woman, helpless because of the dust clouds of the strong whirlwind, saw nothing and thus she, in fear about her son, lamented pitifully and fell to the ground like a cow that has lost her calf. (25) When the fierce dust storm of the whirlwind had ceased and she could not find Nanda's son, the other gopīs, with their faces full of tears, all in sympathy wailed along with her crying. (26) After Trināvarta had assumed the form of the whirlwind and thus had swept away Krishna, he, reaching the top of the atmosphere, could not get higher with Him getting heavier and mightier and so he lost his strength. (27) Taking Him, who strangled his neck, for an incredibly heavy rock that exceeded his power, he could not get rid of this wonderful child. (28) Grasped by the throat he was powerless. His eyes popped out while he choked and lifeless, together with the child, fell down to the ground in Vraja. (29) The gathered sobbing gopīs saw him, fallen out of the sky, lying on a slab of stone with all his limbs broken, like Tripura pierced by the arrows of S'iva [see 7.10]. (30) They were totally surprised to find Krishna in good health sitting on the chest of the man-eater who had transported Him through the sky. All the gopīs and gopas rejoiced most happily that He was saved from the mouth of death and that they had gotten Him back. (31) [They said:] 'How greatly wonderful this baby that, being seized by the ogre, left us but has returned unscathed! Now that this nasty and violent demon has been killed because of his sins, the innocent, even-minded people are relieved of their fears. (32) Of what austerity have we been, what was our worship for the One in the Beyond? What was the pious work, the public service, the charity, or any other benevolent activity for our fellow man that we performed, as a result of which the child, that was practically lost, is present here again to the fortune and pleasure of all His folk?' (33) Having witnessed all these different wonderful events in the great forest, the herdsman Nanda over and over stood amazed how true the words of Vasudeva had been [see also verse 10.6: 32].
(34) One day the mother pulled the little boy on her lap to nurse Him from her breast, from which because of her great love the milk was oozing. (35-36) Oh King, when He was done and mother Yas'odā, patting softly to help Him, looked the satisfied and smiling child in the face, she had, when He yawned, the following vision: she saw the sky, the planets and the earth, the luminaries in all directions, the sun and the moon. She saw fire, the air and the seas with the continents, the mountains, their daughters the rivers, the forests and all creatures moving and not moving [see also B.G. 11]. (37) Thus all of a sudden seeing the entire universe, oh King, she in great amazement stifled with deer-like eyes and started to tremble all over.'
*: At the beginning of this chapter, two extra verses sometimes appear:evam bahūni karmāni
gopānām s'am sa-yoshitām
nandasya gehe vavridhe
"In this way, to chastise and kill the demons, the child Krishna demonstrated many activities in the house of Nanda Mahārāja, and the inhabitants of Vraja enjoyed these incidents."evam sa vavridhe vishnur
kurvann anis'am ānandam
"To increase the transcendental pleasure of the gopas and the gopīs, Krishna, the killer of all demons, was thus raised by His father and mother, Nanda and Yas'odā."
S'rīpāda Vijayadhvaja Tīrtha also adds another verse after the third verse in this chapter:vistareneha kārunyāt
vaktum arhasi dharma-jńa
dayālus tvam iti prabho
"Parīkchit Mahārāja then requested S'ukadeva Gosvāmī to continue speaking such narrations about the pastimes of Krishna, so that the King could enjoy from them transcendental bliss."
**: Svāmī Prabhupāda comments: 'Krishna had been placed underneath a household handcart, but this handcart was actually another form of the S'akathāsura, a demon who had come there to kill the child. Now, on the plea of demanding to suck His mother's breast, Krishna took this opportunity to kill the demon. Thus He kicked S'akathāsura just to expose him. Although Krishna's mother was engaged in receiving guests, Lord Krishna wanted to draw her attention by killing the S'akathāsura, and therefore He kicked that cart-shaped demon.'
Chapter 8: The Name Ceremony, His Pranks and Again the Universe Within His Mouth
*: The Sanskrit says here 'by birth', but the paramparā stresses the second birth or initiation. Svāmī Prabhupāda comments: 'No one is born a brāhmana; everyone is born a s'ūdra. But by the guidance of a brāhmana and by samskāra, one can become dvija, twice-born, and then gradually become a brāhmana. Brāhmanism is not a system meant to create a monopoly for a particular class of men. Everyone should be educated so as to become a brāhmana. At least there must be an opportunity to allow everyone to attain the destination of life.' Next to this second birth there is also the third birth one has from one's sacrificial activities: independence is achieved with the internalization of the guru (see also 4.31: 10, 7.11: 35).(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'Garga, the family priest of the Yadus, a man of great penance, oh King, on the request of Vasudeva went to Nanda's cow community. (2) Nanda, very pleased to see him, stood up to welcome him with folded hands. Knowing him to be someone elevated above the senses [Adhokshaja], he out of respect prostrated to offer his obeisances. (3) With the greatest hospitality and the sweetest words he offered the sage a seat and said, after thus having pleased him: 'Oh brahmin complete in your self-realization, what can I do for you? (4) When great souls [like you] move towards simple-minded householders, one must never think that such a thing would happen for any other reason than their best interest. (5) You are the author of a book concerning the transcendental knowledge of the movement of the luminaries, [an astrology book] from which any one directly may learn about the reason and consequences of his fate. (6) You are the best of all the knowers of Brahman, a brahmin who by his birth [*] is a spiritual master for all society. With you having arrived at my home, please, perform the sacred ceremony [the samskāra] for these two boys [Krishna and Balarāma].'
(7) S'rī Garga said: 'Everyone knows that I am the teacher of example of the Yadus. In this world I always perform the purification rite for every son [of that family]. If I perform this ceremony for you, your sons would be considered the sons of Devakī. (8-9) Kamsa, that great sinner, knows about your friendship with Vasudeva. He also knows that the eighth child of Devakī cannot be a girl, while he took notice of Devakī having a daughter [Durgā 10.4: 12]. He thus might consider to kill these children and therefore it is not wise for us to do this.'
(10) S'rī Nanda said: 'Then please perform, without him or even my own relatives knowing about it, right here in this remote place, in the cow shed, the purificatory rites for a second birth by reciting the benedictory words.'
(11) S'rī S'uka said: 'The man of learning thus urgently requested, in secret seclusion performed the name-giving ceremony for the two boys for which he had come. (12) S'rī Garga said: 'He, this son of Rohinī, with His transcendental qualities will be the pleasure of all his folk. Therefore He will be called Rāma. Because of His extraordinary strength He will also be known as Bala, and because of not existing separately from the Yadus [see also 10.2: 8], He will further be known as Sankarshana [the unifier]. (13) (14) This child previously was born somewhere else as the son of Vasudeva, and therefore the souls who know this will speak about this child of yours as the glorious Vāsudeva. (15) There are many names and forms according to the qualities and activities of His appearances. These are known to me, but the common people do not know them. (16) Being a Nanda-Gokula cowherd this child will always act to what is most beneficial to all of you. With His support you will easily overcome all dangers [*3]. (17) Oh King of Vraja, in the past, when there was a faulty regime, He has protected pious souls who were disturbed by rogues so that they, with those bad elements defeated, could flourish [see also 1.3: 28]. (18) Just like those faithful to Vishnu have nothing to fear from the Asuras, those who are as fortunate to associate with this child in love and affection, will not be overcome by enemies. (19) Therefore, oh Nanda, take the greatest care raising this child. As for His qualities, opulences, name and fame, this son of yours is as good as Nārāyana!'
(20) S'rī S'uka said: 'After Garga thus fully had informed them about the Supreme Soul [the way He had manifested in the form of the two boys] and had left for his place, Nanda, being blessed with all good fortune, considered himself most happy. (21) Shortly thereafter Rāma and Kes'ava [Krishna] were crawling around in Gokula on Their hands and knees enjoying Their childhood. (22) Crawling like snakes through the mud of the cow place while dragging Their feet behind Them, They produced a sweet sound with Their ankle bells, but when They, charmed by those sounds, enthusiastically followed [the ankle bells of] other people, They became afraid and quickly returned to Their mothers. (23) When Their mothers closed Their, by the mud charmingly colored, bodies in their arms, they allowed Them to drink from the milk which, because of the great love for each of their sons, flowed from their breasts. And when they, while They were sucking, looked into Their mouths they were delighted with the greatest ecstasy to discover that Their teeth were growing. (24) From within their houses watching the children play outside in Vraja, they laughed and forgot their household, being amused to see how the two boys caught the ends of the calves' tails and were dragged around by them. (25) When the mothers during their household duties could not find a way to check Them being engaged in Their tireless play with the cows, with fire, with sharp-toothed animal beaks [of dogs and monkeys], with knives [lying around], water, birds and thorns, they were unsettled. (26) Rāma and Krishna very soon, without the help of their knees, oh King, with ease began to walk around on their legs alone in Gokula. (27) The Supreme Lord, together with Balarāma playing with the other kids in Vraja, thus awakened a heavenly bliss in the ladies of Vraja. (28) The gopīs, who with their eyes on Krishna were eager just to hear time and again about His childish pranks, assembled in the presence of His mother and said: (29) 'Once He untimely released the calves and smiled about the commotion that gave rise to. Some or another way He stole the palatable curd, milk and butter from the pots, ate from it and also gave every monkey a share. When they refuse to eat [having enough], He breaks the pot, and when He cannot find any [food to feed the monkeys], He gets angry at the people of the house and goes around pinching the babies. (30) [With the pots] hung out of reach, He devises a way by piling up things or turning over a mortar, and then finds His way to the contents by making a hole in the hanging pot. Awaiting the time that the gopīs are busy with their household affairs, He, with the necessary light from the radiating jewels on His body, manages to find His way in a dark room! (31) He is so naughty that He sometimes freely urinates in a clean spot in our houses, and that cunning, resourceful thief now sits there like a nice boy!' The gopīs present there discussed all these matters, but when they saw Him sitting in front of them, looking afraid with His beautiful face, the gopīs were happy to see Him. They with their complaints against Him truly could not be angry with Him and, having a good time, had to smile only. (32) One day, when He was a little older, Balarāma and the other kids of the neighborhood came to tell His mother: 'Krishna has eaten dirt!'
(33) Yas'odā, anxious about His well-being, chided Krishna, took Him by the hand and looked worried into His mouth to inspect Him. She said: (34) 'Why, You unruly boy, did You secretly eat dirt? What are Your older brother and all Your playmates saying?'
(35) 'Not true at all mommy, I did not eat any dirt. If you think it is true, then look right here into My mouth!'
(36) 'Is that so? Then open wide!' she told Him, and He, the Supreme Personality, the Lord whose opulences are unlimited, in His pastime of acting like a human child, opened His mouth. (37-39) Within His mouth she [for the second time, see 10.7: 35-37] saw the entire universe with all beings moving and not moving, the sky in all directions, the mountains, the continents, the oceans, the surface of the earth, the blowing wind, the fire, the moon and the stars. She saw the planetary systems, the waters, the light, the firmament with all of outer space and all [divinities] bound to change, the senses, the mind and the three modes. Seeing that diversity, along with the time of living of each soul, the natural instincts, the karma, all that is desired, the different subtle bodies, as also Vraja and herself within the wide open mouth of her son's body, she was struck with disbelief: (40) 'Is this all a dream, a divine phantasmagoria or maybe a delusion of my own intelligence, or would that what I so see differently be some yogic phenomenon natural to my child? (41) Let me therefore surrender at the feet of Him beyond my range of vision whom I may not understand, who escapes my consciousness, mind, action and words, and under whose control I live and may return [home, back to Godhead]. (42) With the notion of myself as being the wife of this spouse having that son, as being the queen of Vraja owning all the wealth with authority over all the gopas and gopīs with their cows and calves, I have it all wrong, since only He is my purpose in life [see 5.5: 8, 7.9: 19 and B.G. 5: 29].' (43) After mother Yas'odā thus had received this understanding of His reality, He, the master of illusion, the mighty Vishnu, manifested for her again the magic of the love for her son. (44) With the memory [of the vision] instantly faded, the gopī placed her son on her lap with a heart filled with the same intense affection for her son as before. (45) The Lord is glorified in all His greatness with the help of the three [Vedas], with philosophical exercises [the Upanishads], with yogic analysis [sānkhya-yoga] and with other devoted literatures, but she simply thought about Him as being her son.'
(46) The honorable king said: 'Oh brahmin, what were the pious activities [see B.G. 7: 16] performed by Nanda and Yas'odā from whose breast the Lord drank His milk? How did they achieve the highest perfection of such a blessing? (47) Not even His own father and mother could enjoy the magnanimous activities of the young Krishna who eradicates the impurities of the world, actions that even today are glorified by the transcendentalists!'
(48) S'rī S'uka said: 'Drona, the best of the demigods [the Vasus], determined to carry out the orders of Lord Brahmā, together with his wife Dharā said the following to him: (49) 'May we, being born on this earth, be devoted to the Supreme Godhead, the Master of the Entire Universe, the Lord who is the ultimate goal under whose care one can easily avoid a miserable life.' (50) 'So be it', was the answer [given by Brahmā]. Drona thereupon took his birth in Vraja and became the Great One [the Bhagavān to Bhagavān], the highly distinguished and celebrated Nanda, and she, Dharā, appeared as Yas'odā [compare 10.3: 32-45 and see *4]. (51) Oh son of Bharata, for that reason there was from both the parents and all the gopas and gopīs, the constant [love of the] devotional service unto Him who had appeared as their son, the Lord our well-wisher. (52) To substantiate the words of Brahmā, Krishna then, together with the almighty [Bala-]Rāma, resided in Vraja to perform His pastimes [His 'līlā'] to the delight of all.'
**: The word 'krishna' means more than just 'dark'. Svāmī Prabhupāda comments: 'If we analyze the nirukti, or semantic derivation, of the word "Krishna," we find that na signifies that He stops the repetition of birth and death, and krish means sattārtha, or "existence." (Krishna is the whole of existence.) Also, krish means "attraction," and na means ānanda, or "bliss." 'His colors are discussed later on in Canto eleven under: 11.5: 21, 24, 27 en 34.
*3: One of the mantras the Vaishnavas use to offer their food to Krishna is:namo brahmanya-devāya
govindāya namo namah
'My obeisances unto the godhead of the brahmins always concerned about the cows, the brahmins and the entire universe; unto Krishna, Govinda, my respects.'
*4: Concerning this difference between the privilege of being the actual parents, Vasudeva and Devakī, and being His foster parents, Nanda and Yas'odā, Prabhupāda explains that there are two types of siddhas, perfected or liberated souls: nitya siddhas and sādhana siddhas. Those who are eternally liberated, like Nanda and Yas'odā, who are eternally Krishna's associates or expansions of Krishna's personal body, and those ordinary human beings who acquire a special position by enduring sādhana, the spiritual practice of executing pious activities and following the regulative principles of devotional service.
Chapter 9: Mother Yas'odā Binds Lord Krishna
(1-2) S'rī S'uka said: 'One day, when the maidservants were otherwise engaged, mother Yas'odā, Nanda's queen, was churning and making her curd. During the time she was churning the butter, she sang songs about everything she could remember her son had done. (3) Clad in linen held together by a belt around her shaking hips, her breasts, which at the nipples were wet because of her love for her son, moved as she was churning. And with that movement the bangles on her wrists and her earrings moved along in harmony. Meanwhile the perspiration, because of the labor of pulling the churning rope, ran down her face and fell down together with the jasmine flowers from her hair. (4) The Lord, desirous to drink milk, approached her as she was churning and then stopped, being sweet to His mother, the churning rod by taking hold of it. (5) She sweetly allowed Him on her lap to drink from her overflowing, loving breasts and watched with a smile how happy He was. When she saw how a pan of milk was boiling over, she had to put Him aside quickly and left, but He was not yet satisfied. (6) Having gotten angry He, biting His full red lips and with false tears, with a stone broke the pot in which the butter was churned and began, hidden from sight in an adjacent room, to eat from everything that was churned. (7) The gopī rescued the boiling hot milk from the stove and returned to her workplace, where she discovered that the churning pot was broken. Not seeing her child she with a smile concluded that it had been His work. (8) Standing on top of a mortar He had turned over, He, anxiously looking around, from a hanging [storage] pot to His pleasure handed a share of the milk goodies out to a monkey. From behind watching these activities, she very slowly approached her son. (9) Seeing her approaching with a stick in her hand He quickly climbed down and fled away, like He was afraid, with the gopī after Him - He who could not even be reached by the greatest yogis of penance who try to get access in their meditation [see also B.G. 18: 55]. (10) Even though the quickly chasing mother, with the flowers falling from her hair and with her heavy breasts to her thin waist, had to slow down, she nevertheless finally managed to capture Him. (11) Catching the little scoundrel by the hand, she chastised Him with a threatening pose, and then saw Him with fearful eyes remorsefully crying and with His hands rubbing the black ointment of His eyes all over His face. (12) With a good heart for her son understanding His fear, she threw away the stick though and wanted to bind Him with a rope. But she had no clue what kind of power she dealt with.
(13-14) He to whom there is neither an inside nor an outside, neither a beginning nor an end, is both the beginning ąnd the end, both the inside ąnd the outside of the universe. He constitutes the complete of the universe. And He, the One Unmanifest, the One Unseen present in the form of a mortal being, was by the gopī taken for her son and bound to a mortar, like one does with a normal child. (15) When the rope she used to bind her naughty child fell short with a length of an inch, the gopī tied another rope to it. (16) When even that one fell short she tried another one that, joining and joining, would not suffice either to bind Him staying short with [again] an inch. (17) Yas'odā thus proceeded with all the ropes in the household, but failing that way she, being struck with wonder, had to laugh, together with all the gopīs taking part in the fun. (18) Seeing His mother sweating and getting tired, and all the flowers falling from her loosened hair, Krishna was so gracious to allow her to bind Him. (19) My best one, the Lord factually thus exhibited how He, Krishna, despite being the controller of the entire universe with all its demigods, is controlled by the servant of His own command [His devotees. Compare 7.3: 14-21]. (20) Neither Lord Brahmā, Lord S'iva, nor the Goddess of Fortune, albeit residing at His side, received from the Giver of Final Liberation the mercy the gopī obtained. (21) They who adhere to the physical concept of life [the karmis], as also the jńānis [the book people, the transcendentalists] and they who go for the soul only [the escapists, the impersonalists], cannot win as easily the Supreme Lord, the Son of the Gopī who delivers this world, as those can who are convinced of bhakti [of devotional service, see also B.G. 11: 54 and 18: 16].
(22) While His mother was very busily engaged in her household, the Lord observed two arjuna trees outside who had been demigods [Guhyakas]. They once were the sons of the bestower of riches [Kuvera]. (23) They were back then known as the very prosperous Nalakūvara and Manigrīva, but because of their conceit they had been cursed by Nārada to become trees.'
Chapter 10: The Deliverance of the Sons of Kuvera
(1) The king said: 'Oh powerful one, can you please describe the abominable act because of which the devarishi got angry and the two [sons of Kuvera] were cursed?'
(2-3) S'rī S'uka said: 'Very proud of being elevated to the association of Rudra, they who were born from the Keeper of Wealth, [one day] walked around in a beautiful park at the Mandākinī river [upper-Ganges] near Kailāsa [S'iva's mountain]. In that garden full of flowers they most bewildered, with their eyes rolling intoxicated from drinking vārunī, were together with women who sang songs to them. (4) Because they wanted to enjoy themselves, they in the company of the young girls entered the Ganges full of lotus beds, like two male elephants with their she-elephants. (5) It so happened that Nārada, the almighty devarishi, got to see them, oh son of Kuru, and from the demigods' maddened eyes could understand what state they were in. (6) Seeing him their adherents [the girls] were ashamed and, afraid of being cursed, quickly covered their naked bodies with their garments. But the two guardians of Kuvera's treasures [the S'iva guhyakas], who were also naked, did not. (7) Seeing the two being drunk and blind with their prestige and wealth, he, in order to teach the two sons of the light a lesson, pronounced a curse against them saying the following. (8) Nārada said: 'For the one who in the mode of passion enjoys the things of the world, there is nothing as perplexing to the intelligence as the arrogance of wealth, a good birth, [a nice body, learning, riches] etc., in which one feels attracted to women, wine and gambling. (9) In that position killing animals, merciless people out of control with themselves, think that this body, which is doomed to perish, would not age and would not die [see also 7.15: 7, B.G. 9: 26]. (10) The body, however deemed to be divine, after death serves the worms and turns into stool and ashes. Does someone with such a selfish attitude towards other living beings know what hell he is heading for [see also 5.26: 17]? (11) Does this body belong to the one providing the food, to oneself, to one's father, to one's mother, or does it belong to one's father-in-law, to a state authority, to a buyer, to the fire or even to the scavengers? (12) The question is: who would thus that knower actually be [that proprietor] of the body that manifested from the unmanifested nature and vanishes again? Who else but a fool would take the body for the real self and kill [other] living beings [see also 4.11: 10]? (13) For fools blinded by pride about their wealth, poverty is the best ointment for their eyes. A poor man is better capable of seeing others as equal to himself [*]. (14) Someone who is pricked by a pin does not wish anybody with a likewise body to experience such a pain, but not so a person who was never pricked by a pin. (15) A poor man is free from all conceit associated with the falsehood of the self. The great difficulty [of poverty] that one by providence may encounter in this world, is for him the best austerity. (16) Always being hungry the senses of the slim body of a poor person eager for food [**], become less and less dominant and also the violence [that is the counterpart of the lust to eat] ceases. (17) [As opposed to the rich] the poor can [easily] associate with the saints [who keep to the vow of poverty and are] equal minded towards all. The [mental] cause of their suffering as also their [physical] hankering is reduced by meeting such honest people, so that purification is quickly achieved as a consequence [see also 10.8: 4]. (18) Why would one avoid the equanimous renouncers of the world [the sadhus] who want to serve Mukunda and desire the association of materialists, who proud of their wealth seek their refuge in what is untrue [see also B.G. 7: 15]? (19) I shall therefore take away this ignorant conceit of these womanizing drunkards who because of the sweet liquor vārunī, arrogant and blinded with the opulence, have lost control of themselves. (20-22) Since these two sons of Kuvera, being absorbed in darkness, in their pride indifferent towards others did not care to dress their bodies, they deserve it to become immobile [as two trees]. This in order to prevent that they repeat this. It is furthermore my mercy that their self-remembrance may continue and it is also my special favor that they, after a hundred years of the gods [a year is a day], may obtain the personal association of Vāsudeva. With their bhakti revived they then may resume their celestial lives.'
(23) S'rī S'uka said: 'The devarishi thus having spoken went away to Nārāyana-ās'rama [his abode], leaving Nalakūvara and Manigrīva behind to become a pair of arjuna [***] trees. (24) To be true to the words of the seer, who was His topmost devotee, the Lord [who was bound to the mortar], very slowly moved to the spot where the two arjuna trees were standing. (25) [He thought:] 'The devarishi is most dear to Me. Even though these two were born from the loins of Kuvera [a rich man], I shall act in accordance with the words stated by the great soul.' (26) Thus having decided, Krishna moved in between the arjunas and that way got the big mortar stuck across. (27) The boy, dragging the wooden mortar which was tied to His belly behind Him, with great force pulled over the two trees. They shook heavily because of His supreme power and came down with trunk, branches, leaves and roots up making a tremendous noise [*4]. (28) On the spot from the two trees two persons appeared, resplendently beautiful, like fire rising up and illuminating all directions. They offered Krishna head down with folded hands their obeisances. Being freed from passion and ignorance they said the following to the Lord of the Entire World: (29) 'Krishna, oh Krishna, oh Supreme Master of Yoga! You are the root cause and the Original Person in the beyond of this world, of this creation of gross and subtle matter by the brahmins known to be Your form. (30-31) You are the One for all living beings, You are the master of the life force, of the body, of the soul and the senses. You are the Time, the Supreme Lord Vishnu, the Imperishable Controller. You, as the Greatest One, who are both the cosmic creation and the subtle reality, You, consisting of passion, goodness and slowness, are the Original Personality, Overseer and the Knower of the restless mind in all fields of action. (32) Who, being locked up in a body with a mind that is agitated by the modes of nature, is capable of knowing You? Who now is worthy of You who are not confined to a body, You who existed before the creation and who, now being covered by the modes of nature, is present here before us? (33) Therefore we offer You, Vāsudeva, the Supreme Personality, the Origin of Creation, You, whose light is covered by the might of Your natural modes, You, the Brahman [both inside and outside], our respectful obeisances. (34-35) You, who are not material but are known by the different embodiments of the avatāras, thus demonstrate an incomparable, unlimited might in activities that cannot be performed by normally embodied persons. You, that same Goodness and Master of all blessings, have now appeared for the liberation and elevation of everyone, with all Your potencies and expansions! (36) Our respects for You, oh Highest Virtue, oh Supreme Auspiciousness! For You, oh Vāsudeva, oh Peaceful One and Master of the Yadus, our reverence. (37) Oh Unlimited One, have we, the servants who could meet You, oh Supreme Lord, because of the mercy of Your follower, the sage [Nārada], Your permission now [to leave]? (38) May our words always concern Your pastimes, may our ears hear the talks about You, may our limbs be working for You, and may our minds always remember Your lotus feet. May our heads bow to You, the All-pervading One, and may our sight be engaged in seeing the truthful souls [the saints, the Vaishnavas especially] who are Your partial embodiments.'
(39) S'rī S'uka said: 'This way being glorified by the two Guhyakas, the Supreme Lord, the Master of Gokula who with ropes was bound to the mortar, smiled and spoke to them. (40) The Supreme Lord said: 'Everything of this incident with the most kind Nārada, that happened in the past, is known to Me. What a great favor he did in cursing you to fall down for being blind in your madness about the wealth. (41) Just as the eyes of a person who faces the sun [are freed from darkness], one is simply freed from all bondage by the presence of devotees who are equal towards all, by associating with persons dedicated to Me. (42) Now that you, oh reeds [*5] of Kuvera, are saturated with love towards Me, please return home with Me as the Supreme Destination, I who constitute the Supreme of your desire, and from whom one never returns [to a worldly existence, see also B.G. 5: 17].'
(43) S'rī S'uka said: 'Thus being addressed by Him, the two circumambulated Him who was bound to the mortar. They offered their repeated obeisances, took leave, and then left in the northern direction [where Kailāsa is found].': Prabhupāda comments to this: 'There is an instructive story called punar mūshiko bhava, "Again Become a Mouse". A mouse was very much harassed by a cat, and therefore the mouse approached a saintly person to request to become a cat. When the mouse became a cat, he was harassed by a dog, and then when he became a dog, he was harassed by a tiger. But when he became a tiger, he stared at the saintly person, and when that saintly person asked him, "What do you want?" the tiger said, "I want to eat you". Then the saintly person cursed him, saying, "May you again become a mouse".'
**: Systematic hunger or regular fasting is in fact a standard procedure for devotees who regularly fast for a day like with ekādas'i: each eleventh day after the new and full moon the Vaishnava fasts from cereal and beans and then chants. Modern medicine confirms that a regular fast, or systematic hunger, prolongs one's life. See also 8.16: payo vrata, fasting from solid food as the best of all sacrifices.
***: Arjuna trees are still found in many forests. The bark is used by cardiologists to prepare medicine against heart trouble.
*4: It is because of this dāmodara-līlā that Lord Krishna as a toddler is sometimes called Dāmodara: tied to the belly [see also the bhajan Damodarāshthaka].
*5: 'reeds' is an expression referring to the hollowness of being surrendered.
Chapter 11: A New Residence, the Fruit Vendor and Vatsāsura and Bakāsura Defeated
(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'The cowherd men led by Nanda heard the tumult of the falling trees and, afraid that it had been the thunder, went to the spot, oh best of the Kurus. (2) Discovering that the two arjunas had fallen to the ground they, flabbergasted, had no idea what the cause of this apparent crash would be. (3) Who could have done this? The child, dragging the wooden mortar He was bound to by the rope? How could this wondrous thing have happened? They were perplexed. (4) The other children said: 'He has done it, with the mortar getting across. He dragged it in between the trees! And there were also two persons. We saw it with our own eyes!' (5) They could not believe what they said. 'That is not possible! How could such a small child have uprooted the trees?' But some of them had doubts [and deemed it very well possible]. (6) When Nanda saw that his son, with a rope being tied to a big mortar, was dragging around with it, he had to smile and released Him.
(7) The Supreme Lord, encouraged by the gopīs, sometimes danced or sang for them as if He was a simple, ordinary child they could control like a wooden doll. (8) Sometimes He on request carried a wooden seat, a measuring jug or a pair of shoes, to which He made fun with His relatives by striking His arms [as if He would be a strong adult]. (9) By acting like a child to the pleasure of everyone, the Supreme Lord in Vraja showed the world to what extent He submits to His devotees.
(10) Krishna [one day] heard a fruit vendor calling: 'Oh people, come and get your fruits!' And so the Infallible One, the Bestower of all Fruits who wanted some fruits, quickly grabbed some paddy and came to buy fruit. (11) What He had to offer had slipped from the palms of His hands [on the way], but the fruit lady filled them [nevertheless] with fruits. Thereupon the entire basket of fruits filled with gold and jewels!
(12) After the incident with the arjunas Rohinī Devī once called Krishna and Rāma, who were absorbed in playing with the other children at the riverside. (13) When the boys immersed in their games upon being called did not show up, Rohinī sent mother Yas'odā to take care of the sons. (14) As she was calling for her son Krishna and for the other boys whom He so late still was playing with, because of her love the milk flowed from her breasts. (15) 'Krishna, oh Krishna, my lotus-eyed one, oh darling, stop playing and drink some milk. You must be tired and hungry my son! (16) Oh Rāma, please come right now together with Your younger brother! Oh love of the family, You enjoyed Your breakfast this morning and now You must be needing some more! (17) Oh scion of Dās'ārha ['worthy of service', the Yadus], the king of Vraja wants to eat and is waiting for You. Come here, be nice and let the other boys go home. (18) You are covered with dirt my son, come and take a bath. Today is the day of Your birth star, be clean and then we will give cows to the brahmins! (19) Just see how the boys of Your age, being washed by their mothers, are all dressed up. You too with a bath, having eaten and being decorated, should enjoy now.' (20) Mother Yas'odā, thus in her intense love considering the Highest of them All to be her son, oh ruler of man, took Krishna and Rāma by the hand and brought Them home to get Them presentable.'
(21) S'rī S'uka said: 'The elderly gopas, who had witnessed the great disturbances in the Big Forest, came together with Nanda to discuss what was happening in Vraja. (22) Upananda [Nanda's elder brother], the oldest and wisest one with the greatest experience, said in that meeting what, according to the time and circumstances, to the interest of Rāma and Krishna would be the best thing to do: (23) 'We who wish the best for our Gokula, should leave this place all together. Great disturbances are occurring here with the evil intent to kill the boys. (24) The reason for this is that, somehow or other with the grace of the Lord, He, this boy, was delivered from the hands of the Rākshasī [Pūtanā] who came here to kill the children, and also because of the fact that the falling handcart almost hit Him. (25) And then the Lord of the Suras had to save Him from the demon in the form of a whirlwind, who transported Him into the sky and so dangerously collapsed on the rocky ground. (26) Being protected by the infallible One, the child and the other children also escaped from dying because of the two [falling] trees He got stuck in between. (27) As long as such misfortune is harassing us, we cannot stay in this cow place. To the interest of the boys we all together have to move to another place, before it is too late. (28) There is a[nother] forest named Vrindāvana [the 'clustered forest' *] with lots of fresh greenery and serene rock formations that with its variety of plants and wealth of grasses is a very suitable place for gopa, gopī and cow [go]. (29) Let us therefore immediately go there today and not waste any time. We get all the carts ready and be on our way with the cows, our wealth, in front - if you all agree.'
(30) Hearing that, the gopas said unanimously: 'That is the right way, the correct approach', and began to assemble the cows and load their belongings. (31-32) Putting the elders, the children and women on the bullock carts and next their belongings, the gopas with the greatest care took their bows and arrows, and departed together with the priests, oh King, thereby keeping the cows in front while loudly vibrating their horns and bugles all around. (33) The gopīs, nicely dressed with their gold around their necks and their young breasts lovely decorated with fresh kunkum, sang during the ride on the carts with great pleasure about Krishna's pastimes. (34) Yas'odā and Rohinī, beautifully together with Krishna and Balarāma being seated on one cart, were very happy to hear the stories being sung. (35) Reaching Vrindāvana, a place most agreeable throughout all seasons, they settled for a cow compound by placing their carts in a semi-circle like the form of the moon. (36) Oh ruler of man, when Rāma and Mādhava saw Vrindāvana with Govardhana hill and the banks of the Yamunā, They were very happy. (37) The two boys with Their children's games and broken language thus delighted the inhabitants of the cow community [the new Vraja]. In due course of time They were old enough to take care of the calves. (38) Sporting in different ways with all kinds of games, They together with the other cowherd boys, tended the calves close to the lands of Vraja. (39-40) Sometimes blowing Their flutes, sometimes hurling with a sling [for the fruits], sometimes moving Their feet for the tinkling [of Their ankle bells], sometimes playing cow and bull while bellowing loudly imitating the animals that fought with each other, and sometimes imitating the sounds of other animals, They wandered around just like two normal children*: Vrindāvana is situated between Nandes'vara and Mahāvana.
(41) One day on the bank of the Yamunā tending Their calves with Their playmates, a demon [Vatsāsura] appeared on the scene with the intent to kill Krishna and Balarāma. (42) Assuming the form of a calf he had mixed with the other calves. But the Lord spotted him and, gesturing to Baladeva, pointed him out while He inconspicuously slowly moved in his direction. (43) Acyuta caught him by the hind legs and his tail, whirled him heavily around and next threw him lifeless on top of a kapittha tree [**]. There the body of the demon assumed a giant size whereupon he together with the tree, fell to the ground. (44) The boys who all had witnessed this incident, were greatly amazed and praised Him, exclaiming: 'Well done, very good!', and the gods being pleased showered flowers. (45) This couple, the Sole Protectors of All the Worlds who had turned into protectors of calves, that morning finished Their breakfast and next wandered around tending the young animals.
(46) With each of them being responsible for his own group of calves, they one day wishing to quench their thirst arrived at a reservoir where they drenched the animals and thereupon themselves also drank from the water. (47) There the boys saw a gigantic body, looking like a mountain peak broken off by a thunderbolt and fallen down, that frightened them. (48) It belonged to a big demon called Bakāsura, who had assumed the body of a [monstrous] heron [a baka ***]. All of a sudden most powerfully rising up he with his sharp beak swallowed Krishna. (49) Seeing Krishna being devoured by the heron, all the boys headed by Rāma were flabbergasted and stood completely overwhelmed staring, nailed to the ground. (50) He, the son of a cowherd, the Master of the Lord of the Universe [Brahmā], deep in its throat began to burn like fire, and was instantly angrily released without a scratch. The heron thereupon immediately tried to kill Him again with its sharp beak. (51) With Bakāsura attacking again, He with His arms caught the beak of that friend of Kamsa, after which He, as the Master of the Truthful Souls, and to the pleasure of the denizens of heaven, before the eyes of the boys, tore it apart as easily as one splits a blade of grass. (52) At that moment the gods of all places, accompanied by drums, conches and prayers, showered jasmine and other flowers from Indra's paradise [Nandana-kānana] and congratulated the enemy of Bakāsura. Seeing this, the cowherd sons were struck with wonder. (53) The way the senses return to life [when one regains consciousness], the boys headed by Balarāma returned to life when He was released from the beak of the heron. Freed from the danger they embraced Him, assembled their calves and returned to Vraja. There they loudly declared [that Krishna had defeated another demon]. (54) The gopas and the gopīs were astounded when they heard all the stories. Eagerly staring at Them as if They had returned from death, they, filled with admiration, most delighted could not turn their eyes away from the boys. (55) [They said to themselves:] 'What a miracle that this boy, having faced so many life threats, is still around, while all those who gave rise to fear, themselves had to find the death they threatened with. (56) Even though they had approached with the intent to kill this boy, none of the evil planners who appeared so grotesque in their malice, managed to succeed. Besieging Him they all died like flies in the fire. (57) That is how it is: the words of the knowers of Brahman never ever prove false. That what by the supreme master [Garga] was predicted has happened exactly so [see 10.8: 8-9]!' (58) This way Nanda's gopas delighted in the pleasure to talk about the stories about Krishna and Balarāma, without ever running into the pains of the world [see also 1.7: 6]. (59) The two boys thus passed their childhood in the cow-community with different children's games, like playing hide and seek, building dams and jumping around like they were monkeys.'
**: The kapittha is sometimes called kshatbelphala. The pulp of this fruit is very palatable. It is sour-sweet and liked by each and everyone.
***: The heron is regarded a bird of great cunning, deceit and deliberation, and so it stands for the hypocrite, the cheat, the rogue.
Chapter 12: The Killing of the Demon Aghāsura
(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'One day the Lord decided to have a picnic in the forest. Rising early He blew His horn nicely to wake up His comrades and the calves. Then they departed from Vraja driving their groups of calves in front of them. (2) It offered a most attractive sight to see them all happy and beautifully together as they walked away in His company, with their prods, horns, flutes and the many calves each of them had. All together they numbered over a thousand. (3) With Krishna's personal calves added to them they could not be counted anymore. Immersed in their children's games, the boys had a good time at different places [in the forest]
(4) Even though they were already adorned with gems, shells, gold and pearls, they also used fruits, green leaves, bunches of beautiful flowers, peacock feathers and colored minerals to decorate themselves. (5) They snatched away each other's belongings and threw them at a distance when it was discovered. Others threw them further away, but then again they were returned with a laugh. (6) When Krishna walked away to admire the beauty of the forest, they enjoyed it to say 'me first, me first' while they touched Him. (7-11) Some blew their flutes, some vibrated their horns, some hummed along with the bumblebees and others imitated the cuckoos. Some ran after the shadows of the birds, some walked elegantly with the swans or sat with the ducks just as silent or danced with the peacocks. They searched for young monkeys and hopped along with them between the trees as they were skipping from tree to tree. They jumped together with the frogs, getting wet in the water, they laughed at their shadows and mocked their own echoes. This way they enjoyed the merit of their previous lives in friendship with Him who is the Supreme Divinity for those who are entangled in māyā, He who is the spiritual happiness for those transcendentalists who accept it to be of service [as a consequence thereof. See * and 1.1: 2, 1.7: 6 and 2.1: 6]. (12) Yogis skilled in self-control do not even after many lives of doing penance achieve the dust of His lotus feet. How fortunate then are the inhabitants of Vraja by whom He personally being present could be observed directly?
(13) And then the one named Agha ['the evil one'] appeared on the scene, a great demon who could not tolerate the sight of their happy pastimes. His life's end was awaited by all the immortal souls, in spite of the nectar they drank. (14) When Aghāsura, who was sent by Kamsa and who was the younger brother of Bakī [Pūtanā] and Bakāsura, saw the boys who were led by Krishna, he thought: 'This must be the killer of the two who together with me took birth from the same mother. Let me therefore now for their sake kill Him and His boys! (15) When these boys have become the sesame and water for the funeral rites of my brother and sister, when the strength of the life of the inhabitants of Vraja [their children] has disappeared, when these living beings whom they consider the very embodiment of their love and breath have left them, they all will be as good as dead.' (16) Thus having decided he assumed the wondrous form of a very, very large python that extended for miles. Therewith he occupied, as high as a mountain and with a mouth spread wide open like a mountain cave, that moment most wickedly the road in order to swallow the picnickers. (17) Keeping his mouth wide open, his lower lip rested on the earth and his upper lip touched the sky. His teeth were like mountain peaks, the inside was pitch dark, his tongue resembled a broad road, his breath was like a warm wind and his fiery look was like a fire. (18) Seeing him in that position they all considered it Vrindāvana at its best. It was for them a known game [to act] as if they were looking at the form of a python's mouth: (19) 'Look dear friends! A dead python there before us, ready to swallow us all with its snake mouth spread open, is it not? (20) It is obvious, really, that cloud up there is the upper lip and below, that big sand bank with that reddish glow, is his lower lip... (21) On the left and right, those caves, look just like the corners of the mouth and those peaks there, are exactly like the animal's teeth. (22) The length and breadth of the broad path, is like the tongue and the darkness, in between the mountains, looks like the inside of its mouth. (23) Just notice how that hot wind blowing from a forest fire is like its breath, and the bad smell of the flesh of the burned corpses, stinks like the flesh within its belly. (24) Would this animal be here to devour all who dare to enter? With that being so, he will, just like the heron, be immediately vanquished by Krishna!' so they said, looking at the gleaming face of Him, Baka's enemy, while they loudly laughing and clapping their hands entered its mouth.
*: S'rīla Prabhupāda comments: 'The secret of success is unknown to people in general, and therefore S'rīla Vyāsadeva, being compassionate toward the poor souls in this material world, especially in this age of Kali, has given us the S'rīmad Bhāgavatam. S'rīmad Bhāgavatam purānam amalam yad vaishnavānām priyam (S.B. 12.13: 18). For Vaishnavas who are somewhat advanced, or who are fully aware of the glories and potencies of the Lord, S'rīmad Bhāgavatam is a beloved Vedic literature. After all, we have to change this body (tathā dehāntara-prāptih). If we do not care about Bhagavad Gītā and S'rīmad Bhāgavatam, we do not know what the next body will be. But if one adheres to these two books - Bhagavad Gītā and S'rīmad Bhāgavatam - one is sure to obtain the association of Krishna in the next life (tyaktvā deham punar janma naiti mām eti so 'rjuna [B.G. 4: 9]). Therefore, distribution of S'rīmad Bhāgavatam all over the world is a great welfare activity for theologians, philosophers, transcendentalists and yogis (yoginām api sarveshām [B.G. 6: 47]), as well as for people in general'.
(25) Krishna heard them talking this and that way besides the truth. They did not realize what they were dealing with. He knew that the Rakshasa was very real and was deceiving them, and so He arrived at the conclusion that He, the Supreme Lord, the Complete Whole of All Living Beings who is situated in the heart, should stop His comrades. (26) Meanwhile, all the boys and their calves had entered the belly of the demon, but they were not devoured. The Rakshasa, who was thinking of his dead relatives, waited for Baka's enemy to enter. (27) Krishna, who for each and everyone is the source of fearlessness, was amazed to witness that and compassionately felt sorry about this twist of fate. They who had no one but Him now helplessly had moved away from His control to burn as straws in the fire of the belly of Aghāsura, death personified. (28) What to do now? This rogue should not exist, nor should the innocent and faithful souls find their end. How could He achieve both ends at the same time? Gathering His thoughts the Lord, the Unlimited Seer, knew what to do and entered the mouth. (29) That very moment all the gods exclaimed from behind the clouds in fear: 'Alas, alas!', and Kamsa and the other bloodthirsty friends of Aghāsura rejoiced. (30) When He heard that, Krishna, the Supreme Lord who is never vanquished, immediately expanded Himself [see siddhi] within the throat of the demon who tried to crush the boys and the calves in his belly. (31) With that action the airways were blocked and the eyes of the squirming and wrestling giant popped out. The life air was arrested within the internally completely obstructed body and then broke out through the top of the skull. (32) After all life air had left the body and Krishna saw that the boys and calves lay dead, He, Mukunda, the Supreme Lord, brought them back to life, whereupon He reappeared from the mouth in their company. (33) From the body a most wonderful bright light issued that all by itself illumined the ten directions. It remained in the sky waiting until the Supreme Personality appeared and then, before the eyes of the demigods, it entered His body [sāyujya-mukti]. (34) Everyone most pleased thereupon performed his specific service of worship [see also 1.2: 13]: flowers were showered, the singers of heaven sang, the heavenly girls danced, the demigods played their specific instruments and the brahmins offered prayers. (35) The Unborn One [Lord Brahmā], who nearby in his abode heard the wondrous sounds of those for everyone so very auspicious prayers, sweet sounds, songs and different celebrations, came immediately and stood amazed to see the glory of the Supreme Master.
(36) Oh King, after the skin of the python had dried, it became a place of interest for the inhabitants of Vrindāvana that for a long, long time afterwards was used as a cave. (37) This incident - of the snake's death and deliverance and the liberation of Him and His associates - that took place when the Lord was five years old [kaumāra], was by the boys in Vraja disclosed one year later [pauganda] as if it had happened that very day. (38) However unthinkable it might be for an impure soul, it is not that astonishing that even Aghāsura was liberated from all contamination and [with the light of his soul] could merge with the Supersoul. All he had to do was to associate but for a moment with the Supreme Creator of a higher and lower existence, when He assumed the form of a human child. (39) This destination He even grants those who [like Aghāsura] but once got innerly connected to His form because of a certain state of mind in relation to His divinity [thus even being connected in hatred]. What then would that mean for those in whom He is ever present as the remover of illusion, as the One who always grants each and every soul the realization of transcendental happiness?' "
(40) S'rī Sūta [see 1: 12-15] said: "He [Parīkchit] who was protected by the God of the Yadus [Yādavadeva or Krishna] and who this way, oh twice-born one, heard about the so very wonderful activities of his savior [see 1.8], thus being fixed in his consciousness asked the son of Vyāsa for more about these meritorious deeds. (41) The honorable king said: 'Oh brahmin how could what happened in the past, be described as having happened in the present? How can that be possible? How could what the Lord did at the age of five years, by the boys be described as having occurred at His sixth? (42) Oh great yogi, I am burning with curiosity. Please, explain this incident to me, oh guru, I am certain that it was caused by nothing but the deluding potency of the Lord [yoga-māyā]. (43) In this world, oh teacher, we as a mundane ruler are most blessed with the opportunity to always drink from the nectar of your sacred talks about Krishna.' "
(44) S'rī Sūta said: "When the man of penance this way was questioned by him, he had completely lost contact with his senses the very moment he was reminded of the Infinite One. After with difficulty slowly having regained his external vision, he answered the Lord's most outstanding, finest adherent."
Chapter 13: Lord Brahmā Steals the Boys and Calves
(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'Asking such very good questions you are a most fortunate soul, oh best of the devotees, because you, with your wish to hear the stories about the Lord again and again, lend them new charm. (2) This is what sets apart the truthful souls who accepted the essence of life: that what is their life's purpose, the aim of their understanding and what comes first to their mind, appears to be new every time they properly discuss matters in relation to the Infallible One, despite the repetition, just like every woman seems to be new to a womanizer. (3) Please listen carefully, oh King, I will relate it to you... even though it is a confidential subject. For gurus describe even hidden matters to a loving disciple.
(4) After He had saved the boys and calves from the mouth of that deadly Agha, the Supreme Lord brought them to the river bank and spoke the following words: (5) 'Oh, how beautiful this river bank is, My dear friends! It offers all opportunity to play, with its soft and clean sands, the aroma of the blooming lotuses which attract the bumblebees, and the sounds of the chirping birds everywhere in the many trees! (6) Let us eat here. It is late now and we are weak from hunger. After the calves drank from the water, they at ease can eat from the nearby grasses.' (7) They consented, let the calves drink from the water and took them to the tender grasses. Then they opened their lunch bags and happily enjoyed their meal together with the Supreme Lord. (8) In a wide circle happily facing inward, the boys of Vraja grouped in rows around Krishna. Thus sitting down in the forest they looked as beautiful as the petals and leaves that make up the whorl of a lotus flower. (9) Some of them used flower petals as a plate while others used bunches of leaves, twigs, fruits, [the material of] their packets, the bark of trees or a slab of rock. (10) All of them allowed the others a taste of their own favorite food and thus they had a good time taking their lunch with the Lord while laughing and making others laugh. (11) With His flute tucked away in His belt and with the horn and the prod at His left side, He took the yogurt rice and pieces of fruit between His fingers. Keeping Himself in the middle of the circle of His comrades He made them laugh telling His jokes. The denizens of heaven thus witnessed how the Enjoyer of all Sacrifices was enjoying His childhood pastimes. (12) Oh scion of Bharata, while the Infallible One this way in harmony was eating together with the cowherds, the calves looking for grass had wandered deep into the forest. (13) Noticing that, Krishna, the Terror of Fear, said to the worried boys: 'Oh friends, stay where you are, I shall bring the calves back to this spot!' (14) Krishna, the Supreme Lord, after saying this, went away with a bit of food in His hand to look everywhere in the mountains, the caves, the bushes and the bowers for the calves of His friends.
(15) He who was born from the lotus and who resides in the beyond [Lord Brahmā], was very charmed by the way the Lord had enchanted the boys. Just to see more of it he led the boys and their calves away to hide them elsewhere, oh man of the Kuru bond. This authority from heaven who before had witnessed the deliverance of Aghāsura, had become very astonished about the Almighty Personality [see footnote*]. (16) When Krishna nowhere could find the calves, He neither could find the cowherd boys after He had returned to the river bank. Thereupon He searched the entire forest for the both of them. (17) Neither finding the calves nor their caretakers anywhere in the forest, Krishna, well aware of everything going on in the universe, understood immediately that this was the work of Vidhi [Lord Brahmā]. (18) In order to please the mothers of the boys and also him [Brahmā], Krishna, the Controller managing the entire universe, thereupon expanded Himself to both the forms [of cowherd boy and calf]. (19) With a perfect likeness of the cowherd boys and their tender calves, having the same size of legs and hands and the same bugles, flutes, sticks and bags and such, with the same ornaments and dresses in all respects, with exactly their character, habits, features, attributes and traits and playing the same games and such, Krishna, the Unborn One, manifested Himself in expansions of Vishnu with the same voices and bodies they had. (20) Personally thus in different ways enjoying the company that He offered Himself in the form of the calves and the cowherd boys, He, the Soul of All, thereupon entered Vraja. (21) He brought Himself in the form of the different calves to the different cowsheds and next entered the different houses with the different persons He had become, oh King. (22) As soon as their mothers heard the sound of their flutes, they immediately abandoned what they were doing and lifted them like feathers up in their arms. They hugged them and allowed them, being wet from their love, to drink from their nectarean breast milk. In that spirit feeding their sons [they were thus of respect for] the Supreme Divinity [the Supreme Lord]. (23) Every time Mādhava thereupon in the evening came home, oh ruler of man, having finished what He had to do, they happily took care of Him with their actions of massaging, bathing, smearing and decorating Him, chanting mantras for His protection, marking Him with tilaka and sumptuously feeding [all the boys He was]. (24) Thereafter the cows, which had arrived in their sheds, immediately loudly mooing called for their calves. These followed them, were time and again licked by them and fed with the milk that flowed from their udders. (25) From cow and gopī there was in this matter the motherly affection as there was before, be it that since this love now was derived from the Lord [in the form of the calves and boys], it was free from the bewilderment of 'this is my child' [free from 'I' and 'mine']. (26) Now that the children of the inhabitants of Vraja, unlike before, were all like Krishna for the time of a year, the creeper of affection for them [and Him] gradually, day by day, increased without a limit. (27) Thus for the period of a year tending Himself in the form of the calves by means of Himself in the form of the cowherd boys, He, the Supersoul, wished to play His game [His līlā] in the community and the forest.
(28) One day, five or six days before a whole year had passed, the Unborn Lord, together with Balarāma taking care of the calves, entered the forest. (29) In the vicinity of Vraja looking for grass for their calves, they at a distance were spotted by the mother cows that were pasturing on top of Govardhana hill. (30) As soon as they saw them they, urged by their love, forgot about the herd. Despite the difficult path, they broke away from their caretakers and loudly mooing galloped fast [downhill] with their necks raised to their humps, their heads and tails upwards and dripping milk from their udders. (31) The cows united with their calves at the foot of the hill and, despite having calved again, fed them with their flow of milk and anxiously licked their limbs as if they wanted to swallow them. (32) The gopas, being frustrated in their efforts to keep them from the difficult and dangerous path, felt greatly ashamed for having gotten angry with them, for when they got there, they found their sons together with the cows and calves. (33) Their minds were steeped in a mood of utter, transcendental love and with that great attraction their anger melted away like snow before the sun. Lifting their boys up in their arms to embrace them, they smelled their heads and experienced the highest pleasure. (34) Thereafter the elderly gopas, overjoyed with the embraces, could only with difficulty tear themselves loose from them and had tears in their eyes upon the memory. (35) When Balarāma saw the abundance of love and the constant attachment of all the inhabitants of Vraja, however long ago their children and the calves had left behind their mother's breast, He could not understand the reason for this and wondered: (36) 'What kind of miracle is happening here? The divine love [prema] of Me and everyone here in Vraja for the children and for Vāsudeva, the Soul of the Complete Whole, has never been so great! (37) Who would be behind all this? What has caused it? Is it a divine being, is it a woman or a she-devil? In any case it must be the special grace [Māyā-devī] of My Sustainer. Who else could bewilder Me like this?' (38) Pondering thus He through His mind's eye saw that all the calves, along with their companions, were [manifestations of] the Lord of Vaikunthha. (39) [Balarāma said to Krishna:] 'These boys are no [incarnated] masters of enlightenment, nor are these calves great sages. You, oh Supreme Controller, only You, are the One who manifests Himself in all the diversity of existence. How can You be everything that exists at the same time? Tell Me, what exactly is Your word to this?' By saying these words Baladeva then with His Lordship arrived at an understanding of the situation [**].
(40) The selfborn one [Brahmā] returning after such a long time, saw that, even though it was but a moment later to his own notion [see kalpa], one year later the Lord was playing together with His expansions like He did before. (41) [He said to himself:] 'Because the many boys in Gokula together with their calves, are fast asleep situated on the bed of my deluding power, it cannot be so that they today would have risen again. (42) I therefore wonder where these boys here came from. They are different from the ones bewildered by my power of illusion. Yet the same number of them is for an entire year playing together with Vishnu!' (43) For a long time thus contemplating what the difference between the two would be, he, the selfborn one, by no means could determine who of them were the real ones and who not. (44) And thus even he, the unseen one, was factually bewildered by his own mystic power, he who wanted to mystify Vishnu, the One who, Himself being elevated above all misconception, mystifies the entire universe. (45) As meaningless as the obscurity of a fog is during the night and the light of a glowworm is during the day, a person of a lesser mystic potency will realize nothing but his own destruction, when he tries to use this power against a great personality. (46) And while the selfborn one was looking on, he saw the herders of the calves appearing with the complexion of a rain cloud and in clothes of yellow silk. (47-48) They had four arms and held a conch, a disc, a club and a lotus in Their hands. They wore helmets, earrings, necklaces and garlands of forest flowers. They were marked with the s'rīvatsa, carried the [Kaustubha] jewel around Their conch-striped necks and had bracelets around Their wrists. They had ornaments at Their feet and bangles on Their ankles. With Their belts around Their waists and Their rings around Their fingers, They were most beautiful to behold. (49) From head to toe all Their limbs were covered by strings of fresh, soft tulsī [basil] that had been offered by those [devotees] who are of great merit [see also 10.12: 7-11]. (50) With Their smiles as bright as moonlight and the clear glances of Their reddish eyes, They, being just like [the basic qualities of white] goodness and [reddish] passion, were the creators and protectors of the desires of Their devotees [compare 10.3: 20]. (51) The Praiseworthy Primal Being [of Vishnu] was by all beings moving and not moving, from the first being [of Brahmā] down to the smallest clump of grass, worshiped in different ways, with [for instance] dance and song. (52) The glory of the perfections [siddhis, being like the smallest etc.], the mystic potencies headed by Ajā [***] and the twenty-four elements of creation headed by the complete of them [the mahat-tattva] were standing around Them [in a personal appearance]. (53) They were worshiped by the time factor [kāla], the individual nature [svabhāva], the reform by purification [samskāra], desire [kāma], fruitive action [karma], the modes [guna] and other powers the glory of whose appearances was defeated by His greatness [see also B.G. 13: 22]. (54) They were embodiments of the complete one essence full of knowledge, bliss, truth and eternity. In Their glory They were of a greatness beyond the reach of even the seers of philosophy [see also 1.2: 12 and *4]. (55) The selfborn Brahmā thus saw Them all instantly as expansions of the Supreme Absolute Truth [para-brahman] by whose effulgence this entire creation, animate or inanimate, is manifested. (56) By Their radiance being caught in bliss and shaken in all his eleven senses, the selfborn one thereupon fell silent, just like the doll of a child [is nullified] by the presence of a locally worshiped deity.
(57) The One Never Born [Krishna] understood that the lord of Irā [Brahmā's consort Sarasvatī] thus was mystified. Because by [the presence of] Him who is known by the Vedas [as the Supreme Brahman] everything else is nullified, because that self-manifested [multiple] blissfulness above the material energy superseded Brahmā's glory and he therefore could not fathom what he was dealing with, the Lord all at once tore away the veil of His yogamāyā [see also 7.7: 23]. (58) Then, with his external consciousness revived, he like a dead man with difficulty stood up and opened his eyes to behold this [universe] including himself. (59) That moment looking in all directions he saw Vrindāvana situated in front of him with its many trees, a place sustaining and pleasing its inhabitants during all seasons. (60) Man and beast who are inimical by nature, live together like friends in that residence of the Invincible One from which all anger, thirst and all of that has fled away. (61) There the one residing in the beyond [Brahmā], saw Him, the Absolute Truth Without a Second, the Supreme Unlimited One of Unfathomable Knowledge who had assumed the role of a child in a cowherd family. He saw Him the way He was before: all alone and searching everywhere for His calves and boys with a morsel of food in His hand [*5]. (62) When he saw that, he quickly came down from his carrier [the swan] and fell with his body flat to the ground like a golden rod. Therewith he with the tips of his four crowns touched His feet and bowing down performed a bathing ceremony with the pure water of his tears of joy. (63) Over and over thinking about what he previously had seen, he rose and fell for a long time again and again at the feet of Krishna, the greatness present there. (64) Gradually getting up again he, looking up at Mukunda, wiped his eyes and with his head bent over, a trembling body and a faltering voice extolled Him humbly with folded hands and a concentrated mind.'
*: S'rīla Prabhupāda comments: 'Anyone materially born is subject to bewilderment. This pastime is therefore called brahma-vimohana-līlā, the pastime of bewildering Brahmā. Mohitam nābhijānāti mām ebhyah param avyayam (B.G. 7: 13). Materially born persons cannot fully understand Krishna. Even the demigods cannot understand Him (muhyanti yat sūrayah). Tene brahmā hridā ya ādi-kavaye (S.B. 1.1: 1). Everyone, from Brahmā down to the small insect, must take lessons from Krishna.'
**: S'rīla Prabhupāda comments: 'We should be careful to note that although the supreme source is one, the emanations from this source should be separately regarded as inferior and superior [meaning unconscious and conscious - ed.]. The difference between the Māyāvāda and Vaishnava philosophies is that the Vaishnava philosophy recognizes this fact. S'rī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's philosophy, therefore, is called acintya-bhedābheda - simultaneous oneness and difference.' [see also the dual position taken by Krishna in the Bhagavad Gītā 7: 3-6].
***: Ajah means unborn but Ajā, the she-goat, is a nickname of His deluding power by Māyā-devī or Durgā. According to Prabhupāda [the paramparā] namely the word ajā means māyā, or mystic power: everything mysterious is in full existence in Vishnu. Ajā Taulvali is, according the Cologne lexicon, the name of a Muni who lived on the milk of a she-goat [an ajā]. The term aja [the he-goat] itself refers to the leader of the flock, the driver, mover, instigator, and is used for indicating Indra, Rudra, one of the Maruts, Agni, the sun, Brahmā, Vishnu and S'iva.
*4: S'rīla Prabhupāda comments: 'Yet although Krishna cannot be seen through the Upanishads, in some places it is said that Krishna can in fact be known in this way. Aupanishadam purusham: "He is known by the Upanishads." This means that when one is purified by Vedic knowledge, one is then allowed to enter into devotional understanding (mad-bhaktim labhate parām [B.G. 18: 54]).'
*5: S'rīla Prabhupāda comments: 'A similar incident occurred when Brahmā went to see Krishna in Dvārakā. When Krishna's doorman informed Lord Krishna that Lord Brahmā had arrived, Krishna responded, "Which Brahmā? Ask him which Brahmā." The doorman relayed this question, and Brahmā was astonished. "Is there another Brahmā besides me?" he thought. When the doorman informed Lord Krishna, "It is four-headed Brahmā," Lord Krishna said, "Oh, four-headed. Call others. Show him".'
Chapter 14: Brahmā's Prayers to Lord Krishna
(1) S'rī Brahmā said: 'My praise for You, oh Son of the Cowherd King, oh worshipable Lord, whose beauty is characterized by a resplendent face, soft feet, a body as dark as a raincloud, clothes as bright as lightening, guńjā [seed] ornaments [on Your ears], peacock feathers, a garland of forest flowers, a morsel of food [see 10.13: 14], a rod, a bugle and a flute. (2) Oh Godhead so full of mercy for me, even with this body of Yours before me, that to the desire of Your devotees has manifested but at the other hand is not a material product at all, I, Brahmā, with my inward mind cannot directly fathom Your greatness, not to mention the happiness You experience within Yourself. (3) Even though You are Invincible in the three worlds, You surrender to the will of those persons who, in maintaining their material positions, regularly exercise their body, words and mind and [are prepared to] listen to the stories about You the way they are described by the devotees - by those truthful souls who, living simply, offer their obeisances and no longer try to be of any intellectual achievement [apart from You]. (4) The so highly beneficial path of bhakti, oh Almighty Lord, is rejected by those who struggle exclusively for the achievement of knowledge ['enlightenment']. Their efforts though mean nothing but trouble to them, just as empty husks are nothing but a hindrance to those who are threshing. (5) A long time ago, oh Almighty One, there was in this world many a yoga adept who, dedicating all his actions to You, acquired insight by doing his duty. It is indeed so that, by performing devotional service, someone with the presentation [the chanting and reading] of Your stories easily can achieve Your Supreme Destination, oh Infallible One [see also 7.5: 23-24]! (6) Nevertheless, oh Completeness of Existence, only he is able to understand the potency of You as being without material qualities [nirguna], who is of a pure engagement with a mind and senses that are free from agitations. A person is truly free from attachments to this or that form only when he follows Your love without another instruction for himself, and not otherwise. (7) Great scientists in the long run might succeed in counting all the particles of the earth, the sky, the snow and the light of the stars. But who can count all the qualities of You, the Self of All Qualities [gunātma], who descended for the benefit of all living beings [compare 8.5: 6]? (8) Someone who earnestly hopes for Your compassion, endures the consequences of his own actions and offers You his obeisances with his heart, words and body, will lead a life directed at the position of liberation, because he then will be the heir of Your service [see also 1.5: 17, 1.19: 32, 2.1: 12, 3.33: 6, 4.20: 11, 4.29: 38 etc.]. (9) Just see, oh Lord, how I, just to test Your potency, by expanding my illusory power, have behaved myself in an uncivilized manner towards even You, the Deluder of All Deluders, the Unlimited, Original Supersoul. What is my will compared to Yours? But a spark relative to a fire! (10) Therefore, oh Infallible One, I offer You my excuses, I, the passion of the world, who as the unborn one thought himself to be independent from You. My eyes were blinded by the darkness of ignorance. Does someone like me, who accepts You as his master, not deserve Your mercy? (11) What am I with my material nature, with those seven vitasti [± 63 inches] of this body, with this totality of matter, false ego, ether, air, fire, water and earth that surrounds me like a pot? What am I compared to the unlimited universes that like atomic dust move away from the openings and pores of Your body, Your greatness [see also 1.3: 3 and 3: 11]? (12) Oh Lord from the Beyond, does the mother count it as an offense when a child kicks its legs within the womb? What, being labeled with designations as 'real' or 'not real', would there actually be outside of Your abdomen? (13) Have I, the 'selfborn' Brahmā [aja *5], not originated from You? Are the words untrue that state that when the three worlds ended and You, Nārāyana, laid down in the waters of devastation, I have appeared on the lotus of the stem that grew from Your abdomen [see 3: 8]? (14) Are You not Nārāyana, the Soul of all living beings? You are the Teacher Within the Heart, the Witness of All Worlds, the Nāra-ayana: the lead of man and the source from which the waters originated. That is what You truly are and not so much your deluding material energy [māyā] *. (15) If that real transcendental body of Yours, which shelters the entire universe, is situated upon the water, why then did I not see it, oh Supreme Lord [when I was looking for You]? And why did You, when I could not see You clearly in the heart, on the other hand then suddenly become visible again [see 3.8: 22]? (16) In this incarnation, oh Dispeller of Māyā, You [by opening Your mouth] have demonstrated to Your mother the illusory nature of this externally visible manifested universe, that is also in its entirety present inside of You [see 10.7: 35-36 & 10.8: 37-39]. (17) The way all of this, including Yourself, is visible within You, it is also fully present outside. This is only possible because of Your inconceivable potency! (18) Did You not just today show me how this creation, Your lawfulness, is based on Your bewildering potency? First You were there all alone and then You became all of Vraja's boys and calves. Next You even became a same number of four-handed forms, who were served by all [the powers] including me, and then You became an equal number of universes [10.13: 53]. Then You again became the One Infinite Absolute Truth without a second... (19) For those who, unaware of Your position, understand You the material way, You, by expanding Your māyā, appear as Me for the matters of creation, as Yourself for the purpose of maintenance and as the Three-eyed One [Lord S'iva] in the end. (20) You, who are [factually] unborn, oh Lord, take Your birth among the enlightened souls and the seers, as also among the human beings, the animals and the aquatics, oh Master and Creator, to subdue the false pride of the non-devotees and to be of mercy for the devotees [see also B.G. 4: 8]. (21) Who, oh Greatest Supreme Lord, oh Supersoul and Master of Yoga, knows where and how, to what degree or when in the three worlds You expand the play of Your spiritual energy [yoga-māyā], Your pastimes? (22) For that reason this complete whole, which is untrue [asat, temporary] in its form, is just like a dream wherein one's awareness is covered by all kinds of distress. While one inside of You finds Your unlimited forms of consciousness, eternity and happiness [sat, permanent, see also B.G. 2: 16 and **], originated from the material energy that what seems to be true [outside]. (23) You are the One Soul, the Original Personality, the Oldest One, the Truth, the Light from Within without a beginning and an end, the eternally unchangeable, unimpeded happiness free from impurities, the Complete Whole Without a Second that is everlasting and defies all description. (24) They who from the sunlike spiritual master received the perfect vision of the confidential philosophy, can by that description see You as the very Soul, the Supersoul of all souls. It are they who easily cross ocean of an untrue worldly existence. (25) For those who do not understand You as being the Supreme Soul, for that reason alone a totally material life unfolds that dissolves again with a spiritual vision, just as with a rope [in illusion the image of] a snake may appear and disappear again. (26) Designations of being bound to matter or being liberated, rise from ignorance. When one realizes that the two have no separate existence, one is situated in the true knowledge and unhindered consciousness [as-it-is, free from māyā] of the supreme transcendental self. [They at that time lose their meaning,] just as day and night are matters doubtful to the sun itself. (27) Oh, how ignorant the foolishness is of persons who think of You, the Original Soul, as being something else, and consider the self as something to be looked for [as someone present] in the outside world [see B.G. 18: 16]! (28) The realized devotees [the sages], who reject everything that is not 'that' [see neti neti 7.7: 23], chase You within themselves, oh Unlimited One. How can such a person of discrimination, appreciate the true nature of the 'rope' he sees before him, without rejecting the [therewith associated] illusion of seeing a 'snake' [see also 10.6: 8, and B.G. 18: 37]? (29) It is therefore so, my Lord, that someone who is blessed with but a trace of Your lotus feet, can understand the truth of the glory of Your Supreme Personality, while that is not possible for someone else, however long he might speculate. (30) May it therefore be so, oh Lord, that in this birth, a next one or even another type of birth, there will be that greatest fortune in which I, by becoming one of Your devotees, am fully of service at the lotus buds of Your feet? (31) How fortunate are the cows and the gopīs of Vraja from whom You, to Your full satisfaction in the form of the calves and boys, have been drinking the nectarine breast milk. Oh Almighty Lord, that satisfaction of You could as yet by no Vedic sacrifice be equaled! (32) What a happiness, oh what a fortune it is for Nanda, the gopas and the other inhabitants of Vraja, to have You as their friend, You the Complete, Absolute and Eternal Truth of Transcendental Happiness. (33) However great the good fortune and glory of these people might be, oh Infallible One, we, the eleven [presiding deities of the senses ***], Lord S'iva and the other leading demigods, are very happy to drink, again and again, from the cups of the senses of these devotees, the nectarean beverage of Your sweet lotus feet. (34) Whatever birth I would take here in this forest [even as this or that animal or plant], would bring me the greatest happiness, just because I then would bathe in the dust of the feet of any of them [out here], whose life is completely devoted to the Supreme Lord Mukunda the dust of whose feet even today is sought in the Vedic mantras [the S'rutis]. (35) What but Yourself, the source of all benedictions, oh Godhead, would You grant as a reward to these members of the cowherd community? All of their homes, wealth, friends, dear ones, bodies, children, life-air and minds are dedicated to You. When our mind thinks of anything else it falls in illusion. For did You not even arrange it indubitably so that Pūtanā - who dressed up as a devotee - and also her family members [Bakā and Agha] could reach You, oh divine personality? (36) As long as the people are not Yours, oh Krishna, their attachments and such are all thieves, their home is a prison and their infatuation is as a pair of shackles to their feet. (37) Despite of being completely transcendental You on this earth imitate [and deride] the material ways, oh Master, just to increase the amount of happiness of the people of surrender. (38) Let the people [who claim to know] of Your unlimited potency think what they like - why all these words? That is not my way, oh Master. Your magnificence is not within the range of my mind, body and words [see B.G. 2: 42-44]! (39) Permit me to leave, oh Krishna. You know everything, You see all, You alone are the master of all universes, I put this universe at Your disposal. (40) S'rī Krishna, oh bestower of pleasure of the lotus of the Vrishni dynasty, You are the cause of the development of the seas of demigods, brahmins and animals of this earth. When there are unsound doctrines You dispel the darkness. You are the opponent of the ogres on earth. For as long as the sun shines, till the end of time, I, oh worshipable Supreme Lord, will offer You my obeisances.
(41) S'rī S'uka said: 'Thus having extolled the Wealth of the World, the creator of the universe returned to his abode, after having circumambulated Him three times and having bowed down to His feet. (42) The Supreme Lord granted the one who had originated from Him permission to leave and then brought the calves back to the riverbank where they had been. There, just as it was before, all His friends were present. (43) Although one year had passed and they, without the Lord of their lives, had been covered by Krishna's māyā, it was to the conception of the boys but half a moment ago, oh King. (44) What do persons whose minds are under the spell of māyā not forget out here? Because of illusion the entire world is perpetually bewildered and forgetful about itself [its soul, its original identity]. (45) The friends said to Krishna: 'You have returned quickly, we have not eaten even a single bite more, please come here and take Your meal as should.' (46) Smiling at them, the Lord of the Senses thereupon took His meal with the cowherd boys whom He, when they returned from the forest to Vraja, showed the skin of the python Aghāsura [see 10.12]. (47) He whose body was decorated with a peacock feather, with flowers and colors from the forest, loudly played the bamboo flute. He called for the calves while the horns sounded and the boys sang about His purifying glories. Thus with His comrades entering the pasture grounds [near Vrindāvana] He was a pleasure to the eyes of the gopīs. (48) In Vraja the boys sang: 'Today we have been saved by the son of Yas'odā and Nanda, who killed a great serpent!'*: Based upon this verse S'rīla Prabhupāda in the Caitanya-Caritāmrita, Ādi-līlā, chapter two, text 30 states that Krishna is considered the real source of all other expansions of the Vishnu forms and other demigods originating from them: 'Lord Krishna is Nārāyana, the father of Brahmā, because Lord Krishna's plenary expansion Garbhodakas'āyī Vishnu, after placing Himself on the Garbha Ocean, created Brahmā from His own body. Mahā-Vishnu in the Causal Ocean and Kshīrodakas'āyī Vishnu, the Supersoul in everyone's heart, are also transcendental expansions of the Supreme Truth."
(49) The king said: 'Please, oh brahmin, explain how there could be such an unprecedented amount of love for the child of someone else, that Krishna was, a love that even exceeded the love [the gopas and gopīs had] for their own offspring?'
(50) S'rī S'uka said: 'One's own self is most dear to every living being, oh ruler of man. All the love for others, children, wealth and so on is based on it. (51) Oh best of kings, the love of embodied beings for their own individual self is therefore not equal to the love they have for that what belongs to them, like sons, wealth, homes and so forth. (52) Persons who speak of the body as being their self [see also ahankāra], oh best of kings, therefore [also] hold their body as most dear and certainly do not attach an equal value to that what [or the other person] they are associated with [see also B.G. 2: 71]. (53) If one considers the body as something that one possesses [though], it consequently will not be as dear as the soul [the true self]. After all, when it grows old the desire to stay alive remains equally strong. (54) [The self of] one's own soul is therefore most dear to all embodied beings. It constitutes in fact the purpose of existence of all the moving and not moving living entities in the universe. (55) In this you should know Krishna as the Soul of all souls [or the Supersoul]. It is He [that Self] who, by His own potency appearing as a human being, is present on this planet for the benefit of the entire universe. (56) They who in this world know Krishna as He really is, understand that the moving and not moving living entities [including inorganic matter] are two different manifestations of the Supreme Lord. He is the Complete Whole, the essence outside of which nothing exists out here [compare B.G. 7: 26]. (57) He is the original cause of all in existence, and even the cause of that unmanifest nature [of the unmanifested matter of pradhāna]. Is there anything that can exist apart from Krishna, the Supreme Lord? (58) His lotus feet, that are like a boat, the feet that for the entire universe [even for the greatest gods] are the refuge of virtue and merit of Him who is so famous as the enemy of Mura [the demon], constitute for those who seek shelter with them the Supreme Abode. In this place [named Vaikunthha] none of the material miseries are found. With each step taken with them the ocean of material existence is [not more than the water in] a calf's hoof-print [compare 10.1: 5-7 and 10.2: 30].
(59) Everything you asked about what the Lord did at His fifth year, and was declared at His sixth, I have now described to you. (60) The person who hears or sings about these pastimes of Lord Murāri annihilating Agha, how He with His friends was taking lunch in an open spot in the forest and about the other-worldly [multiple Vishnu] form that He assumed with the selfborn one who so elaborately offers his prayers, will achieve all the [spiritual] ends he desired.' (61) *4
**: In his commentary on the Vedanta-sūtra, S'rīla Madhvācārya quotes the following statement from the Vedic s'ruti-mantras: 'satyam hy evedam vis'vam asrijata'. "This universe, created by the Lord, is real."
***: The 'eleven' pertains to the demigods ruling over the senses of action and perception plus the mind: the Digdevatās rule audition, the Vayus rule the tactile sense, Sūrya rules sight, Varuna rules taste, the As'vinī-kumāras rule the olfactory sense, Agni rules speech, Indra rules the hands, Upendra rules the feet, Mitra rules the defecation, Prajāpati rules the organ of generation and Candra rules the mind. S'iva is the god presiding over ahankāra, false ego.
*4: There is a last verse to this chapter identical to the last one of chapter eleven: verse 10.11: 59.
'The two boys thus passed their childhood in the cow-community with different children's games like playing hide and seek, building dams and jumping around like they were monkeys.'
[translated by the pupils of Prabhupāda as]: 'In this way the boys spent their childhood in the land of Vrindāvana playing hide-and-go-seek, building play bridges, jumping about like monkeys and engaging in many other such games.'
This verse present in the original Sanskrit probably does not belong here. It must have accidentally been transferred from chapter 11 in the process of manual copying through the ages.
*5: Brahmā is in this chapter just like Krishna called the unborn one or aja; not to get confused it is here translated with 'selfborn', svāyam-bhu, another name for Brahmā as the one directly born from Nārāyana, while Krishna, contrary to what it seems in His descending in a material form, factually is the never born primeval source [see also footnote *** to the previous chapter].
Chapter 15: The Killing of Dhenuka, the Ass Demon and Poison in the River(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'When They [Rāma and Krishna] in Vraja attained the age of boyhood [six to ten years old], the two who rendered Vrindāvana most pleasurable with Their footprints, were old enough to be cowherds. Together with Their friends They thereupon were commissioned to tend the cows [*]. (2) Mādhava ['the Sweet Lord'], eager to play, surrounded by the gopas who were chanting His fame, sounding His flute and keeping the animals together with Balarāma in front of Him, entered the forest that had many flowers and a lot of nourishment for the cows. (3) The most enchanting forest was filled with the sounds of bees, animals and birds. There was a lake with water as clear as the minds of the great [sages], and it had a fragrance, originating from hundred-petalled lotuses, that was carried by the wind. When the Supreme Lord saw this He decided to play there. (4) The moment the Original Personality saw the beauty everywhere of the stately trees that with the tips of their branches touched His feet with their heavy load of fruits, flowers and reddish buds, He joyfully, almost laughing, spoke to His elder brother. (5) The Supreme Lord said: 'Oh Best of the Gods, these trees at Your lotus feet that are worshiped by the demigods, with their heads bowing down are presenting offerings of flowers and fruits to put an end to the ignorance because of which they were born in their form. (6) Oh Original Personality, these bees, following You, as the most intimate great sages among Your devotees, do - despite Your hiding in the forest - not abandon You as their personal deity, oh Sinless One, while singing their worship of You, the place of pilgrimage for all the worlds! (7) These peacocks, oh Worshipable One, are dancing with joy. These doe are pleasing You with their glances as if they were the gopīs, and the cuckoos do Vedic prayers. They, as residents of the forest being blessed with such a saintly nature, are all fortunate to see You now arriving at their place. (8) Blessed today are this earth, her grasses and bushes, that receive the touch of Your feet. Blessed are the trees and creepers struck by Your fingernails. The rivers, mountains, birds and animals are blessed with the mercy of Your glances, and blessed are the gopīs in Your arms that are constantly craved by the Goddess of Fortune.'*: It is stated in the Kārttika-māhātmya section of the Padma Purāna:
(9) S'rī S'uka said: 'Lord Krishna this way being satisfied by all of Vrindāvana's beauty, took delight in pasturing together with His companions the animals on the river banks at the foot of the mountain [Govardhana]. (10-12) Sometimes, when His companions together with Balarāma on their way sang about His glories, He sang along with the humming bees that were blind under His influence. He sometimes imitated the chattering broken speech of the parrots, and then cuckooed with the charming cuckooing of the cuckoos. Sometimes He cooed along with the swans, and sometimes He danced hilariously in front of a peacock. With a voice [rumbling] like the clouds He sometimes affectionately called the animals, which had wandered off, by their names, and spoke endearingly with the cows and their protectors. (13) He cried out in imitation of the cakora birds, the curlews, the ruddy geese, the skylarks and the peacocks, and then again acted with the smaller creatures as if [also] He was afraid of the tigers and lions. (14) Sometimes, when His elder brother being tired of playing used the lap of a gopa for a pillow, He would personally relieve Him by massaging His feet and performing other services. (15) When the cowherd boys so now and then danced, sang, moved about and wrestled, They stood hand in hand laughing and praised them. (16) At times, when He was tired of the wrestling, He sought His refuge at the foot of a tree to lie on a bed of twigs and leaves, and use the lap of a gopa for a pillow. (17) Some of them, who were all great souls, massaged His feet while others, free from all sin, fanned Him nicely with fans. (18) Others befitting the occasion, oh great King, would sing [songs] reflecting the spirit of the Great Soul, while their hearts slowly melted of love. (19) He in His activities pretending to be a cowherd, concealed His personal opulence with the help of His mystic potency. He whose tender feet are served by the Goddess of Fortune, enjoyed like a villager with the villagers, even though He with His heroic deeds had proven Himself to be the Master and Controller.
(20) The gopa S'rīdāmā, a friend of Rāma and Kes'ava, together with others like Subala and Stokakrishna [one day] lovingly said the following: (21) 'Rāma, oh Rāma, oh Mighty-armed One, oh Krishna, Destroyer of the Wicked Ones, not far away from here there is a very great forest full of palm trees [called Tālavana]. (22) Many fruits there have fallen from the trees, but they are checked by Dhenuka, the evil one. (23) Oh Rāma, oh Krishna, he is a very powerful demon who has assumed the form of an ass, and he is surrounded by other companions that are as strong as he is. (24) He has killed human beings and eaten them, everyone is afraid to go there, oh Killer of the Enemies. All kinds of animals and flocks of birds have abandoned the place. (25) There are fragrant fruits we have never tasted. The aroma they spread is noticed everywhere. (26) Please, oh Krishna, give them to us whose hearts are craving because of the fragrance. The desire is so strong, oh Rāma, let us go there, if You consider it a good idea.'
(27) Having heard these words from Their friends, the two masters laughed and, wishing to please Their comrades, went to the Tālavana forest surrounded by the gopas [compare 3.28: 31-33]. (28) Balarāma having arrived there, employed His great strength and shook like a mad elephant with His two arms the trees to all sides, so that the fruits fell down. (29) When he heard the fruits falling the donkey demon ran hither with a heavy gallop that made the earth and the trees tremble. (30) Meeting Him, the powerful demon struck Balarāma's chest quickly with his two hind legs and then ran about producing an ugly ass bray. (31) The furious, screaming beast approached Him again and angrily hurled with his back turned forward, his two legs at Balarāma, oh King. (32) [But] He seized him by the hooves, whirled him around with one hand and threw him, [being dashed against a palmyra] with his life spun out of him, in the top of a palm tree. (33) The big palm tree shook heavily with its large crown because of that blow and next broke down, along with another one that started to shake next to it. That tree on its turn took down another one, and so it went further. (34) Balarāma, with His game of donkey corpse throwing, made all the palm trees [of the forest] shake and hit each other as if they were blown about by a hurricane. (35) This feat of war of the Fortunate One is not that surprising at all, for He is the Unlimited One Controller of the Universe, in whom the length and width of the world[s] are woven like the threads of [the warp and woof] of a piece of cloth. (36) Then, enraged about the death of their comrade, all the asses that were Dhenuka's close friends, attacked Krishna and Rāma. (37) But attacking Krishna and Rāma, oh King, one after the other was easily seized by the hind legs and thrown in the stately palms. (38) The earth, being covered with heaps of fruits, palm treetops and lifeless daitya bodies, offered a view as radiating as the sky decorated with clouds. (39) When the demigods and other transcendentalists heard about that immense triumph of the Two, they showered a rain of flowers, played music and offered prayers. (40) With Dhenuka being killed, the fruits of the palm trees could be eaten by the people who were no longer afraid, and the animals could graze again in the forest.
(41) Krishna, the Lord with the lotus petal eyes about whom it is so auspicious to hear and chant, returned with His elder brother to Vraja, glorified by the gopas who followed Them. (42) All the gopīs, with eyes hungry to see Him came to meet Him, who still had the dust in His hair that was thrown up by the cows, He, with His peacock feather, forest flowers, charming eyes and beautiful smile, who played His flute and whose glories were sung by the gopas. (43) Entering the cowherd village He heartily welcomed the ladies of Vraja who in their veneration being bashful, humble and laughing, like bees searching for honey, with sidelong glances were drinking in the face of Mukunda, He who constituted their liberation. And therewith they gave up the grief they had suffered during the day from having been separated from Him. (44) Mother Yas'odā and Rohinī, most lovingly, catered to the desires of their two sons by presenting Them at the right time the finest offerings. (45) The fatigue of their journey vanished with a bath and a massage and such, after which They were dressed with a charming cloth around Their waist and were decorated with divine garlands and fragrances. (46) With the delicious preparations offered to Them They ate Their fill, and thus being pampered by Their mothers, They fell happily asleep in Their fine beds in Vraja.
(47) Oh King, Krishna, the Supreme Lord who thus operated in Vrindāvana, went one day, without Balarāma and in the company of His friends, to the Kālindi [the Yamunā, see also **]. (48) The cows, who together with the gopas suffered from the glaring summer sun, tormented by thirst drank from the water of the river, but it was polluted, it was spoiled by poison. (49-50) Because they got in touch with that poisoned water they lost their consciousness and all fell lifeless down at the waterside, oh best of the Kurus. Lord Krishna, the Master of all Masters of Yoga, who saw them in that state, thereupon brought them back to life by casting His glance - which is as a shower of nectar - on them who had accepted Him as their master. (51) Regaining their senses, they got up at the waterside and all stood most surprised looking at each other. (52) They came to the conclusion that they, after having drunk the poison and had fallen dead, oh King, by the grace of Govinda's merciful glance had risen again.'
s'uklāshthamī kārttike tu
smritā gopāshthamī budhaih
tad-dinād vāsudevo 'bhūd
gopah pūrvam tu vatsapah
"The eighth lunar day of the bright fortnight of the month of Kārttika is known by authorities as Gopāshthamī. From that day, Lord Vāsudeva served as a cowherd, whereas previously He had tended the calves."
**: The Kalinda is the name of the mountain from which the river Yamunā rises.
Chapter 16: Krishna Chastises the Serpent Kāliya
(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'The Black Lord [Krishna], the Almighty One, seeing the black waters contaminated by the black snake, wanted to purge the river of the serpent living there.'
(2) The king said: 'How did the Supreme Lord subdue the serpent in that dangerous water and how could it reside there for so many ages, oh learned one? Please explain. (3) Oh brahmin, who can get enough of sharing the nectar of the magnanimous pastimes of Him, the Supreme Unlimited Lord, who as a cowherd boy acted to His own bidding?'
(4) S'rī S'uka said: 'In the Kālindī there was a certain pool where Kāliya [as the serpent was called] resided and its water boiled because of the fire of his poison. Birds flying over it would fall [dead] into its waters. (5) All plant and animal life on the shore died because it came into contact with the poisonous vapor that by the wind was carried from the waves. (6) Krishna had descended to subdue the wicked. Seeing how severely the river was contaminated by the terribly effective, powerful poison, He climbed in a Kadamba tree, slapped His arms, tightened His belt and jumped into the poisoned water. (7) The water of the serpent's lake in turmoil from the poison that the snake was vomiting, because of the force of the fall of the Essential Person, started to overflow on all sides so that its fearsome waves washed over the shore for a hundred bow lengths. What an immeasurable strength that was! (8) My best one, when the snake heard the sound that Krishna produced while He, playing like a big elephant, with His mighty arms was engaged in whirling the waters around, he rushed forward, unable to tolerate the violation of his territory. (9) And while He, so attractive in His yellow garments and as delicate as a glowing white cloud, with the S'rīvatsa, His smiling beautiful face and with His feet, which resembled the inside of a lotus, thus fearlessly was playing, He was angrily bitten in the chest by him and enveloped in his coils. (10) Seeing Him in the grip of the snake's coils being immobilized, His dear friends, the tenders of the animals, were greatly disturbed. With their intelligence bewildered, in pain and full of remorse and fear, they fell to the ground, for they had dedicated everything, themselves, their relations, their wealth, their wives and objects of desire to Krishna. (11) The cows, the bulls and the she-calves, with their eyes fixed on Krishna, cried out loudly in great distress while they fearfully lamented in shock.
(12) Thereupon most fearsome, ominous disturbances arose in Vraja. Three kinds of signs, to be observed in the sky, upon the earth and in the living beings, heralded imminent danger. (13-15) The cowherds, headed by Nanda, who saw these signs, were beset with fear. They knew that Krishna herding the cows had left without Balarāma. Not knowing His prowess, they were overwhelmed by pain, grief and fear. Because of those bad omens they thought that something bad had happened and could only think of Him, who was their very life breath. The children, the elderly and the ladies, my best one, all felt as wretched as a cow missing her calf, and anxiously set out to look for Krishna. (16) Balarāma, the Sweet Supreme Lord, seeing them that distressed, gently smiled and did not speak a word, knowing well the power of His younger brother. (17) Searching for their dear most Krishna, they followed the trail marked by the footprints of the Lord. They led to the bank of the Yamunā. (18) Quickly they followed the marks of the lotus, the barleycorn, the elephant goad, the thunderbolt and the flag, of the Master of the cowherd community, my best one, which they here and there, dispersed between other footprints, saw on the cow path. (19) When they at a distance saw Krishna motionless within the lake enveloped by the coils of the snake body, and the cowherd boys lying unconscious in the flooded water with all the animals crying around them, they in their distress were delivered to the greatest despair. (20) Now that their sweetheart was seized by the serpent, the gopīs who in their hearts were so attached to Him, the Supreme, Unlimited Personality, while remembering His loving smiles, glances and words, were tormented by the greatest agony. Being deprived of their darling, they experienced the three worlds as being completely empty [see also S'ikshāshthaka verse 7]. (21) Holding back Krishna's mother, they, with their eyes fixed upon her son, equally pained shed a flow of tears. Standing there like corpses they stared at Krishna's face, and one by one recounted the stories about the Darling of Vraja. (22) Nanda and his men seeing Krishna, their life and soul, were by the All-powerful Lord Balarāma, who knew well the might of Krishna, withheld to enter the lake. (23) When He, the only one they had, for some time was caught in that position and saw how His cowherd folk on His behalf was standing there in utter despair together with the women and children, He put an end to His imitation of the mortal way [the illusion of His mortality] and rose up from the coils of the serpent. (24) By expanding His body the serpent was forced to let Him go because of the pain. Kāliya thereupon furiously raised his hoods high, breathed heavily through his nostrils that were like two vessels of boiling poison, and stared the Lord in the face with eyes like firebrands. (25) Kāliya, moving his double-pointed tongue to and fro between his two lips and with his terrible look full of poisonous fire eagerly spying for an opportunity to strike, was by Him playfully approached from all sides by moving around him like He was the king of the birds [Garuda]. (26) Thus turning around him He exhausted him and forced him to bend down his highly raised shoulders. Krishna thereupon climbed on top of the broad heads and then, as the Original One, the First Spiritual Master of All the Arts, started to dance. His lotus feet in touch [with the snake] therewith turned red from [the light of] the many jewels on the heads. (27) That very moment His servants arrived together with their wives: the heavenly singers and perfected souls, the sages and the venerable souls. Taking notice of Him being engaged in His dancing, they all were greatly pleased [and expressed their joy] with playing two-sided clay drums, smaller drums and large drums, and with songs, flowers and other forms of praise. (28) Whichever of Kāliya's one hundred-and-one heads would not bow down, my best one, were immediately trampled down by Krishna. The Lord, who with His kicking feet punishes the evil ones, made the serpent, that still moved but the life of which ran at its end, spit horrible [poisonous] blood from its mouth and nostrils, while it experienced the greatest anguish. (29) Poison oozed from his eyes, and whichever vomiting head that he breathing heavily in his anger would rise, Krishna, while dancing, with His foot forced down into submission. Every time that happened, He with flowers was worshiped for being the Original Person. (30) Profusely vomiting blood, with his numerous hoods broken and with his body defeated by His amazing dancing, oh ruler of man, Kāliya remembered the oldest person, Lord Nārāyana, the spiritual master of all moving and nonmoving entities. Within his mind he turned to Him for shelter. (31) Seeing that the serpent got tired of the heavy weight of the heels of Lord Krishna, in whose abdomen the entire universe is found, and that his umbrella-like hoods were shattered by His trampling, his wives in distress approached the Original Lord with their clothing, ornaments and locks of hair in disarray. (32) Innerly totally upset approaching for shelter, they laid their bodies and children on the ground before Him, the Lord and Refuge of All Creatures. They bowed down, saintly joined their hands and solicited the liberation of their sinful husband.
(33) The wives of the serpent said: 'The punishment for this person who acted against the rules is deserved. With an equal vision towards sons and foes, You descended in this world to subdue the wicked ones and punish for the sake of a positive result. (34) This punishment of falsehood administered by You, is actually a form of mercy, because by dispelling the contamination, as You did with his appearance as a serpent, You, even being angry, are of grace in accepting the embodied souls. (35) Of what kind of properly performed [voluntary] penance has he been in his former lives, with which he, free from pride and thinking of others, religiously or otherwise being of compassion with everybody, has satisfied You, the Good Self of all living beings? (36) We do not know what [of his actions] led to this result, oh Lord. To be qualified to touch the dust of Your lotus feet, is something for which the Goddess of Fortune, the best of all women, has performed austerities, has given up all desires by keeping to her vow for a long time. (37) They who attained the dust of Your lotus feet, neither desire heaven, nor rulership over all, neither want to be the topmost creator, nor the master of the world, and neither wish the perfections of yoga, nor freedom from rebirth [see also S'ikshāshthaka verse 4]. (38) Even though he, the king of the serpents, being born in the mode of ignorance, oh Lord, was under the sway of anger, he has achieved that what is so difficult for others to achieve. For those who, filled with desires, are covered by a physical body and wander through the cycles of material existence [through different lives], all opulence will manifest itself before their eyes because of that [dust]. (39) We offer You, the Supreme Lord, the Original Person and the Greater Soul, You, the Shelter of All that Exists, the Supreme Primordial Cause and the Supreme One in the Beyond, our obeisances. (40) For You, the Ocean of Spiritual Knowledge and Wisdom, for You, the Absolute Truth of an unlimited potency, for You who are free from the modes and free from all changes of form, for You, the Prime Mover, there is our reverence. (41) We pray for You as the Time, for You as the Certainty with the Time and for You as the Witness of all Time measures. Our prayers are there for You in the Form of the Universe, for You as the One Supervising it All, for You as its Supreme Creator, and for You who are the Original Cause of the Universe. (42-43) Our obeisances for You who are the Soul and refuge for the intelligence, the spirit, the life breath and the senses, for You who constitute the subtle basis for the perception and the material elements, for You from whom [turned away] one falsely identifies with the three modes so that one's self-awareness is covered. We pray to You, the Unlimited One, the Transcendental One who are the center to the multitude, You who are the omniscient one and He who accepts the different doctrines [philosophies or dars'anas], and constitutes the power of the expression of ideas and words. (44) Again and again we prove our respects for the foundation of all authoritative proof, for the author of the revealed scriptures, and for the source of the Vedic texts that both restrict [nivritti] and incite [pravritti]. (45) We bow before Lord Krishna and Lord Rāma [Sankarshana], the sons of Vasudeva, as also before Pradyumna and Aniruddha [Krishna's son and grandson, see 4.24: 35-36]. Our obeisances to the Master of the Sātvatas [the devotees of Krishna, Satvata]. (46) Our salutations are there for Him who manifests the various qualities, He who disguises Himself by the modes but who also because of the functioning of the modes can be acknowledged, He, who by His devotees is known as the [independent] witness of those basic qualities. (47) Oh Controller of the Senses, let there be our reverence for You who are so inscrutable in Your unmanifest state and so perfect in the state of all Your manifest forms, for You who acts so silently with the silent ones. (48) We worship Him, the Knower of the Higher and Lower Destinations, the Regulator of All Things, You who stand apart from the universe and [yet] are the universe itself, You who are the Overseer of That and the Root Cause of this all. (49) You are the Almighty Lord of the Creation, Maintenance and Destruction of this universe who, beginningless and without acting with the modes, with the potency of Time endeavors [to promote the balance] in relation to the modes. While impeccably playing Your game, You by Your glance awaken the distinctive dormant characteristics of each of these [modes]. (50) The souls of peace, the restless souls and those born in slowness are Your material embodiments [of the modes] in the three worlds. Wishing to maintain the dharma You [therewith being embodied Yourself] are present in this world in order to protect the saintly and the peace-loving souls dear to You. (51) The master for once should tolerate the offense that was committed by his own subject. You oh Peace Personified, should forgive it this foolish one [our husband] who failed to understand You. (52) Oh Supreme Lord have mercy, the serpent is breathing his last. Since we women are pitied by the saints, our husband should be granted his life. (53) Please tell us, Your maidservants, what we should do. By the faithful execution of Your command one will surely be released from all fear.'
(54) S'rī S'uka said: 'He, the Supreme Lord, thus extensively praised by the wives of the stupefied snake, thereupon released him whose heads were defeated by His trampling feet. (55) Slowly he regained his senses and vital force. Breathing with difficulty and being miserable, Kāliya spoke submissively to Krishna. (56) Kāliya said: 'We [snakes] so vicious and ignorant by birth, are of a constant anger. For normal living beings it is difficult to give up the propensities by which they hold on to that what is untrue [their physicality], oh Lord! (57) Oh Creator, oh Lord of the Time and the Seasons, You are the one who generated this universe filled with the appearances of the natural modes that are endowed with different personal propensities in varieties of talents and physical capabilities, wombs and seeds, and different mentalities and forms. (58) And we present here in this world, oh Supreme Lord, who because of the serpent species are bound to anger, how can we in our bewilderment of our own accord get rid of Your insuperable Māyā? (59) Let there from Your good self, as the cause in this matter, as the Knower of this All, as the Master of this Universe, for us be the arrangement You think fit, whether it concerns Your mercy or Your punishment.'
(60) S'rī S'uka said: 'The Supreme Lord, in the role of a human being thus hearing the words then said: 'You, oh serpent, must not stay here any longer. Go directly to the ocean with your folk, your children and women. May the wealth of the river be enjoyed by the human beings and the cows. (61) Any mortal being who remembers this command of Mine to you and recites it at the beginning and the end of the day, will not be afraid of you. (62) He who at the place of this pastime of Mine bathes and gratifies the gods and others with the water, will be freed from all sins, when he remembers Me and is of worship and fasts. (63) Afraid of Garuda you abandoned the island Ramanaka and took shelter of this pool, but now that you are marked by My feet he will not devour you.'
(64) The honorable sage said: 'Freed by Krishna, the Supreme Personality whose actions are so wonderful, oh King, the serpent together with his wives worshiped Him with pleasure and reverence. (65-67) Worshiping and satisfying the Lord of the Universe with the finest clothing, strings of flowers and most valuable jewels, as also with ornaments, heavenly scents, ointments and with a wreath of lotuses, he was by Him who carries Garuda in His flag permitted to leave, contented as He was by the circumambulating and reverence accomplished by him and his wives, children and friends. Immediately after his departure to the island in the ocean, the nectarean water of the Yamunā became free from poison by the grace of the Supreme Lord who for His pastimes had assumed a human form.'
Edited: July 27, 2020
Chapter 17: The History of Kāliya and Krishna Swallows a Forest Fire
(1) The king said: 'Why did Kāliya give up Ramanaka, the abode of the serpents, and what caused the enmity of Garuda especially towards him?'
(2-3) S'rī S'uka said: 'The snake people of sacrifice here [in Nāgālaya] were in the past urged to pay tribute to the serpents every month at the base of a tree, oh mighty-armed one. In order to secure their protection the serpents every new moon each presented their portion to Garuda, the great power over them. (4) Kāliya, the son of Kadru conceited under the influence of his venom and strength, in defiance of Garuda ate those offerings himself. (5) Hearing about it oh King, that mighty and beloved devotee of the Supreme Lord with great speed rushed forward to kill Kāliya. (6) Garuda swiftly attacking fell upon him who, armed with poison and full size raised with his many hoods, looked most fearsome with his tongues and terrible eyes. The snake then bit him with the help of his weapons, the fangs. (7) The carrier of Madhusūdana, the son of Tārkshya [see 6.6: 21-22] with his formidable prowess full of anger swiftly moving warded off Kāliya, the son of Kadru and struck him with his left wing that glowed like gold. (8) Beaten by Garuda's wing Kāliya utterly distraught entered a lake of the Kālindi where it was difficult for Garuda to go.
(9) Saubhari Muni [mediating under water] once had denied Garuda the right to desire any of its water creatures, his normal sustenance [see 9.6], but because he was hungry he resisted him and took one. (10) Seeing the fish who lived there in a state of misery, most unhappy because the king of the fish had been killed [by Garuda], Saubhari, in order to set things right, out of compassion for the sake of their welfare said: (11) 'I swear, if Garuda enters this lake to eat the fish, he will immediately lose his life!' (12) Kāliya was the only one who knew this, no other serpent, and therefore hiding in fear of Garuda he dwelled there, the very place from where he was expelled by Krishna.
(13-14) The moment the cowherds saw Lord Krishna rising up from the lake, divinely clad, with a garland and scented, covered by many fine jewels and decorated with gold, all their senses sprung back to life. Filled with joy they embraced Him affectionately. (15) When Yas'odā, Rohinī and Nanda, the gopīs and the gopas, oh son of Kuru, rejoined with Krishna they regained all their functions and that even happened with the dried up trees. (16) Rāma and Acyuta, the Infallible One, embraced each other laughing, well aware of Their potency. Out of love Balarāma raised Him on His lap and admired Him from all sides. Thus They together with the cows, the bulls and she-calves experienced the highest pleasure. (17) The learned and respectable personalities along with their wives all came to Nanda and said: 'Your son having been seized by Kāliya has now by divine ordinance been freed. (18) For the sake of Krishna's safety please make donations to the brahmins', and Nanda, happy minded, oh King, gave them cows and gold. (19) The chaste Yas'odā who had lost and retrieved her son, the One of Great Fortune, raised Him on her lap, hugged Him and allowed her tears to flow freely.
(20) That night oh best of the kings, the cows and the people of Vraja, weakened as they were because of thirst, hunger and fatigue, remained there at the shore of the Kālindi. (21) Then, because of the summer heat, in the middle of the night from all sides a forest fire arose that closed in the sleeping Vrajasis and began to scorch them. (22) The people of Vraja thereupon woke up. In distress because they would burn they turned to Krishna for shelter, He the Master, who by the power of His spiritual potency had appeared like a human being [compare 10.8: 16]. (23) 'Krishna, Krishna, oh Greatest of Fortune! Oh Rāma of Unlimited Power, this most terrible fire is about to devour us who belong to You! (24) Please protect us, Your people, Your friends, against this insurmountable [deadly] fire of Time . Oh Master, we at Your benevolent, blessed feet that drive away all fear, are incapable [to escape from here]!' (25) The Lord of the Universe, the Unlimited One who possesses endless potencies, this way seeing the desperation of His people, thereupon swallowed that terrible fire.'
Chapter 18: Lord Balarāma Slays the Demon Pralamba
(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'Surrounded by His happy-natured folk singing His glories Krishna thereafter [after the forest fire] entered Vraja that was so beautiful with its herds of cows. (2) While the two [Lords Balarāma and Krishna] thus were sporting in Vraja in the disguise of a cowherd, the summer season approached that is not so pleasant for the living beings. (3) Nonetheless because of the special qualities of Vrindāvana this place, were the Supreme Lord Kes'ava together with Rāma personally was staying, manifested characteristics similar to those of spring. (4) The constant noise of the waterfalls drowned out the sound of the crickets there while the groups of trees embellishing the area were moistened by their spray. (5) From the waves of the lakes and the currents of the rivers cool breezes transported the pollen of the kahlāra, kańja and utpala lotuses. Because of them there was for the people living in the forest not the tormenting heat of the sun or the forest fires that belong to the summer season, but instead an abundance of grass. (6) The water of the very deep rivers drenched the shores, which caused muddy banks on all sides. The fierce sun radiating its venomous rays there could not drive away the moist from the earth and the greenery. (7) In the forest that was beautifully filled with flowers, all sorts of animals made their noises, birds were singing, peacocks [cried], bees [hummed] and cuckoos and cranes were cooing. (8) While sounding His flute Krishna, the Supreme Lord intent on playing there, entered the forest area in the company of Balarāma, the gopas and the cows. (9) Being decorated with fresh leaves, peacock feathers, bunches of small flowers, garlands and colorful minerals, the gopas headed by Krishna and Rāma were singing, dancing and romping about. (10) While Krishna danced, some of them sang, some played on flutes, cymbals and horns while others offered praise. (11) The demigods disguised as cowherd folk oh King, worshiped [see 10.1: 22] Krishna and Rāma in their form of cow protectors, just like professional dancers do when they encourage another dancer. (12) Whirling in circles, jumping distances, throwing with things, slapping their arms and pulling with ropes they played and sometimes they held, when they wrestled, each other by the locks of their hair. (13) When so now and then the others danced They were the ones who played the instruments, who sang and who were of praise, oh King by saying: 'How good, how good this is!' (14) At times they played with bilva fruits and then again with kumbha fruits or with palmfuls of āmalaka fruits [myrobalan]. They played tag [aspris'ya] or blind man's buff [netra-bandha] and such games and sometimes they mimicked the animals and birds. (15) Then they jumped like frogs, told all kinds of jokes and then again they were playing on the swings or acted like kings. (16) The two this way being engaged in common human play, roamed the forests, mountains, rivers and valleys, bowers, lakes and surrounding groves.
*: S'rīla Sanātana Gosvāmī quotes the following verses from S'rī Harivams'a (Vishnu-parva 11.18 - 22), which describe the banyan tree:
(17) [One day,] while Rāma and Krishna together with the gopas were herding the animals in that forest the demon Pralamba arrived there in the form of a gopa who wanted to kidnap Them. (18) Since He who stemmed from the house of Das'ārha was the omniscient Supreme Lord, He saw what he was up to. Thinking of killing him, He accepted to be friends with him. (19) Krishna, the knower of all games thereupon called together the gopas and said: 'Oh gopas, let us play and divide us in two equal teams.' (20) For that purpose the gopas appointed Rāma and Janārdana as their leaders so that some belonged to Krishna's group while others joined the group of Rāma. (21) They engaged in several games of 'carrier and carried' [harinākrīdanam] that were defined by the rule that the winners would climb on the back of the defeated ones who then had to carry them. (22) While carrying and being carried they tended the cows. Led by Krishna, they went to a banyan tree named Bhāndīraka [*]. (23) After Rāma's party consisting of S'rīdāmā, Vrishabha and others had won the contest, each of them was carried by Krishna and the members of His party, oh King. (24) Because Krishna, the Supreme Lord, was defeated He carried S'rīdāmā, Bhadrasena carried Vrishabha and Pralamba [the Asura] carried the son of Rohinī [Balarāma]. (25) Considering Krishna invincible that foremost demon in great haste set off to carry [his passenger Rāma] beyond the finish line where one should dismount. (26) Holding Him high the demon lost his momentum though because Rāma became as heavy as the king of the earth and the planets [mount Meru]. As a consequence he resumed his original body that was covered by golden ornaments. He shone like a cloud flashing with lightening that carried the moon. (27) Seeing that body moving fast through the sky with blazing eyes, frowned eyebrows, rows of terrible teeth, wild hair, with armlets, with a crown and with earrings, the Carrier of the Plow being amazed about the effulgence, was a bit put off. (28) Balarāma being carried away from His company like He was being kidnapped, regained His wits and fearlessly hit His enemy angrily hard with His fist on the head. That happened as vehemently as the king of the gods hitting a mountain with his thunderbolt. (29) The head of the demon being struck split immediately in two so that he unconscious and lifeless, spitting blood from his mouth, fell to the ground with a loud noise that sounded like a mountain being hit by Indra's weapon. (30) When the gopas saw how Pralamba was killed by the force of Balarāma's display of power, they were most astonished and exclaimed: 'Very good, well done!' ['sādhu, sādhu'] (31) Pronouncing benedictions they praised Him for His deserving action. With their hearts overwhelmed by love they closed Him in their arms as if He had returned from death. (32) After the sinful Pralamba had been killed, the demigods, utterly satisfied, heaped flower garlands upon Him and offered prayers exclaiming: 'Bravo, excellent!' 'dadars'a vipulodagra-
s'ākhinam s'ākhinām varam
sthitam dharanyām meghābham
sevitam bahubhih khagaih
phalaih pravālais' ca ghanaih
tasya des'asya s'ākhinām
bhāndīram nāma nāmatah
"They saw that best of all trees that had many long branches. With its dense covering of leaves it resembled a cloud sitting on the earth. Indeed, its form was so large that it appeared like a mountain covering half the sky. Many birds with charming blue wings frequented that great tree whose dense fruits and leaves made it seem like a cloud accompanied by a rainbow or like a house decorated with creepers and flowers. It spread its broad roots downward and carried upon itself the sanctified clouds. That banyan tree was like the lordly master of all other trees in that vicinity, as it performed the all-auspicious functions of warding off the rain and the heat of the sun. Such was the appearance of that nyagrodha tree known as Bhāndīra, which appeared just like the peak of a great mountain."
Chapter 19: Krishna Swallows Again a Forest Fire
(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'With the gopas being absorbed in their games, their cows wandered far off. Grazing on their own they hungry for grass entered the thickets. (2) The goats, cows and buffalo going from one part of the forest to the other entered a cane forest where they, thirsty because of the heat, complained loudly. (3) The gopas led by Krishna and Rāma not seeing the animals, regretted it not to have kept an eye on the cows and started searching for their trail. (4) Anxious about the loss of their livelihood they all followed the hoofprints of the cows on the path that was marked by the blades of grass that were broken by the hooves and the teeth of the cows. (5) Their cows and the other animals who had lost their way, they found back in the Muńjā forest, tired crying because of thirst. Thereupon they all turned back. (6) When they heard the sound of their names being shouted by the Supreme Lord with a voice as loud as the rumbling clouds, they answered most joyfully.
(7) All of a sudden, from all sides a huge and terrible conflagration appeared that with its tongues of fire threatened all moving and non-moving beings in the forest with a gruesome storm of sparks that was driven by their charioteer, the wind. (8) From all sides being caught by the forest fire the gopas and the cows looked about in fear. Just like anyone else who troubled by the fear of death seeks the Supreme Personality, they thereupon in their distress addressed Krishna and His Strength, Balarāma. (9) 'Krishna, oh Krishna, oh Greatest Hero! Oh Rāma of a never failing power, please save us surrendered souls from being scorched by the forest fire. (10) We, Your friends, oh Krishna, with You, the perfect knower of all dharma, as our Lord we are devoted to, for sure can never deserve it to suffer destruction!'
(11) S'rī S'uka said: 'The Supreme Lord Hari, thus hearing the pitiable words of His friends, said: 'Do not be afraid, just close your eyes.' (12) 'All right', they said and having closed their eyes the Supreme Lord, the Controller of Yoga, delivered them from the danger by swallowing the terrible fire. (13) When they thereupon opened their eyes again, they stood amazed. Together with the cows they had been saved ąnd transported to Bhāndīra [the banyan tree, see 10.18: 22, ten miles away, so they say]. (14) Having witnessed their deliverance from the burning forest by dint of the yogic power of Krishna's internal control over the deluding material energy, they considered Him an immortal divine being. (15) Together with Rāma and the cows returning late that afternoon to the cowherd village, Krishna on the road sounded His flute while He was praised by the gopas. (16) The young cowherd girls were exited to the greatest degree of bliss to see Govinda present again. For them it seemed to take a hundred ages to be without Him but for a moment.'
Chapter 20: The Rainy Season and Autumn in Vrindāvana*
(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'The cowherd boys described to the ladies [of Gokula] the amazing actions of the two who had delivered them from the forest fire and had killed Pralamba. (2) The elder gopas and gopīs were surprised to hear about this and considered Krishna and Rāma messengers of God who had come to Vraja.
(3) Then with flashes of lightening at the horizon and rumbling skies, the rains began to fall that bring life to all living beings. (4) The sky being covered with dense, dark clouds accompanied by lightening and thunder was, with its diffuse light, like the spirit soul that manifests along with its material qualities. (5) For eight months in a row the sun with its rays drank the wealth of the earth that consists of water and now the time had arrived for its release. (6) Massive clouds full of lightening and agitated by the fierce winds released their grace, just as persons of mercy give their life in this world. (7) The earth that dried up because of the heat, being sprinkled by the divine water, was fully replenished just like the sensually motivated body of a repentant person restores after obtaining the fruits of that practice. (8) Because of the darkness the glowworm in the evening twilight could shine its light, but that was not true for the luminaries, just like in Kali-yuga because of the sins the heresies are shining and certainly not the Vedas. (9) The frogs at first sitting silently, hearing the sounds of the rain clouds thereupon emitted their sounds, just like the followers of Brahmā do [their recitations] after completing their [silent] morning duties [see niyama]. (10) After first having been insignificant streams, the rivers that had dried up strayed from their courses, just like it happens with the body size, the property and the means of a person who is controlled by his senses. (11) Emerald green from the newly grown grass, reddish from the indragopa insects and affording the mushrooms shelter, the earth manifested herself like a person who [suddenly] became rich. (12) The fields rich with grains brought joy to the farmers, but made others, the wealthy ones who were too proud for that type of work, feel sorry not to live by that grace of God. (13) The creatures of the land and water, all reborn from the water they honored, took on attractive forms, just like people do when they honor the Lord. (14) Where the rivers whirling met the ocean, waves were created that were blown up by the wind, just like the mind of a by desire driven, beginning yogi is agitated who is still bound to material passions. (15) The mountains besieged by clouds filled with rain stood undaunted under their attack, just like the minds of the ones dedicated to the Lord in the Beyond do when they face trouble. (16) The roads no longer used faded away being overgrown by grass, just like written texts do that, not being studied by the brahmins, wither away under the influence of time. (17) The lightening in the clouds that are the friends of all the world, fickle in its friendship, could not keep its position, just like a lusty woman cannot [even] stay with men of merit. (18) When the [rain-]bow of the great Indra unstrung but clearly defined appeared in the sky, it was as if the Supreme Personality Free from the Modes had appeared within the manifest nature that is ruled by the modes. (19) The moon did not shine because its light was covered by the clouds that radiated thereof, the same way the false ego of the living being shines because of its luster. (20) Because of the arrival of the clouds the peacocks cried joyously in celebration, the same way people who are troubled in their household existence are glad when the devotees of Acyuta arrive. (21) The trees that drank the water through their feet, manifested various physical features [like blossoms, leaves and sprouts], just like [the flourishing that happens] when one, after being emaciated and fatigued because of austerities, [finally] may delight in the object of one's desire. (22) The cranes kept staying at the muddy banks of the lakes my best one, just like the citizens do who with vain hope restlessly engage themselves in their homes. (23) When Indra showers his rains the irrigation dikes break because of the floodwater, just as the paths of the Vedas are broken up by the false theories of the heretics in Kali-yuga. (24) The clouds driven by the winds released their nectarean water over all living beings, just like kings, encouraged by the brahmins, from time to time give their donations in charity.
(25) The Lord and Balarāma surrounded by the cows and boys thus for their enjoyment entered that most resplendent forest with its ripe dates and jambu fruits. (26) The cows moved slowly because of their big and heavy udders, but being called by the Lord they came quickly with their udders wet out of affection. (27) He saw the joyful girls who lived in the forest, He saw its trees dripping sweet sap and the waterfalls of the mountain that resounded from the nearby caves. (28) Sometimes when it rained the Supreme Lord entered a hollow tree or a cave to play and eat roots and fruits. (29) The yogurt-rice brought from home He in the company of Sankarshana ate together with the boys, sharing the meal on a stone near the water.
(30-31) The bulls sat ruminating on a patch of grass, satisfied with their eyes closed, together with the calves and the cows that were tired because of the weight of their udders. It always pleased the Supreme Lord to see the riches of the rainy season that were promoted by His internal potency. That made Him offer His respects.
(32) With Rāma and Kes'ava residing this way in Vraja, the fall season manifested itself in full with a cloudless sky, the clearest water and a gentle wind. (33) In autumn the lotuses regenerated and the bodies of water regained their original state [of purity], just as the minds of the fallen are restored by the practice of devotional service. (34) Autumn put an end to the clouds in the sky, cleared the turbid water, dried the muddy condition of the earth and stopped the increase of animals, the way devotion for Lord Krishna puts an end to the troubles of all the spiritual departments [the status groups or ās'ramas]. (35) The clouds that had given all they had, shone with an effulgence as pure as the effulgence of the sages who, having forsaken desires, freed from sins found peace. (36) At one moment the mountains released their pure water while at another moment they did not, just as the nectar of spiritual knowledge only at times is bestowed by the jńānis [the spiritual philosophers]. (37) The ones moving in shallow waters [the fish] could not appreciate that the water became less and less [after the rains], just like foolish people in a family setting do not appreciate the every day further diminishing of their life span. (38) Moving in shallow water they because of the autumn sun experienced hardship, just as a destitute man occupied by his family life feels miserable when he has no control over his senses. (39) Gradually the land had to give up its mud and the plants had to give up their unripe condition [of bearing no fruits], just like the sober ones have to give up the egotism and possessiveness of being focussed on the non-spiritual nature of the material body and what belongs to it. (40) With the arrival of fall the waters became motionless and the ocean became quiet, just as a fully renounced sage desists from actions and [further] acquiring knowledge [see also avadhūta and 7.13]. (41) The farmers contained the water of the rice fields with strong irrigation banks, the same way yogis stop the stream of consciousness that through the senses reaches outside. (42) The moon removed the suffering of all living beings that was generated by the rays of the autumn sun, just like wisdom removes the suffering based on self-conceit with the body and the way Mukunda [returning home] puts an end to the misery of the ladies of Vraja. (43) The cloudless sky of fall shone brilliantly clear full of stars, just like a mind moved by goodness radiates in the direct experience of the purport of the Vedas. (44) The moon and the stars shone unlimited forth in the sphere of the sky, just like the master of the Yadus, Krishna, did when He walked the earth surrounded by the circle of the Vrishnis [see family-tree]. (45) By embracing the wind that was not too cold and not too hot blowing from the flower-filled forest, the people could forget their hardship, but not so the gopīs whose hearts were stolen by Krishna. (46) The cows, the doe, the she-birds and the women were receptive in autumn, just like deeds in service of the Supreme Lord are followed by their respective mates, the good results. (47) Oh King, the lotuses, except for the night-blooming kumut lotus, bloomed abundantly at sunrise, just as the populace, except for the thieves, blossoms with a [righteous] king whom they do not fear. (48) During all the harvest rituals, other mundane celebrations and great festivals in the towns and villages, the fertile earth rich with grains and especially with the two [of Krishna and Balarāma], shone beautifully as an expansion of the Supreme Lord. (49) The kings, the merchants, the renunciates and the initiated householders who were checked by the rains, now could venture to achieve their goals, just like those who attain the perfection of life find their ultimate form [svarūpa or form of service] when the time has come.'
Chapter 21: The Gopīs Glorify the Song of Krishna's Flute
(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'Acyuta thus entered with the cows and gopas the place that was cooled by the breezes sweet because of the fragrance of the lotus filled lakes with their pellucid, autumnal waters. (2) The Sweet Lord who between the groups of trees filled with the sounds of maddened bees and flocks of birds was tending the animals in the company of Balarāma and the cowherd boys, passed lakes, rivers and hills while playing His flute. (3) When the ladies of Vraja heard the song of the flute that brought to mind the flourishing [of all existence], each of them revealed to her intimate companions her appreciation for Krishna not being visible before their eyes. (4) But once they started that description they, remembering Krishna's deeds and getting excited in rapt attention, could no longer continue, oh ruler of man. (5) [Before their mind's eye] His glories were sung by the group of cowherds and the holes of His flute were filled by the nectar of His lips as He entered the forest of Vrindāvana that was so enchanting because of His footprints. [They pictured Him] with a peacock feather on His head, a body like that of the best dancers, a blue karnikāra lotus behind His ears, golden, yellow colored garments and the vaijayantī garland around His neck [the garland 'of victory' with flowers of five different colors]. (6) Oh King, when the women of Vraja heard the sound of the flute that captivates the minds of all living beings, they in their praise all embraced [Him in their mind].
(7) The gopīs said: 'Oh friends, we who have eyes know no greater achievement than this: to imbibe the loving glances radiating from the faces of the two sons of the king of Vraja while They play on Their flutes and with Their companions drive the cows from one forest to another. (8) With the mango sprouts, peacock feathers, garlands of flower buds, lotuses and lilies next to Their colorful garments and Their occasional singing, the two of Them magnificently shine forth in the midst of the cowherd boys, just like two expert dancers on a stage. (9) Oh gopīs, how meritorious must the deeds have been of this [bamboo] flute of Krishna to be entitled to enjoy all alone the taste that is left behind by the nectar of His lips that [actually] belongs to the gopīs? His forefathers, the bamboo trees, are shedding tears of happiness and also the river [where they grew] is full of shivers of joy. (10) Vrindāvana having received the treasure of the lotus feet of the son of Devakī oh friends, adds to the glories of the earth. The sound of Govinda's flute makes the peacocks dance madly and stuns all the other creatures looking down from the hillsides. (11) How fortunate are the doe who, however ignorant they were born, in hearing the sound of the flute of the so very nicely dressed son of Nanda, with their affectionate glances performed worship in the company of their black husbands. (12) It is for the women a festival to listen to the clear song of Krishna's flute and observe His beauty and personality. Of the wives of the gods of heaven flying around in their heavenly vehicles slip, agitated and bewildered as they are by the thought of Him, the flowers tied in their hair and slacken their belts. (13) The cows raise their ears high to catch with those cups the nectar of the sounds emitted by Krishna holding the flute to His mouth. The calves, with mouths full of the milk that exuded from the udders, stand silently with in their eyes and hearts Govinda who moves them and fills their eyes with tears. (14) Dear sisters, the birds in the forest rising to the branches of the trees beautiful with creepers and twigs, sit there like great sages in their eagerness to see Krishna. With their eyes closed they listen to the sweet vibrations produced by His flute that silences other voices. (15) Hearing that song of Krishna the rivers, with their currents broken in whirlpools because of their minds steeped in love, seize and firmly hold the two feet of Murāri, while carrying offerings of lotus flowers in the embrace of their wavy arms. (16) While the Lord was herding Vraja's animals together with Rāma and the gopas, a cloud seeing Him continually loudly playing His flute in the heat of the sun, out of love expanded itself high above its friend to create with its body a parasol carrying a great number of [cool droplets that descended like] flowers. (17) The aboriginal women of Vraja, the Pulindas, are tormented to see the grass being marked by the red, transcendental kunkuma powder stemming from the lotus feet of this Cupid. But smearing on their breasts and faces that powder that once decorated the breasts of the girlfriends of the widely celebrated Lord, they are fully satisfied and forget that pain. (18) And oh, this [Govardhana] hill my friends, is the Lord His best servant because it, from being touched by the lotus feet of Krishna and Rāma, jubilantly proves its respect with offerings of drinking water, tender grass and edible roots for the cows, the calves and the cowherds. (19) The two of Them, who can be recognized by the ropes [*] They have for binding the rear legs of the cows, accompanied in all freedom together with the cowherd boys the cows to every place in the forest. With the vibrations of the sweet tones of Their flutes, oh friends, They therewith wondrously stunned the living entities that can move while They moved the otherwise immobile trees to ecstasy.'
(20) The gopīs picturing for each other the pastimes of the Supreme Lord the way He wandered around in Vrindāvana, thus being engaged became fully absorbed in Him.'
*: S'rīla Vis'vanātha Cakravartī Thhākura explains that the ropes of Krishna and Balarāma are made of yellow cloth and have clusters of pearls at both ends. Sometimes They wear these ropes around Their turbans, and the ropes thus become wonderful decorations.
Chapter 22: Krishna Steals the Garments of the Unmarried Gopīs
(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'During the first month of the winter season [hemanta: Nov./Jan.] the unmarried girls of Nanda's Vraja subsisting on unspiced khichrī [a mix of rice and lentils] observed a vow of worshiping the goddess Kātyāyanī. (2-3) Rising at dawn they took a bath in the water of the Yamunā and made from clay a deity of the goddess. Opulently as well as simple oh ruler of men, they were of worship with sandalwood pulp, fragrant garlands, gifts [of food, clothes etc.], incense and lamps as also with presentations of fresh leaves, fruits and bethel nuts. (4) The young girls performed worship repeating a mantra with the words: 'Oh Kātyāyanī, our obeisances unto you, oh great power, greatest yoginī, oh supreme control, please make the son of Nanda the gopa my husband!' [*] (5) The girls thus for an entire month executed their vow to be of proper worship before Bhadrakālī with: 'May He, Nanda's son become my husband.' (6) Every day at dawn they called each other's names, held their hands and loudly singing their respect for Krishna went to the Kālindī to bathe there. (7) One day arriving at the river singing about Krishna, they left their clothes on the shore as usual and enjoyed sporting in the water.
(8) Krishna, the Supreme Lord, who as the Master of all yoga masters approved this, surrounded by His companions went to that spot to make their actions a success. (9) He stole their clothes away and quickly climbed in a Kadamba tree. Laughing together with the boys He made fun by saying: (10) 'Come here oh girls if you like, and take each your own garment. I am serious, it is not a joke, since you must be tired because of the vow. (11) All these boys know that I have never stated something untrue. Therefore oh slender girls, come [out of the water] one by one or all together to cover yourselves.'*: The distinction between the internal of yoga-māyā and the external, or illusory, potency of the Lord of mahā-māyā is described in the Nārada-pańcarātra, in the conversation between S'ruti and Vidyā:
(12) With that prank of Him He saw how the gopīs, steeped in love for Him, looked at each other and had to laugh, but being embarrassed they did not come out of the water. (13) Govinda thus having spoken, had with His joking caught the minds of those who, up to their necks shivering in the cold water, said to Him: (14) 'Oh You, do not be unfair, we beg You, behave like the beloved son of the gopa Nanda we know, as the one renown throughout Vraja, oh dearest one. Please give us our garments, we are cold! (15) Oh S'yāmasundara ['beautiful dark one'] we, Your maidservants will do whatever You say, please give us our clothes back, oh Knower of the Dharma, or else we will tell the king about it!'
(16) The Supreme Lord said: 'If you are My servants, must you then not do what I told you and with your innocent smiles come out of the water to pick out your garments? I will not give them if you do not do so, and with the king being angry, what can he do about it?' (17) Thereupon all the girls, pained by the cold, came shivering out of the water, covering their pubic area with their hands. (18) The Supreme Lord seeing them defeated, put satisfied about the purity of their love their garments over His shoulder and said with a loving smile: (19) 'Because you during the observance of a vow were bathing naked in the water, you have offended Varuna and the other gods. To atone for that sin you must pay your obeisances with your palms joined together over your heads and then take your garments back.'
(20) With this being pointed out by the Infallible Lord, the Vraja girls considered their skinny-dipping a fall from their vow. Intent on successfully completing that vow, they therefore offered their obeisances to the Purifier of All Sins, He who was the directly visible result of their actions as also countless other [pious] activities. (21) The Supreme Lord, the son of Devakī satisfied to see them bowing down, thereupon mercifully gave them back the garments. (22) Despite seriously having been cheated, not being acknowledged in their shame, being laughed at and made to act like puppets on a string with their clothes being stolen, they felt no enmity towards Him, for they were happy to associate with their beloved one. (23) Having put on their garments they, smitten by the association with their beloved, with their minds being captivated, were completely incapable of moving and full of shyness glanced at Him. (24) The Supreme Lord understood from them that they were determined to live up to their vow and that they wanted to touch His feet. Dāmodara said to the girls: (25) 'Oh pious ones, I understand your motivation to worship Me. That pleases Me and so it must come true. (26) The desire of those whose consciousness is fully absorbed in Me does not lead to material lust, just as roasted and cooked grains as a rule are not capable of causing new growth [see also e.g. 1.6: 35, 3.15: 20, 7.7: 51-52]. (27) Dear girls, go now to Vraja. Having achieved the supreme state of fulfillment, you one of these nights will enjoy with Me together. That was what you had in mind with the vow to be pure in your worship of the Goddess.'
(28) S'rī S'uka said: 'Thus being instructed by the Supreme Lord, the young girls, with their desire fulfilled meditating upon His lotus feet, could only with great difficulty [bring themselves to] return to the cowherd village. (29) The son of Devakī some time later surrounded by the gopas went at a distance from Vrindāvana to herd the cows together with His brother. (30) Seeing how the trees in the fiercely hot sun of the season with their shade served Him as parasols, He said to the boys: (31-32) 'Oh Stoka Krishna and Ams'u, S'rīdāma, Subala and Arjuna, Vis'āla, Vrishabha and Ojasvī, Devaprastha and Varūthapa, just look at these fortunate trees protecting us against rain, wind, heat and snow. Their life is exclusively there for the benefit of others! (33) Oh how superior the birth is of these trees that offer support to all living entities, like great souls do. No one in need of them will ever go away disappointed. (34) With their leaves, flowers and fruits, shade and roots, bark and wood, their fragrance, sap, ashes, pulp and shoots they offer everything you desire. (35) To perform with one's life, wealth, intelligence and words always for the sake of the welfare of all embodied beings, to be in this world of such a kind of birth, is the perfection of life for every living being [see also the Vaishnava Pranāma].'
(36) Thus speaking among the trees bowing down with their abundance of leaves, clusters of fruit, flowers and twigs, He arrived at the Yamunā. (37) There the gopas drenched the cows in the crystal clear, fresh and cool, wholesome water, oh ruler, and also themselves drank their fill of the sweet tasting water. (38) In a grove along the Yamunā where they allowed the animals to roam freely, oh ruler of the people, they [the gopas] plagued by hunger approached Rāma and Krishna and said the following.'jānāty ekāparā kāntam
saivā durgā tad-ātmikā
yā parā paramā s'aktir
prāptir bhavati nānyathā
anayā su-labho jńeya
yayā mugdam jagat sarvam
"The Lord's inferior potency, known as Durgā, is dedicated to His loving service. Being the Lord's potency, this inferior energy is nondifferent from Him. There is another, superior potency, whose form is on the same spiritual level as that of God Himself. Simply by scientifically understanding this supreme potency, one can immediately achieve the Supreme Soul of all souls, who is the Lord of all lords. There is no other process to achieve Him. That supreme potency of the Lord is known as Gokules'varī, the goddess of Gokula. Her nature is to be completely absorbed in love of God, and through Her one can easily obtain the primeval God, the Lord of all that be. This internal potency of the Lord has a covering potency, known as Mahā-māyā, who rules the material world. In fact she bewilders the entire universe, and thus everyone within the universe falsely identifies himself with the material body." See also 8.12: 40 for Durgā.
Chapter 23: The Brahmin Wives Blessed
(1) The gopas said: 'Rāma, oh Rāma, oh mighty-armed one, oh Krishna, destroyer of the wicked ones, we are troubled by hunger, please do something against it.'
(2) S'rī S'uka said: 'Krishna wanted to please some brahmin wives devoted to Him. Thus being informed by the gopas, the Supreme Lord, the son of Devakī said the following: (3) 'Please go to the sacrificial arena of the brahmins who, striving for a place in heaven, in accord with the Vedic injunctions at the moment are performing a sacrifice named Āngirasa. (4) Going there dear gopas, ask them for some food and tell them that you have been sent by Bhagavān [Balarāma] My elder brother and Me.'
(5) With this order of the Supreme Lord going there, they asked as was told. Petitioning with folded hands, they before the brahmins fell down to the ground like sticks: (6) 'Oh earthly gods, we wish you all the best. Please listen. Know that we cowherd boys, were sent by Rāma and have arrived here with a mission from Krishna. (7) Rāma and Acyuta graze Their cows not far from here and being hungry they want to ask you if you could supply Them with some food oh twice-born ones. So, if you have faith, then please donate, oh finest knowers of the religion. (8) From the beginning of a sacrifice until the end of sacrificing the animal, oh lovers of the truth, it is, except for when it is a [Sautrāmani] sacrifice to Indra [*], not even for an initiate an offense to enjoy [or hand out] food.'
(9) Thus hearing about the Supreme Lord's request they nevertheless took no heed. In the trivial pursuit of their ritualistic engagement they, being elder, most childishly thought to know it better. (10-11) Even though the place and time, the items used, the hymns, the rituals, the priests and the fire, the officiating God-conscious ones, the performer of the sacrifice, that what was sacrificed and the dharmic result are all part of the directly visible reality of His Absolute Truth, of Him, the Supreme Lord Beyond the Senses, they with their borrowed intelligence considered Him arrogantly just an ordinary person. (12) The gopas discouraged with them not even giving them a yes or no, oh chastiser of the enemies, thereupon turned back to inform Krishna and Rāma about it. (13) Hearing that, the Supreme Lord, the Controller of the Universe, laughed and again addressed the cowherd boys in order to show them the ways of the world: (14) 'Communicate to the wives that I together with Sankarshana have arrived. They will give you all the food needed, for they, with their intelligence residing in Me, are full of affection for Me.'*: It is said that every one consecrated by the Sautrāmani sacrifice for Lord Indra enters among the gods and is born sarva-tanūh, that is, with his entire body.
(15) Next going to the house of the wives they saw them sitting there nicely ornamented. The gopas bowed with reverence before the chaste women of the twice-born ones and said humbly: (16) 'Our obeisances oh wives of the brahmins, please listen to what we have to say: not far from here we are roaming with Krishna who has sent us here. (17) Tending the cows with the gopas and with Rāma He came a long way. He with His companions is hungry and should be given some food.'
(18) When they heard that Krishna was nearby whom they, with their minds enchanted by His stories, always had wanted to see, they got very excited. (19) Like rivers flowing towards the ocean the four types of food [to be chewed, sucked, licked and drunk] in the form of all kinds of dishes were brought together and in vessels transported to the One they all loved. (20-21) Even though their husbands, brothers, sons and other relatives tried to stop them, they who for such a long time had heard about Him and longed for Him, headed for the Supreme Lord Praised in the Scriptures. The ladies found Him wandering with the gopas and His elder brother in a grove near the Yamunā full of blooming as'okas. (22) With His dark complexion, golden colored garment and garland of forest flowers, with His peacock feather, colored minerals and sprigs of buds, He was dressed like a dancer on a stage. His hand rested on a friend's shoulder and with the other hand He twirled a lotus. His lotus face was smiling, His hair fell over His cheeks and He had lilies behind His ears. (23) Over and over having heard about the glories of their most beloved [Krishna], the gem to their ears in whom their minds were submerged, they embraced Him, now brought within their view, for a long time [within their hearts] and gave up the inner distress, oh sovereign of the people, that had resulted from their identifying with their bodies. (24) With understanding for the state of these women who out of their desire for Him had abandoned all material desires, He who knows each his point of view, with a smile upon His face addressed them. (25) 'You are most welcome, oh finest graceful ladies, please sit down. What can I do for you? How becoming of you to come here to see Me! (26) People of discrimination who are well aware of what is good for them, keep themselves directly focussed on Me, their dear most Self. They are then constantly of devotional service, a service that is as it should be when delivered without any ulterior motive. (27) What other object [or who else] would be more attractive than this Self connected to which one's life force, intelligence, mind, relatives, body, wife, children, wealth etc. became so very dear? (28) Go therefore to the sacrificial arena so that your brahmin husbands, as householders together with you, can complete their sacrifices.'
(29) The wives answered: 'Do not speak so harshly with us, oh Almighty One, please be true to Your [scriptural] promise that someone who has attained the basis of Your lotus feet and turned away from all his relations, may carry upon his hair the tulsī garland that was dismissed by Your feet. (30) Our husbands, fathers, sons and brothers, other relatives and friends will not take us back! And how would other people respond then? Would You please therefore grant that us, whose bodies have fallen at Your feet and for who there is no other destination oh Chastiser of the Enemies?'
(31) The Supreme Lord said: 'Your husbands will not be angry out of jealousy nor will your fathers, brothers, sons or other people. Even the demigods will, on My word, regard you favorably. (32) Physical association does not make the people in the world more happy or loving. When you [in stead thereof] then fix your minds upon Me, you will very quickly be with Me. (33) Hearing, attending [to the deity or the gathering of devotees], meditating and singing about Me, you are of love for Me, not so much with being physically close to Me. Therefore return to your homes.'
(34) S'rī S'uka said: 'After this was said to the wives of the brahmins they went back to the place of the sacrifice. Having arrived there their husbands were not spiteful and together with them completed the ceremony. (35) One of them was held back with force by her husband. Hearing from the others about the Supreme Lord, she embraced Him in her heart and gave up the material body that is the source of karmic bondage. (36) The Supreme Lord, who is also known as Govinda, with those four types of food [that were brought by the women] fed the gopas, after which He, the Almighty One, also took a share. (37) He thus in His pastimes delighted to imitate with His transcendental appearance the human ways and please the cows, the gopas and the gopīs with His beauty, words and actions. (38) The brahmins afterwards came to their senses and felt great remorse about having been so offensive in their conceit with the humble request of the Lords of the Universe who appeared like human beings. (39) Seeing the high flight of the devotion of their wives for Krishna as the Supreme Personality, a devotion they completely lacked, they condemned themselves lamenting: (40) 'To hell with our threefold births [biological, brahminical and ritual], our vows, our extensive spiritual knowledge, our lineage and our expertise in the rituals, when we are inimical towards the Lord Beyond the Senses. (41) The Supreme Lord's māyā, the illusory potency that even deludes the greatest yogis, has been the cause that we, the twice-born ones, the spiritual teachers of society, were bewildered about our true interest. (42) Just see that unlimited devotion of the women for Krishna, the spiritual teacher of the universe, a devotion that even has broken the bonds of death [of their attachment] to family life. (43-44) They never underwent purification rites of rebirth, they did not stay with the guru, did not practice austerities, nor were they of philosophical inquiry into the true nature of the self or of any special cleanliness or pious actions. Nevertheless they, contrary to us so full of all that purification, are firm in their devotional service for Krishna, the Lord Praised in the Verses and the Master of all Masters of Yoga. (45) Oh, how much has He through the words of His cowherd boys not reminded us of the ultimate destination of all transcendentalists, has He helped us who in our bewilderment about our household interests indeed were inattentive! (46) Why else would He, the Master of Liberation and of all other benedictions who is satisfied in every respect, be of this disguise [in the form of a gopa] with us, the ones resorting under His control? (47) The Goddess of Fortune refrains from all others and constantly worships only Him in the hope of touching His feet and putting an end to the faults [of pride and fickleness e.g.] in her own being. His request [for food] really perplexes everyone. (48-49) He constitutes the place and time, the items used, the hymns, the rituals, the priests and the fire, the officiating God-conscious ones, the performer of the sacrifice, the performance and its dharmic result [see verse 10-11]. He, the Supreme Lord Vishnu, the Master of all Yoga Masters, has directly visible taken birth among the Yadus, but despite having heard about this we foolishly failed to understand that. (50) The Supreme Lord Krishna who is of an unlimited intelligence and because of whose illusory power we with bewildered minds are wandering along the paths of fruitive action, we offer our obeisances. (51) He, our Original Lord and Supreme Personality of Godhead whose influence cannot be fathomed by our minds that are bewildered because of His māyā, should forgive us our offense.'
(52) Thus thinking about their offense of having disregarded Krishna, they wished to meet Him, but afraid of [drawing the attention of] Kamsa, they decided not to go to Vraja.'
Thus the first part of the tenth Canto of the S'rīmad Bhāgavatam ends named: 'Summum Bonum'.
Translation: Anand Aadhar Prabhu, http://bhagavata.org/c/8/AnandAadhar.html
Production: the Filognostic Association of The Order of Time, with special thanks to Sakhya Devi Dasi for proofreading and correcting the manuscript. http://theorderoftime.com/info/guests-friends.html
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