Mother Yaśodā Binds Lord Kṛṣṇa

Mother Yasoda & Krishna1

In celebration of the month of Damodara (Kartika) we are focusing our attention on the pastimes of Krishna in Vrndavan. Especially Krishna’s childhood pastimes. So with this in mind we are posting the entire 9th chapter from the Tenth Canto of Srila Prabhupada’s Srimad Bhagavatam entitled Mother Yaśodā Binds Lord Kṛṣṇa.

When caught by mother Yaśodā, Kṛṣṇa became more and more afraid and admitted to being an offender. As she looked upon Him, she saw that He was crying, His tears mixing with the black ointment around His eyes, and as He rubbed His eyes with His hands, He smeared the ointment all over His face. Mother Yaśodā, catching her beautiful son by the hand, mildly began to chastise Him. (SB 10.9.11)

Yogīs, mystics, want to catch Kṛṣṇa as Paramātmā, and with great austerities and penances they try to approach Him, yet they cannot. Here we see, however, that Kṛṣṇa is going to be caught by Yaśodā and is running away in fear. This illustrates the difference between the bhakta and the yogī. Yogīs cannot reach Kṛṣṇa, but for pure devotees like mother Yaśodā, Kṛṣṇa is already caught. (from purport to SB 10.9.9)

By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Tenth Canto, Chapter 9

Mother Yaśodā Binds Lord Kṛṣṇa


While mother Yaśodā was allowing Kṛṣṇa to drink her breast milk, she was forced to stop because she saw the milk pan boiling over on the oven. The maidservants being engaged in other business, she stopped allowing Kṛṣṇa to drink from her breast and immediately attended to the overflowing milk pan. Kṛṣṇa became very angry because of His mother’s behavior and devised a means of breaking the pots of yogurt. Because He created this disturbance, mother Yaśodā decided to bind Him. These incidents are described in this chapter.

One day, the maidservants being engaged in other work, mother Yaśodā was churning the yogurt into butter herself, and in the meantime Kṛṣṇa came and requested her to allow Him to suck her breast milk. Of course, mother Yaśodā immediately allowed Him to do so, but then she saw that the hot milk on the oven was boiling over, and therefore she immediately stopped allowing Kṛṣṇa to drink the milk of her breast and went to stop the milk on the oven from overflowing. Kṛṣṇa, however, having been interrupted in His business of sucking the breast, was very angry. He took a piece of stone, broke the churning pot and entered a room, where He began to eat the freshly churned butter. When mother Yaśodā, after attending to the overflowing milk, returned and saw the pot broken, she could understand that this was the work of Kṛṣṇa, and therefore she went to search for Him. When she entered the room, she saw Kṛṣṇa standing on the ulūkhala, a large mortar for grinding spices. Having turned the mortar upside down, He was stealing butter hanging from a swing and was distributing the butter to the monkeys. As soon as Kṛṣṇa saw that His mother had come, He immediately began to run away, and mother Yaśodā began to follow Him. After going some distance, mother Yaśodā was able to catch Kṛṣṇa, who because of His offense was crying. Mother Yaśodā, of course, threatened to punish Kṛṣṇa if He acted that way again, and she decided to bind Him with rope. Unfortunately, when the time came to knot the rope, the rope with which she wanted to bind Him was short by a distance equal to the width of two fingers. When she made the rope longer by adding another rope, she again saw that it was short by two fingers. Again and again she tried, and again and again she found the rope too short by two fingers. Thus she became very tired, and Kṛṣṇa, seeing His affectionate mother so tired, allowed Himself to be bound. Now, being compassionate, He did not show her His unlimited potency. After mother Yaśodā bound Kṛṣṇa and became engaged in other household affairs, Kṛṣṇa observed two yamala-arjuna trees, which were actually Nalakūvara and Maṇigrīva, two sons of Kuvera who had been condemned by Nārada Muni to become trees. Kṛṣṇa, by His mercy, now began to proceed toward the trees to fulfill the desire of Nārada Muni.


śrī-śuka uvāca

ekadā gṛha-dāsīṣu
yaśodā nanda-gehinī
nirmamantha svayaṁ dadhi

yāni yānīha gītāni
tad-bāla-caritāni ca
dadhi-nirmanthane kāle
smarantī tāny agāyata

śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; ekadā—one day; gṛha-dāsīṣu—when all the maidservants of the household were otherwise engaged; yaśodā—mother Yaśodā; nanda-gehinī—the queen of Nanda Mahārāja; karma-antara—in other household affairs; niyuktāsu—being engaged; nirmamantha—churned; svayam—personally; dadhi—the yogurt; yāni—all such; yāni—such; iha—in this connection; gītāni—songs; tat-bāla-caritāni—in which the activities of her own child were enacted; ca—and; dadhi-nirmanthane—while churning the yogurt; kāle—at that time; smarantī—remembering; tāni—all of them (in the form of songs); agāyata—chanted.


Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: One day when mother Yaśodā saw that all the maidservants were engaged in other household affairs, she personally began to churn the yogurt. While churning, she remembered the childish activities of Kṛṣṇa, and in her own way she composed songs and enjoyed singing to herself about all those activities.


Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, quoting from the Vaiṣṇava-toṣaṇī of Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī, says that the incident of Kṛṣṇa’s breaking the pot of yogurt and being bound by mother Yaśodā took place on the Dipavali Day, or Dīpa-mālikā. Even today in India, this festival is generally celebrated very gorgeously in the month of Kārtika by fireworks and lights, especially in Bombay. It is to be understood that among all the cows of Nanda Mahārāja, several of mother Yaśodā’s cows ate only grasses so flavorful that the grasses would automatically flavor the milk. Mother Yaśodā wanted to collect the milk from these cows, make it into yogurt and churn it into butter personally, since she thought that this child Kṛṣṇa was going to the houses of neighborhood gopas and gopīs to steal butter because He did not like the milk and yogurt ordinarily prepared.

While churning the butter, mother Yaśodā was singing about the childhood activities of Kṛṣṇa. It was formerly a custom that if one wanted to remember something constantly, he would transform it into poetry or have this done by a professional poet. It appears that mother Yaśodā did not want to forget Kṛṣṇa’s activities at any time. Therefore she poeticized all of Kṛṣṇa’s childhood activities, such as the killing of Pūtanā, Aghāsura, Śakaṭāsura and Tṛṇāvarta, and while churning the butter, she sang about these activities in poetical form. This should be the practice of persons eager to remain Kṛṣṇa conscious twenty-four hours a day. This incident shows how Kṛṣṇa conscious mother Yaśodā was. To stay in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, we should follow such persons.


kṣaumaṁ vāsaḥ pṛthu-kaṭi-taṭe bibhratī sūtra-naddhaṁ
putra-sneha-snuta-kuca-yugaṁ jāta-kampaṁ ca subhrūḥ
rajjv-ākarṣa-śrama-bhuja-calat-kaṅkaṇau kuṇḍale ca
svinnaṁ vaktraṁ kabara-vigalan-mālatī nirmamantha

kṣaumam—saffron and yellow mixed; vāsaḥ—mother Yaśodā was wearing such a sari; pṛthu-kaṭi-taṭe—surrounding her large hips; bibhratī—shaking; sūtra-naddham—bound with a belt; putra-sneha-snuta—because of intense love for her child, became wet with milk; kuca-yugam—the nipples of her breasts; jāta-kampam ca—as they were very nicely moving and quivering; su-bhrūḥ—who had very beautiful eyebrows; rajju-ākarṣa—by pulling on the rope of the churning rod; śrama—because of the labor; bhuja—on whose hands; calat-kaṅkaṇau—the two bangles were moving; kuṇḍale—the two earrings; ca—also; svinnam—her hair was black like a cloud, so perspiration was dropping like rain; vaktram—throughout her face; kabara-vigalat-mālatī—and mālatī flowers were dropping from her hair; nirmamantha—thus mother Yaśodā was churning the butter.


Dressed in a saffron-yellow sari, with a belt tied about her full hips, mother Yaśodā pulled on the churning rope, laboring considerably, her bangles and earrings moving and vibrating and her whole body shaking. Because of her intense love for her child, her breasts were wet with milk. Her face, with its very beautiful eyebrows, was wet with perspiration, and mālatī flowers were falling from her hair.


Anyone who desires to be Kṛṣṇa conscious in motherly affection or parental affection should contemplate the bodily features of mother Yaśodā. It is not that one should desire to become like Yaśodā, for this is Māyāvāda. Either in parental affection or conjugal love, friendship or servitorship—in any way—we must follow in the footsteps of the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana, not try to become like them. Therefore this description is provided here. Advanced devotees must cherish this description, always thinking of mother Yaśodā’s features—how she was dressed, how she was working and perspiring, how beautifully the flowers were arranged in her hair, and so on. One should take advantage of the full description provided here by thinking of mother Yaśodā in maternal affection for Kṛṣṇa.


tāṁ stanya-kāma āsādya
mathnantīṁ jananīṁ hariḥ
gṛhītvā dadhi-manthānaṁ
nyaṣedhat prītim āvahan

tām—unto mother Yaśodā; stanya-kāmaḥ—Kṛṣṇa, who was desiring to drink her breast milk; āsādya—appearing before her; mathnantīm—while she was churning butter; jananīm—to the mother; hariḥ—Kṛṣṇa; gṛhītvā—catching; dadhi-manthānam—the churning rod; nyaṣedhat—forbade; prītim āvahan—creating a situation of love and affection.


While mother Yaśodā was churning butter, Lord Kṛṣṇa, desiring to drink the milk of her breast, appeared before her, and in order to increase her transcendental pleasure, He caught hold of the churning rod and began to prevent her from churning.


Kṛṣṇa was sleeping within the room, and as soon as He got up, He became hungry and went to His mother. Wanting to stop her from churning and drink the milk of her breasts, He stopped her from moving the churning rod.


tam aṅkam ārūḍham apāyayat stanaṁ
sneha-snutaṁ sa-smitam īkṣatī mukham
atṛptam utsṛjya javena sā yayāv
utsicyamāne payasi tv adhiśrite

tam—unto Kṛṣṇa; aṅkam ārūḍham—very affectionately allowing Him to sit down on her lap; apāyayat—allowed to drink; stanam—her breast; sneha-snutam—which was flowing with milk because of intense affection; sa-smitam īkṣatī mukham—mother Yaśodā was smiling and observing the smiling face of Kṛṣṇa; atṛptam—Kṛṣṇa, who was still not fully satisfied by drinking the milk; utsṛjya—putting Him aside; javena—very hastily; sā—mother Yaśodā; yayau—left that place; utsicyamāne payasi—because of seeing that the milk was overflowing; tu—but; adhiśrite—in the milk pan on the oven.


Mother Yaśodā then embraced Kṛṣṇa, allowed Him to sit down on her lap, and began to look upon the face of the Lord with great love and affection. Because of her intense affection, milk was flowing from her breast. But when she saw that the milk pan on the oven was boiling over, she immediately left her son to take care of the overflowing milk, although the child was not yet fully satisfied with drinking the milk of His mother’s breast.


Everything in the household affairs of mother Yaśodā was meant for Kṛṣṇa. Although Kṛṣṇa was drinking the breast milk of mother Yaśodā, when she saw that the milk pan in the kitchen was overflowing, she had to take care of it immediately, and thus she left her son, who then became very angry, not having been fully satisfied with drinking the milk of her breast. Sometimes one must take care of more than one item of important business for the same purpose. Therefore mother Yaśodā was not unjust when she left her son to take care of the overflowing milk. On the platform of love and affection, it is the duty of the devotee to do one thing first and other things later. The proper intuition by which to do this is given by Kṛṣṇa.

teṣāṁ satata-yuktānāṁ
bhajatāṁ prīti-pūrvakam
dadāmi buddhi-yogaṁ taṁ
yena mām upayānti te
(Bg. 10.10)

In Kṛṣṇa consciousness, everything is dynamic. Kṛṣṇa guides the devotee in what to do first and what to do next on the platform of absolute truth.


sañjāta-kopaḥ sphuritāruṇādharaṁ
sandaśya dadbhir dadhi-mantha-bhājanam
bhittvā mṛṣāśrur dṛṣad-aśmanā raho
jaghāsa haiyaṅgavam antaraṁ gataḥ

sañjāta-kopaḥ—in this way, Kṛṣṇa being very angry; sphurita-aruṇa-adharam—swollen reddish lips; sandaśya—capturing; dadbhiḥ—by His teeth; dadhi-mantha-bhājanam—the pot in which yogurt was being churned; bhittvā—breaking; mṛṣā-aśruḥ—with false tears in the eyes; dṛṣat-aśmanā—with a piece of stone; rahaḥ—in a solitary place; jaghāsa—began to eat; haiyaṅgavam—the freshly churned butter; antaram—within the room; gataḥ—having gone.


Being very angry and biting His reddish lips with His teeth, Kṛṣṇa, with false tears in His eyes, broke the container of yogurt with a piece of stone. Then He entered a room and began to eat the freshly churned butter in a solitary place.


It is natural that when a child becomes angry he can begin crying with false tears in his eyes. So Kṛṣṇa did this, and biting His reddish lips with His teeth, He broke the pot with a stone, entered a room and began to eat the freshly churned butter.


uttārya gopī suśṛtaṁ payaḥ punaḥ
praviśya saṁdṛśya ca dadhy-amatrakam
bhagnaṁ vilokya sva-sutasya karma taj
jahāsa taṁ cāpi na tatra paśyatī

uttārya—putting down from the oven; gopī—mother Yaśodā; su-śṛtam—very hot; payaḥ—the milk; punaḥ—again; praviśya—entered the churning spot; saṁdṛśya—by observing; ca—also; dadhi-amatrakam—the container of yogurt; bhagnam—broken; vilokya—seeing this; sva-sutasya—of her own child; karma—work; tat—that; jahāsa—smiled; tam ca—Kṛṣṇa also; api—at the same time; na—not; tatra—there; paśyatī—finding.


Mother Yaśodā, after taking down the hot milk from the oven, returned to the churning spot, and when she saw that the container of yogurt was broken and that Kṛṣṇa was not present, she concluded that the breaking of the pot was the work of Kṛṣṇa.


Seeing the pot broken and Kṛṣṇa not present, Yaśodā definitely concluded that the breaking of the pot was the work of Kṛṣṇa. There was no doubt about it.


ulūkhalāṅghrer upari vyavasthitaṁ
markāya kāmaṁ dadataṁ śici sthitam
haiyaṅgavaṁ caurya-viśaṅkitekṣaṇaṁ
nirīkṣya paścāt sutam āgamac chanaiḥ

ulūkhala-aṅghreḥ—of the mortar in which spices were ground and which was being kept upside down; upari—on top; vyavasthitam—Kṛṣṇa was sitting; markāya—unto a monkey; kāmam—according to His satisfaction; dadatam—delivering shares; śici sthitam—situated in the butter pot hanging on the swing; haiyaṅgavam—butter and other milk preparations; caurya-viśaṅkita—because of stealing, were anxiously looking hither and thither; īkṣaṇam—whose eyes; nirīkṣya—by seeing these activities; paścāt—from behind; sutam—her son; āgamat—she reached; śanaiḥ—very slowly, cautiously.


Kṛṣṇa, at that time, was sitting on an upside-down wooden mortar for grinding spices and was distributing milk preparations such as yogurt and butter to the monkeys as He liked. Because of having stolen, He was looking all around with great anxiety, suspecting that He might be chastised by His mother. Mother Yaśodā, upon seeing Him, very cautiously approached Him from behind.


Mother Yaśodā was able to trace Kṛṣṇa by following His butter-smeared footprints. She saw that Kṛṣṇa was stealing butter, and thus she smiled. Meanwhile, the crows also entered the room and came out in fear. Thus mother Yaśodā found Kṛṣṇa stealing butter and very anxiously looking here and there.


tām ātta-yaṣṭiṁ prasamīkṣya satvaras
tato ’varuhyāpasasāra bhītavat
gopy anvadhāvan na yam āpa yogināṁ
kṣamaṁ praveṣṭuṁ tapaseritaṁ manaḥ

tām—unto mother Yaśodā; ātta-yaṣṭim—carrying in her hand a stick; prasamīkṣya—Kṛṣṇa, seeing her in that attitude; satvaraḥ—very quickly; tataḥ—from there; avaruhya—getting down; apasasāra—began to flee; bhīta-vat—as if very much afraid; gopī—mother Yaśodā; anvadhāvat—began to follow Him; na—not; yam—unto whom; āpa—failed to reach; yoginām—of great yogīs, mystics; kṣamam—who could reach Him; praveṣṭum—trying to enter into the Brahman effulgence or Paramātmā; tapasā—with great austerities and penances; īritam—trying for that purpose; manaḥ—by meditation.


When Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa saw His mother, stick in hand, He very quickly got down from the top of the mortar and began to flee as if very much afraid. Although yogīs try to capture Him as Paramātmā by meditation, desiring to enter into the effulgence of the Lord with great austerities and penances, they fail to reach Him. But mother Yaśodā, thinking that same Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, to be her son, began following Kṛṣṇa to catch Him.


Yogīs, mystics, want to catch Kṛṣṇa as Paramātmā, and with great austerities and penances they try to approach Him, yet they cannot. Here we see, however, that Kṛṣṇa is going to be caught by Yaśodā and is running away in fear. This illustrates the difference between the bhakta and the yogī. Yogīs cannot reach Kṛṣṇa, but for pure devotees like mother Yaśodā, Kṛṣṇa is already caught. Kṛṣṇa was even afraid of mother Yaśodā’s stick. This was mentioned by Queen Kuntī in her prayers: bhaya-bhāvanayā sthitasya (Bhāg. 1.8.31). Kṛṣṇa is afraid of mother Yaśodā, and yogīs are afraid of Kṛṣṇa. Yogīs try to reach Kṛṣṇa by jñāna-yoga and other yogas, but fail. Yet although mother Yaśodā was a woman, Kṛṣṇa was afraid of her, as clearly described in this verse.


anvañcamānā jananī bṛhac-calac-
chroṇī-bharākrānta-gatiḥ sumadhyamā
javena visraṁsita-keśa-bandhana-
cyuta-prasūnānugatiḥ parāmṛśat

anvañcamānā—following Kṛṣṇa very swiftly; jananī—mother Yaśodā; bṛhat-calat-śroṇī-bhara-ākrānta-gatiḥ—being overburdened by the weight of her large breasts, she became tired and had to reduce her speed; su-madhyamā—because of her thin waist; javena—because of going very fast; visraṁsita-keśa-bandhana—from her arrangement of hair, which had become loosened; cyuta-prasūna-anugatiḥ—she was followed by the flowers falling after her; parāmṛśat—finally captured Kṛṣṇa without fail.


While following Kṛṣṇa, mother Yaśodā, her thin waist overburdened by her heavy breasts, naturally had to reduce her speed. Because of following Kṛṣṇa very swiftly, her hair became loose, and the flowers in her hair were falling after her. Yet she did not fail to capture her son Kṛṣṇa.


Yogīs cannot capture Kṛṣṇa by severe penances and austerities, but mother Yaśodā, despite all obstacles, was finally able to catch Kṛṣṇa without difficulty. This is the difference between a yogī and a bhakta. Yogīs cannot enter even the effulgence of Kṛṣṇa. Yasya prabhā prabhavato jagad-aṇḍa-koṭi-koṭiṣu (Brahma-saṁhitā 5.40). In that effulgence there are millions of universes, but yogīs and jñānīs cannot enter that effulgence even after many, many years of austerities, whereas bhaktas can capture Kṛṣṇa simply by love and affection. This is the example shown here by mother Yaśodā. Kṛṣṇa therefore confirms that if one wants to capture Him, one must undertake devotional service.

bhaktyā mām abhijānāti
yāvān yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ
tato māṁ tattvato jñātvā
viśate tad-anantaram
(Bg. 18.55)

Bhaktas enter even the planet of Kṛṣṇa very easily, but the less intelligent yogīs and jñānīs, by their meditation, remain running after Kṛṣṇa. Even if they enter Kṛṣṇa’s effulgence, they fall down.


kṛtāgasaṁ taṁ prarudantam akṣiṇī
kaṣantam añjan-maṣiṇī sva-pāṇinā
udvīkṣamāṇaṁ bhaya-vihvalekṣaṇaṁ
haste gṛhītvā bhiṣayanty avāgurat

kṛta-āgasam—who was an offender; tam—unto Kṛṣṇa; prarudantam—with a crying attitude; akṣiṇī—His two eyes; kaṣantam—rubbing; añjat-maṣiṇī—from whose eyes the blackish ointment was distributed all over His face with tears; sva-pāṇinā—with His own hand; udvīkṣamāṇam—who was seen in that attitude by mother Yaśodā; bhaya-vihvala-īkṣaṇam—whose eyes appeared distressed because of such fear of His mother; haste—by the hand; gṛhītvā—catching; bhiṣayantī—mother Yaśodā was threatening Him; avāgurat—and thus she very mildly chastised Him.


When caught by mother Yaśodā, Kṛṣṇa became more and more afraid and admitted to being an offender. As she looked upon Him, she saw that He was crying, His tears mixing with the black ointment around His eyes, and as He rubbed His eyes with His hands, He smeared the ointment all over His face. Mother Yaśodā, catching her beautiful son by the hand, mildly began to chastise Him.


From these dealings between mother Yaśodā and Kṛṣṇa, we can understand the exalted position of a pure devotee in loving service to the Lord. Yogīs, jñānīs, karmīs and Vedāntists cannot even approach Kṛṣṇa; they must remain very, very far away from Him and try to enter His bodily effulgence, although this also they are unable to do. Great demigods like Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva always worship the Lord by meditation and by service. Even the most powerful Yamarāja fears Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, as we find in the history of Ajāmila, Yamarāja instructed his followers not even to approach the devotees, what to speak of capturing them. In other words, Yamarāja also fears Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa’s devotees. Yet this Kṛṣṇa became so dependent on mother Yaśodā that when she simply showed Kṛṣṇa the stick in her hand, Kṛṣṇa admitted to being an offender and began to cry like an ordinary child. Mother Yaśodā, of course, did not want to chastise her beloved child very much, and therefore she immediately threw her stick away and simply rebuked Kṛṣṇa, saying, “Now I shall bind You so that You cannot commit any further offensive activities. Nor for the time being can You play with Your playmates.” This shows the position of a pure devotee, in contrast with others, like jñānīs, yogīs and the followers of Vedic ritualistic ceremonies, in regarding the transcendental nature of the Absolute Truth.


tyaktvā yaṣṭiṁ sutaṁ bhītaṁ
iyeṣa kila taṁ baddhuṁ

tyaktvā—throwing away; yaṣṭim—the stick in her hand; sutam—her son; bhītam—considering her son’s great fear; vijñāya—understanding; arbhaka-vatsalā—the most affectionate mother of Kṛṣṇa; iyeṣa—desired; kila—indeed; tam—Kṛṣṇa; baddhum—to bind; dāmnā—with a rope; a-tat-vīrya-kovidā—without knowledge of the supremely powerful Personality of Godhead (because of intense love for Kṛṣṇa).


Mother Yaśodā was always overwhelmed by intense love for Kṛṣṇa, not knowing who Kṛṣṇa was or how powerful He was. Because of maternal affection for Kṛṣṇa, she never even cared to know who He was. Therefore, when she saw that her son had become excessively afraid, she threw the stick away and desired to bind Him so that He would not commit any further naughty activities.


Mother Yaśodā wanted to bind Kṛṣṇa not in order to chastise Him but because she thought that the child was so restless that He might leave the house in fear. That would be another disturbance. Therefore, because of full affection, to stop Kṛṣṇa from leaving the house, she wanted to bind Him with rope. Mother Yaśodā wanted to impress upon Kṛṣṇa that since He was afraid merely to see her stick, He should not perform such disturbing activities as breaking the container of yogurt and butter and distributing its contents to the monkeys. Mother Yaśodā did not care to understand who Kṛṣṇa was and how His power spreads everywhere. This is an example of pure love for Kṛṣṇa.

TEXTS 13–14

na cāntar na bahir yasya
na pūrvaṁ nāpi cāparam
pūrvāparaṁ bahiś cāntar
jagato yo jagac ca yaḥ

taṁ matvātmajam avyaktaṁ
martya-liṅgam adhokṣajam
gopikolūkhale dāmnā
babandha prākṛtaṁ yathā

na—not; ca—also; antaḥ—interior; na—nor; bahiḥ—exterior; yasya—whose; na—neither; pūrvam—beginning; na—nor; api—indeed; ca—also; aparam—end; pūrva-aparam—the beginning and the end; bahiḥ ca antaḥ—the external and the internal; jagataḥ—of the whole cosmic manifestation; yaḥ—one who is; jagat ca yaḥ—and who is everything in creation in total; tam—Him; matvā—considering; ātmajam—her own son; avyaktam—the unmanifested; martya-liṅgam—appearing as a human being; adhokṣajam—beyond sense perception; gopikā—mother Yaśodā; ulūkhale—to the grinding mortar; dāmnā—by a rope; babandha—bound; prākṛtam yathā—as done to a common human child.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead has no beginning and no end, no exterior and no interior, no front and no rear. In other words, He is all-pervading. Because He is not under the influence of the element of time, for Him there is no difference between past, present and future; He exists in His own transcendental form at all times. Being absolute, beyond relativity, He is free from distinctions between cause and effect, although He is the cause and effect of everything. That unmanifested person, who is beyond the perception of the senses, had now appeared as a human child, and mother Yaśodā, considering Him her own ordinary child, bound Him to the wooden mortar with a rope.


In Bhagavad-gītā (10.12), Kṛṣṇa is described as the Supreme Brahman (paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma). The word brahma means “the greatest.” Kṛṣṇa is greater than the greatest, being unlimited and all-pervading. How can it be possible for the all-pervading to be measured or bound? Then again, Kṛṣṇa is the time factor. Therefore, He is all-pervading not only in space but also in time. We have measurements of time, but although we are limited by past, present and future, for Kṛṣṇa these do not exist. Every individual person can be measured, but Kṛṣṇa has already shown that although He also is an individual, the entire cosmic manifestation is within His mouth. All these points considered, Kṛṣṇa cannot be measured. How then did Yaśodā want to measure Him and bind Him? We must conclude that this took place simply on the platform of pure transcendental love. This was the only cause.

advaitam acyutam anādim ananta-rūpam
ādyaṁ purāṇa-puruṣaṁ nava-yauvanaṁ ca
vedeṣu durlabham adurlabham ātma-bhaktau
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
(Brahma-saṁhitā 5.33)

Everything is one because Kṛṣṇa is the supreme cause of everything. Kṛṣṇa cannot be measured or calculated by Vedic knowledge (vedeṣu durlabham). He is available only to devotees (adurlabham ātma-bhaktau). Devotees can handle Him because they act on the basis of loving service (bhaktyā mām abhijānāti yāvān yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ) [Bg. 18.55]. Thus mother Yaśodā wanted to bind Him.


tad dāma badhyamānasya
svārbhakasya kṛtāgasaḥ
dvy-aṅgulonam abhūt tena
sandadhe ’nyac ca gopikā

tat dāma—that binding rope; badhyamānasya—who was being bound by mother Yaśodā; sva-arbhakasya—of her own son; kṛta-āgasaḥ—who was an offender; dvi-aṅgula—by a measurement of two fingers; ūnam—short; abhūt—became; tena—with that rope; sandadhe—joined; anyat ca—another rope; gopikā—mother Yaśodā.


When mother Yaśodā was trying to bind the offending child, she saw that the binding rope was short by a distance the width of two fingers. Thus she brought another rope to join to it.


Here is the first chapter in Kṛṣṇa’s exhibition of unlimited potency to mother Yaśodā when she tried to bind Him: the rope was too short. The Lord had already shown His unlimited potency by killing Pūtanā, Śakaṭāsura and Tṛṇāvarta. Now Kṛṣṇa exhibited another vibhūti, or display of potency, to mother Yaśodā. “Unless I agree,” Kṛṣṇa desired to show, “you cannot bind Me.” Thus although mother Yaśodā, in her attempt to bind Kṛṣṇa, added one rope after another, ultimately she was a failure. When Kṛṣṇa agreed, however, she was successful. In other words, one must be in transcendental love with Kṛṣṇa, but that does not mean that one can control Kṛṣṇa. When Kṛṣṇa is satisfied with one’s devotional service, He does everything Himself. Sevonmukhe hi jihvādau svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ. He reveals more and more to the devotee as the devotee advances in service. Jihvādau: this service begins with the tongue, with chanting and with taking the prasāda of Kṛṣṇa.

ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi
na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ
sevonmukhe hi jihvādau
svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ

ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi
na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ
sevonmukhe hi jihvādau
svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ

“No one can understand the transcendental nature of the name, form, quality and pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa through his materially contaminated senses. Only when one becomes spiritually saturated by transcendental service to the Lord are the transcendental name, form, quality and pastimes of the Lord revealed to him.” (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu)


yadāsīt tad api nyūnaṁ
tenānyad api sandadhe
tad api dvy-aṅgulaṁ nyūnaṁ
yad yad ādatta bandhanam

yadā—when; āsīt—became; tat api—even the new rope that had been joined; nyūnam—still short; tena—then, with the second rope; anyat api—another rope also; sandadhe—she joined; tat api—that also; dvi-aṅgulam—by a measurement of two fingers; nyūnam—remained short; yat yat ādatta—in this way, one after another, whatever ropes she joined; bandhanam—for binding Kṛṣṇa.


This new rope also was short by a measurement of two fingers, and when another rope was joined to it, it was still two fingers too short. As many ropes as she joined, all of them failed; their shortness could not be overcome.


evaṁ sva-geha-dāmāni
yaśodā sandadhaty api
gopīnāṁ susmayantīnāṁ
smayantī vismitābhavat

evam—in this manner; sva-geha-dāmāni—all the ropes available in the household; yaśodā—mother Yaśodā; sandadhati api—although she was joining one after another; gopīnām—when all the other elderly gopī friends of mother Yaśodā; su-smayantīnām—were all taking pleasure in this funny affair; smayantī—mother Yaśodā was also smiling; vismitā abhavat—all of them were struck with wonder.


Thus mother Yaśodā joined whatever ropes were available in the household, but still she failed in her attempt to bind Kṛṣṇa. Mother Yaśodā’s friends, the elderly gopīs in the neighborhood, were smiling and enjoying the fun. Similarly, mother Yaśodā, although laboring in that way, was also smiling. All of them were struck with wonder.


Actually this incident was wonderful because Kṛṣṇa was only a child with small hands. To bind Him should have required only a rope not more than two feet long. All the ropes in the house combined together might have been hundreds of feet long, but still He was impossible to bind, for all the ropes together were still too short. Naturally mother Yaśodā and her gopī friends thought, “How is this possible?” Seeing this funny affair, all of them were smiling. The first rope was short by a measurement the width of two fingers, and after the second rope was added, it was still two fingers too short. If the shortness of all the ropes were added together, it must have amounted to the width of hundreds of fingers. Certainly this was astonishing. This was another exhibition of Kṛṣṇa’s inconceivable potency to His mother and His mother’s friends.


sva-mātuḥ svinna-gātrāyā
dṛṣṭvā pariśramaṁ kṛṣṇaḥ
kṛpayāsīt sva-bandhane

sva-mātuḥ—of His own mother (Kṛṣṇa’s mother, Yaśodādevī); svinna-gātrāyāḥ—when Kṛṣṇa saw His mother perspiring all over because of unnecessary labor; visrasta—were falling down; kabara—from her hair; srajaḥ—of whom the flowers; dṛṣṭvā—by seeing the condition of His mother; pariśramam—He could understand that she was now overworked and feeling fatigued; kṛṣṇaḥ—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; kṛpayā—by His causeless mercy upon His devotee and mother; āsīt—agreed; sva-bandhane—in binding Him.


Because of mother Yaśodā’s hard labor, her whole body became covered with perspiration, and the flowers and comb were falling from her hair. When child Kṛṣṇa saw His mother thus fatigued, He became merciful to her and agreed to be bound.


When mother Yaśodā and the other ladies finally saw that Kṛṣṇa, although decorated with many bangles and other jeweled ornaments, could not be bound with all the ropes available in the house, they decided that Kṛṣṇa was so fortunate that He could not be bound by any material condition. Thus they gave up the idea of binding Him. But in competition between Kṛṣṇa and His devotee, Kṛṣṇa sometimes agrees to be defeated. Thus Kṛṣṇa’s internal energy, yogamāyā, was brought to work, and Kṛṣṇa agreed to be bound by mother Yaśodā.


evaṁ sandarśitā hy aṅga
hariṇā bhṛtya-vaśyatā
sva-vaśenāpi kṛṣṇena
yasyedaṁ seśvaraṁ vaśe

evam—in this manner; sandarśitā—was exhibited; hi—indeed; aṅga—O Mahārāja Parīkṣit; hariṇā—by the Supreme Personality of Godhead; bhṛtya-vaśyatā—His transcendental quality of becoming subordinate to His servitor or devotee; sva-vaśena—who is within the control only of His own self; api—indeed; kṛṣṇena—by Kṛṣṇa; yasya—of whom; idam—the whole universe; sa-īśvaram—with the powerful demigods like Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā; vaśe—under the control.


O Mahārāja Parīkṣit, this entire universe, with its great, exalted demigods like Lord Śiva, Lord Brahmā and Lord Indra, is under the control of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Yet the Supreme Lord has one transcendental attribute: He comes under the control of His devotees. This was now exhibited by Kṛṣṇa in this pastime.


This pastime of Kṛṣṇa’s is very difficult to understand, but devotees can understand it. It is therefore said, darśayaṁs tad-vidāṁ loka ātmano bhakta-vaśyatām (Bhāg. 10.11.9): the Lord displays the transcendental attribute of coming under the control of His devotees. As stated in the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.35):

eko ’py asau racayituṁ jagad-aṇḍa-koṭiṁ
yac-chaktir asti jagad-aṇḍa-cayā yad-antaḥ
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi

By His one plenary portion as Paramātmā, the Lord controls innumerable universes, with all their demigods; yet He agrees to be controlled by a devotee. In the Upaniṣads it is said that the Supreme Personality of Godhead can run with more speed than the mind, but here we see that although Kṛṣṇa wanted to avoid being arrested by His mother, He was finally defeated, and mother Yaśodā captured Him. Lakṣmī-sahasra-śata-sambhrama-sevyamānam: [Bs. 5.29] Kṛṣṇa is served by hundreds and thousands of goddesses of fortune. Nonetheless, He steals butter like one who is poverty-stricken. Yamarāja, the controller of all living entities, fears the order of Kṛṣṇa, yet Kṛṣṇa is afraid of His mother’s stick. These contradictions cannot be understood by one who is not a devotee, but a devotee can understand how powerful is unalloyed devotional service to Kṛṣṇa; it is so powerful that Kṛṣṇa can be controlled by an unalloyed devotee. This bhṛtya-vaśyatā does not mean that He is under the control of the servant; rather, He is under the control of the servant’s pure love. In Bhagavad-gītā (1.21) it is said that Kṛṣṇa became the chariot driver of Arjuna. Arjuna ordered Him, senayor ubhayor madhye rathaṁ sthāpaya me ’cyuta: “My dear Kṛṣṇa, You have agreed to be my charioteer and to execute my orders. Place my chariot between the two armies of soldiers.” Kṛṣṇa immediately executed this order, and therefore one may argue that Kṛṣṇa also is not independent. But this is one’s ajñāna, ignorance. Kṛṣṇa is always fully independent; when He becomes subordinate to His devotees, this is a display of ānanda-cinmaya-rasa, the humor of transcendental qualities that increases His transcendental pleasure. Everyone worships Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore He sometimes desires to be controlled by someone else. Such a controller can be no one else but a pure devotee.


nemaṁ viriñco na bhavo
na śrīr apy aṅga-saṁśrayā
prasādaṁ lebhire gopī
yat tat prāpa vimuktidāt

na—not; imam—this exalted position; viriñcaḥ—Lord Brahmā; na—nor; bhavaḥ—Lord Śiva; na—nor; śrīḥ—the goddess of fortune; api—indeed; aṅga-saṁśrayā—although she is always the better half of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; prasādam—mercy; lebhire—obtained; gopī—mother Yaśodā; yat tat—as that which; prāpa—obtained; vimukti-dāt—from Kṛṣṇa, who gives deliverance from this material world.


Neither Lord Brahmā, nor Lord Śiva, nor even the goddess of fortune, who is always the better half of the Supreme Lord, can obtain from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the deliverer from this material world, such mercy as received by mother Yaśodā.


This is a comparative study between mother Yaśodā and other devotees of the Lord. As stated in Caitanya caritāmṛta (Ādi 5.142), ekale īśvara kṛṣṇa, āra saba bhṛtya: the only supreme master is Kṛṣṇa, and all others are His servants. Kṛṣṇa has the transcendental quality of bhṛtya-vaśyatā, becoming subordinate to His bhṛtya, or servant. Now, although everyone is bhṛtya and although Kṛṣṇa has the quality of becoming subordinate to His bhṛtya, the position of mother Yaśodā is the greatest. Lord Brahmā is bhṛtya, a servant of Kṛṣṇa, and he is ādi-kavi, the original creator of this universe (tene brahma hṛdā ya ādi-kavaye). Nonetheless, even he could not obtain such mercy as mother Yaśodā. As for Lord Śiva, he is the topmost Vaiṣṇava (vaiṣṇavānāṁ yathā śambhuḥ). What to speak of Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva, the goddess of fortune, Lakṣmī, is the Lord’s constant companion in service, since she always associates with His body. But even she could not get such mercy. Therefore Mahārāja Parīkṣit was surprised, thinking, “What did mother Yaśodā and Nanda Mahārāja do in their previous lives by which they got such a great opportunity, the opportunity to be the affectionate father and mother of Kṛṣṇa?”

In this verse there are three negative pronouncements—na, na, na. When anything is uttered three times—“do it, do it, do it”—one should understand that this is meant to indicate great stress on a fact. In this verse, we find na lebhire, na lebhire, na lebhire. Yet mother Yaśodā is in the supermost exalted position, and thus Kṛṣṇa has become completely subordinate to her.

The word vimuktidāt is also significant. There are different types of liberation, such as sāyujya, sālokya, sārūpya, sārṣṭi and sāmīpya, but vimukti means “special mukti.” When after liberation one is situated on the platform of prema-bhakti, one is said to have achieved vimukti, “special mukti.” Therefore the word na is mentioned. That exalted platform of premā is described by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu as premā pum-artho mahān, and mother Yaśodā naturally acts in such an exalted position in loving affairs. She is therefore a nitya-siddha devotee, an expansion of Kṛṣṇa’s hlādinī potency, His potency to enjoy transcendental bliss through expansions who are special devotees (ānanda-cinmaya-rasa-pratibhāvitābhiḥ). Such devotees are not sādhana-siddha.


nāyaṁ sukhāpo bhagavān
dehināṁ gopikā-sutaḥ
jñānināṁ cātma-bhūtānāṁ
yathā bhaktimatām iha

na—not; ayam—this; sukha-āpaḥ—very easily obtainable, or an object of happiness; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; dehinām—of persons in the bodily concept of life, especially the karmīs; gopikā-sutaḥ—Kṛṣṇa, the son of mother Yaśodā (Kṛṣṇa as the son of Vasudeva is called Vāsudeva, and as the son of mother Yaśodā He is known as Kṛṣṇa); jñāninām ca—and of the jñānīs, who try to be free from material contamination; ātma-bhūtānām—of self-sufficient yogīs; yathā—as; bhakti-matām—of the devotees; iha—in this world.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, the son of mother Yaśodā, is accessible to devotees engaged in spontaneous loving service, but He is not as easily accessible to mental speculators, to those striving for self-realization by severe austerities and penances, or to those who consider the body the same as the self.


Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead as the son of mother Yaśodā, is very easily available to devotees, but not to tapasvīs, yogīs, jñānīs and others who have a bodily concept of life. Although they may sometimes be called śānta-bhaktas, real bhakti begins with dāsya-rasa. Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā (4.11):

ye yathā māṁ prapadyante
tāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy aham
mama vartmānuvartante
manuṣyāḥ pārtha sarvaśaḥ

“As living entities surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Pṛthā.”

Everyone is seeking Kṛṣṇa, for He is the Supersoul of all individual souls. Everyone loves his body and wants to protect it because he is within the body as the soul, and everyone loves the soul because the soul is part and parcel of the Supersoul. Therefore, everyone is actually seeking to achieve happiness by reviving his relationship with the Supersoul. As the Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā (15.15), vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyaḥ: “By all the Vedas, it is I who am to be known.” Therefore, the karmīs, jñānīs, yogīs and saintly persons are all seeking Kṛṣṇa. But by following in the footsteps of devotees who are in a direct relationship with Kṛṣṇa, especially the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana, one can reach the supreme position of associating with Kṛṣṇa. As it is said, vṛndāvanaṁ parityajya padam ekaṁ na gacchati: Kṛṣṇa does not leave Vṛndāvana even for a moment. The vṛndāvana-vāsīs—mother Yaśodā, Kṛṣṇa’s friends and Kṛṣṇa’s conjugal lovers, the younger gopīs with whom He dances—have very intimate relationships with Kṛṣṇa, and if one follows in the footsteps of these devotees, Kṛṣṇa is available. Although the nitya-siddha expansions of Kṛṣṇa always remain with Kṛṣṇa, if those engaged in sādhana-siddhi follow in the footsteps of Kṛṣṇa’s nitya-siddha associates, such sādhana-siddhas also can easily attain Kṛṣṇa without difficulty. But there are those who are attached to bodily concepts of life. Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva, for example, have very prestigious positions, and thus they have the sense of being very exalted īśvaras. In other words, because Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva are guṇa-avatāras and have exalted positions, they have some small sense of being like Kṛṣṇa. But the pure devotees who inhabit Vṛndāvana do not possess any bodily conception. They are fully dedicated to the service of the Lord in sublime affection, premā. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has therefore recommended, premā pum-artho mahān: the highest perfection of life is premā, pure love in relationship with Kṛṣṇa. And mother Yaśodā appears to be the topmost of devotees who have attained this perfection.


kṛṣṇas tu gṛha-kṛtyeṣu
vyagrāyāṁ mātari prabhuḥ
adrākṣīd arjunau pūrvaṁ
guhyakau dhanadātmajau

kṛṣṇaḥ tu—in the meantime; gṛha-kṛtyeṣu—in engagement in household affairs; vyagrāyām—very busy; mātari—when His mother; prabhuḥ—the Lord; adrākṣīt—observed; arjunau—the twin arjuna trees; pūrvam—before Him; guhyakau—which in a former millennium had been demigods; dhanada-ātmajau—the sons of Kuvera, the treasurer of the demigods.


While mother Yaśodā was very busy with household affairs, the Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa, observed twin trees known as yamala-arjuna, which in a former millennium had been the demigod sons of Kuvera.


purā nārada-śāpena
vṛkṣatāṁ prāpitau madāt
iti khyātau śriyānvitau

purā—formerly; nārada-śāpena—being cursed by Nārada Muni; vṛkṣatām—the forms of trees; prāpitau—obtained; madāt—because of madness; nalakūvara—one of them was Nalakūvara; maṇigrīvau—the other was Maṇigrīva; iti—thus; khyātau—well known; śriyā anvitau—very opulent.


In their former birth, these two sons, known as Nalakūvara and Maṇigrīva, were extremely opulent and fortunate. But because of pride and false prestige, they did not care about anyone, and thus Nārada Muni cursed them to become trees.

Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Tenth Canto, Ninth Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “Mother Yaśodā Binds Lord Kṛṣṇa.”

Text pasted from Prabhupada Books

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. otaner
    Oct 22, 2013 @ 23:16:23

    Jaya Sri Krishna -Damodar


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