The Childhood Pastimes of Kṛṣṇa

Krsna & Balarama Hiding from Mother Yasoda

Today is Rama Ekadasi (fast from grains and beans), so on this auspicious day, in the auspicious month of Damodara, we wanted to do a special post. The following is the entire 11th chapter of the Tenth Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam entitled “The Childhood Pastimes of Kṛṣṇa”.

The following two verses are just an example of the nectar one will find in the following chapter…

…The gopīs would say, “If You dance, my dear Kṛṣṇa, then I shall give You half a sweetmeat.” By saying these words or by clapping their hands, all the gopīs encouraged Kṛṣṇa in different ways. At such times, although He was the supremely powerful Personality of Godhead, He would smile and dance according to their desire, as if He were a wooden doll in their hands. Sometimes He would sing very loudly, at their bidding. In this way, Kṛṣṇa came completely under the control of the gopīs.(Text 7)

To pure devotees throughout the world who could understand His activities, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, exhibited how much He can be subdued by His devotees, His servants. In this way He increased the pleasure of the Vrajavāsīs by His childhood activities. (Text 9)

Srimad Bhagavatam
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Canto 10, Chapter 11

The Childhood Pastimes of Kṛṣṇa

This chapter describes how the inhabitants of Gokula left Gokula and went to Vṛndāvana and how Kṛṣṇa killed Vatsāsura and Bakāsura.

When the yamala-arjuna trees fell, they made a tremendous sound, like that of falling thunderbolts. Being surprised, Kṛṣṇa’s father, Nanda, and the other elderly inhabitants of Gokula went to the spot, where they saw the fallen trees and Kṛṣṇa standing between them, bound to the ulūkhala, the wooden mortar. They could find no cause for the trees’ having fallen and Kṛṣṇa’s being there. They thought this might be the work of some other asura who had met Kṛṣṇa on this spot, and they inquired from the playmates of Kṛṣṇa about how the whole incident had taken place. The children properly described how everything had happened, but the elderly persons could not believe the story. Some of them, however, thought that it might be true, since they had already seen many wonderful incidents in connection with Kṛṣṇa. Anyway, Nanda Mahārāja immediately released Kṛṣṇa from the ropes.
In this way, Kṛṣṇa, at every day and every moment, displayed wonderful incidents to increase the parental affection of Nanda Mahārāja and Yaśodā, who thus felt both surprise and joy. The breaking of the yamala-arjunas was one of these wonderful pastimes.

One day a fruit vendor approached Nanda Mahārāja’s house, and Kṛṣṇa gathered some food grains with His little palms and went to the vendor to exchange the grains for fruit. On the way, almost all the grains fell from His palms, only one or two grains remaining, but the fruit vendor, out of full affection, accepted these grains in exchange for as much fruit as Kṛṣṇa could take. As soon as she did this, her basket became filled with gold and jewels.

Thereafter, all the elderly gopas decided to leave Gokula because they saw that in Gokula there was always some disturbance. They decided to go to Vṛndāvana, Vraja-dhāma, and the next day they all departed. In Vṛndāvana, both Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, after finishing Their childhood pastimes, began to take charge of the calves and send them to the pasturing grounds (go-caraṇa). During this time, a demon named Vatsāsura entered among the calves and was killed, and another asura, in the shape of a big duck, was also killed. The playmates of Kṛṣṇa narrated all these stories to their mothers. The mothers could not believe their children, Kṛṣṇa’s playmates, but because of full affection they enjoyed these narrations of Kṛṣṇa’s activities.


śrī-śuka uvāca

gopā nandādayaḥ śrutvā
drumayoḥ patato ravam
tatrājagmuḥ kuru-śreṣṭha

śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; gopāḥ—all the cowherd men; nanda-ādayaḥ—headed by Nanda Mahārāja; śrutvā—hearing; drumayoḥ—of the two trees; patatoḥ—falling down; ravam—the high sound, as terrible as a thunderbolt; tatra—there, on the spot; ājagmuḥ—went; kuru-śreṣṭha—O Mahārāja Parīkṣit; nirghāta-bhaya-śaṅkitāḥ—who were afraid of falling thunderbolts.

Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: O Mahārāja Parīkṣit, when the yamala-arjuna trees fell, all the cowherd men in the neighborhood, hearing the fierce sound and fearing thunderbolts, went to the spot.


bhūmyāṁ nipatitau tatra
dadṛśur yamalārjunau
babhramus tad avijñāya
lakṣyaṁ patana-kāraṇam

bhūmyām—on the ground; nipatitau—which had fallen; tatra—there; dadṛśuḥ—all of them saw; yamala-arjunau—the twin arjuna trees; babhramuḥ—they became bewildered; tat—that; avijñāya—but they could not trace out; lakṣyam—although they could directly perceive that the trees had fallen; patana-kāraṇam—the cause of their falling (how could it have happened all of a sudden?).


There they saw the fallen yamala-arjuna trees on the ground, but they were bewildered because even though they could directly perceive that the trees had fallen, they could not trace out the cause for their having done so.


Considering all the circumstances, had this been done by Kṛṣṇa? He was standing on the spot, and His playmates described that this had been done by Him. Had Kṛṣṇa actually done this, or were these merely stories? This was a cause of bewilderment.


ulūkhalaṁ vikarṣantaṁ
dāmnā baddhaṁ ca bālakam
kasyedaṁ kuta āścaryam
utpāta iti kātarāḥ

ulūkhalam—the wooden mortar; vikarṣantam—dragging; dāmnā—with the rope; baddham ca—and bound by the belly; bālakam—Kṛṣṇa; kasya—of whom; idam—this; kutaḥ—wherefrom; āścaryam—these wonderful happenings; utpātaḥ—disturbance; iti—thus; kātarāḥ—they were very much agitated.


Kṛṣṇa was bound by the rope to the ulūkhala, the mortar, which He was dragging. But how could He have pulled down the trees? Who had actually done it? Where was the source for this incident? Considering all these astounding things, the cowherd men were doubtful and bewildered.


The cowherd men were very much agitated because the child Kṛṣṇa, after all, had been standing between the two trees, and if by chance the trees had fallen upon Him, He would have been smashed. But He was standing as He was, and still the things had happened, so who had done all this? How could these events have happened in such a wonderful way? These considerations were some of the reasons they were agitated and bewildered. They thought, however, that by chance Kṛṣṇa had been saved by God so that nothing had happened to Him.


bālā ūcur aneneti
tiryag-gatam ulūkhalam
vikarṣatā madhya-gena
puruṣāv apy acakṣmahi

bālāḥ—all the other boys; ūcuḥ—said; anena—by Him (Kṛṣṇa); iti—thus; tiryak—crosswise; gatam—which had become; ulūkhalam—the wooden mortar; vikarṣatā—by Kṛṣṇa, who was dragging; madhya-gena—going between the two trees; puruṣau—two beautiful persons; api—also; acakṣmahi—we have seen with our own eyes.


Then all the cowherd boys said: It is Kṛṣṇa who has done this. When He was in between the two trees, the mortar fell crosswise. Kṛṣṇa dragged the mortar, and the two trees fell down. After that, two beautiful men came out of the trees. We have seen this with our own eyes.


Kṛṣṇa’s playmates wanted to inform Kṛṣṇa’s father of the exact situation by explaining that not only did the trees break, but out of the broken trees came two beautiful men. “All these things happened,” they said. “We have seen them with our own eyes.”


na te tad-uktaṁ jagṛhur
na ghaṭeteti tasya tat
bālasyotpāṭanaṁ tarvoḥ
kecit sandigdha-cetasaḥ

na—not; te—all the gopas; tat-uktam—being spoken by the boys; jagṛhuḥ—would accept; na ghaṭeta—it cannot be; iti—thus; tasya—of Kṛṣṇa; tat—the activity; bālasya—of a small boy like Kṛṣṇa; utpāṭanam—the uprooting; tarvoḥ—of the two trees; kecit—some of them; sandigdha-cetasaḥ—became doubtful about what could be done (because Gargamuni had predicted that this child would be equal to Nārāyaṇa).


Because of intense paternal affection, the cowherd men, headed by Nanda, could not believe that Kṛṣṇa could have uprooted the trees in such a wonderful way. Therefore they could not put their faith in the words of the boys. Some of the men, however, were in doubt. “Since Kṛṣṇa was predicted to equal Nārāyaṇa,” they thought, “it might be that He could have done it.”


One view was that it was impossible for a small boy like this to have done such a thing as pulling down the trees. But there were doubts because Kṛṣṇa had been predicted to equal Nārāyaṇa. Therefore the cowherd men were in a dilemma.


ulūkhalaṁ vikarṣantaṁ
dāmnā baddhaṁ svam ātmajam
vilokya nandaḥ prahasad-
vadano vimumoca ha

ulūkhalam—the wooden mortar; vikarṣantam—dragging; dāmnā—by the rope; baddham—bound; svam ātmajam—his own son Kṛṣṇa; vilokya—by seeing; nandaḥ—Mahārāja Nanda; prahasat-vadanaḥ—whose face began to smile when he saw the wonderful child; vimumoca ha—released Him from the bonds.


When Nanda Mahārāja saw his own son bound with ropes to the wooden mortar and dragging it, he smiled and released Kṛṣṇa from His bonds.


Nanda Mahārāja was surprised that Yaśodā, Kṛṣṇa’s mother, could have bound her beloved child in such a way. Kṛṣṇa was exchanging love with her. How then could she have been so cruel as to bind Him to the wooden mortar? Nanda Mahārāja understood this exchange of love, and therefore he smiled and released Kṛṣṇa. In other words, as Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, binds a living entity in fruitive activities, He binds mother Yaśodā and Nanda Mahārāja in parental affection. This is His pastime.


gopībhiḥ stobhito ’nṛtyad
bhagavān bālavat kvacit
udgāyati kvacin mugdhas
tad-vaśo dāru-yantravat

gopībhiḥ—by the gopīs (by flattery and offers of prizes); stobhitaḥ—encouraged, induced; anṛtyat—the small Kṛṣṇa danced; bhagavān—although He was the Supreme Personality of Godhead; bāla-vat—exactly like a human child; kvacit—sometimes; udgāyati—He would sing very loudly; kvacit—sometimes; mugdhaḥ—being amazed; tat-vaśaḥ—under their control; dāru-yantra-vat—like a wooden doll.


The gopīs would say, “If You dance, my dear Kṛṣṇa, then I shall give You half a sweetmeat.” By saying these words or by clapping their hands, all the gopīs encouraged Kṛṣṇa in different ways. At such times, although He was the supremely powerful Personality of Godhead, He would smile and dance according to their desire, as if He were a wooden doll in their hands. Sometimes He would sing very loudly, at their bidding. In this way, Kṛṣṇa came completely under the control of the gopīs.


bibharti kvacid ājñaptaḥ
bāhu-kṣepaṁ ca kurute
svānāṁ ca prītim āvahan

bibharti—Kṛṣṇa would simply stand and touch articles as if unable to raise them; kvacit—sometimes; ājñaptaḥ—being ordered; pīṭhaka-unmāna—the wooden seat and wooden measuring pot; pādukam—bringing the wooden shoes; bāhu-kṣepam ca—striking the arms on the body; kurute—does; svānām ca—of His own relatives, the gopīs and other intimate friends; prītim—the pleasure; āvahan—inviting.


Sometimes mother Yaśodā and her gopī friends would tell Kṛṣṇa, “Bring this article” or “Bring that article.” Sometimes they would order Him to bring a wooden plank, wooden shoes or a wooden measuring pot, and Kṛṣṇa, when thus ordered by the mothers, would try to bring them. Sometimes, however, as if unable to raise these things, He would touch them and stand there. Just to invite the pleasure of His relatives, He would strike His body with His arms to show that He had sufficient strength.


darśayaṁs tad-vidāṁ loka
ātmano bhṛtya-vaśyatām
vrajasyovāha vai harṣaṁ
bhagavān bāla-ceṣṭitaiḥ

darśayan—exhibiting; tat-vidām—unto persons who can understand Kṛṣṇa’s activities; loke—throughout the whole world; ātmanaḥ—of Himself; bhṛtya-vaśyatām—how He is agreeable to carrying out the orders of His servants, His devotees; vrajasya—of Vrajabhūmi; uvāha—executed; vai—indeed; harṣam—pleasure; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; bāla-ceṣṭitaiḥ—by His activities like those of a child trying to do so many things.


To pure devotees throughout the world who could understand His activities, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, exhibited how much He can be subdued by His devotees, His servants. In this way He increased the pleasure of the Vrajavāsīs by His childhood activities.


That Kṛṣṇa performed childhood activities to increase the pleasure of His devotees was another transcendental humor. He exhibited these activities not only to the inhabitants of Vrajabhūmi, but also to others, who were captivated by His external potency and opulence. Both the internal devotees, who were simply absorbed in love of Kṛṣṇa, and the external devotees, who were captivated by His unlimited potency, were informed of Kṛṣṇa’s desire to be submissive to His servants.


krīṇīhi bhoḥ phalānīti
śrutvā satvaram acyutaḥ
phalārthī dhānyam ādāya
yayau sarva-phala-pradaḥ

krīṇīhi—please come and purchase; bhoḥ—O neighborhood residents; phalāni—ripe fruits; iti—thus; śrutvā—hearing; satvaram—very soon; acyutaḥ—Kṛṣṇa; phala-arthī—as if He wanted some fruits; dhānyam ādāya—capturing some grains of paddy; yayau—went to the fruit vendor; sarva-phala-pradaḥ—the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who can give all kinds of fruit to everyone, had now become in need of fruits.

Once a woman selling fruit was calling, “O inhabitants of Vrajabhūmi, if you want to purchase some fruits, come here!” Upon hearing this, Kṛṣṇa immediately took some grains and went to barter as if He needed some fruits.


Aborigines generally go to the villagers to sell fruits. How much the aborigines were attached to Kṛṣṇa is here described. Kṛṣṇa, to show His favor to the aborigines, would immediately go purchase fruits, bartering with paddy in His hand as He had seen others do.


phala-vikrayiṇī tasya
phalair apūrayad ratnaiḥ
phala-bhāṇḍam apūri ca

phala-vikrayiṇī—the aborigine fruit vendor, who was an elderly woman; tasya—of Kṛṣṇa; cyuta-dhānya—the paddy He brought to barter having mostly fallen; kara-dvayam—palms of the hands; phalaiḥ apūrayat—the fruit vendor filled His small palms with fruits; ratnaiḥ—in exchange for jewels and gold; phala-bhāṇḍam—the basket of fruit; apūri ca—filled.


While Kṛṣṇa was going to the fruit vendor very hastily, most of the grains He was holding fell. Nonetheless, the fruit vendor filled Kṛṣṇa’s hands with fruits, and her fruit basket was immediately filled with jewels and gold.


In Bhagavad-gītā (9.26) Kṛṣṇa says:

patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ
yo me bhaktyā prayacchati
tad ahaṁ bhakty-upahṛtam
aśnāmi prayatātmanaḥ

Kṛṣṇa is so kind that if anyone offers Him a leaf, a fruit, a flower or some water, He will immediately accept it. The only condition is that these things should be offered with bhakti (yo me bhaktyā prayacchati). Otherwise, if one is puffed up with false prestige, thinking, “I have so much opulence, and I am giving something to Kṛṣṇa,” one’s offering will not be accepted by Kṛṣṇa. The fruit vendor, although a woman belonging to the poor aborigine class, dealt with Kṛṣṇa with great affection, saying, “Kṛṣṇa, You have come to me to take some fruit in exchange for grains. All the grains have fallen, but still You may take whatever You like.” Thus she filled Kṛṣṇa’s palms with whatever fruits He could carry. In exchange, Kṛṣṇa filled her whole basket with jewels and gold.

From this incident one should learn that for anything offered to Kṛṣṇa with love and affection, Kṛṣṇa can reciprocate many millions of times over, both materially and spiritually. The basic principle involved is an exchange of love. Therefore Kṛṣṇa teaches in Bhagavad-gītā (9.27):

yat karoṣi yad aśnāsi
yaj juhoṣi dadāsi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya
tat kuruṣva mad-arpaṇam

“O son of Kuntī, all that you do, all that you eat, all that you offer and give away, as well as all austerities that you may perform, should be done as an offering unto Me.”

With love and affection, one should try to give something to Kṛṣṇa from one’s source of income. Then one’s life will be successful. Kṛṣṇa is full in all opulences; He does not need anything from anyone. But if one is prepared to give something to Kṛṣṇa, that is for one’s own benefit. The example given in this connection is that when one’s real face is decorated, the reflection of one’s face is automatically decorated. Similarly, if we try to serve Kṛṣṇa with all our opulences, we, as parts and parcels or reflections of Kṛṣṇa, will become happy in exchange. Kṛṣṇa is always happy, for He is ātmārāma, fully satisfied with His own opulence.


sarit-tīra-gataṁ kṛṣṇaṁ
bhagnārjunam athāhvayat
rāmaṁ ca rohiṇī devī
krīḍantaṁ bālakair bhṛśam

sarit-tīra—to the riverside; gatam—who had gone; kṛṣṇam—unto Kṛṣṇa; bhagna-arjunam—after the pastime of breaking the yamala-arjuna trees; atha—then; āhvayat—called; rāmam ca—as well as Balarāma; rohiṇī—the mother of Balarāma; devī—the goddess of fortune; krīḍantam—who were engaged in playing; bālakaiḥ—with many other boys; bhṛśam—with deep attention.


Once, after the uprooting of the yamala-arjuna trees, Rohiṇīdevī went to call Rāma and Kṛṣṇa, who had both gone to the riverside and were playing with the other boys with deep attention.


Mother Yaśodā was more attached to Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma than Rohiṇīdevī was, although Rohiṇīdevī was the mother of Balarāma. Mother Yaśodā sent Rohiṇīdevī to call Rāma and Kṛṣṇa from Their play, since it was the right time for lunch. Therefore Rohiṇīdevī went to call Them, breaking Their engagement in play.


nopeyātāṁ yadāhūtau
krīḍā-saṅgena putrakau
yaśodāṁ preṣayām āsa
rohiṇī putra-vatsalām

na upeyātām—would not return home; yadā—when; āhūtau—They were called back from playing; krīḍā-saṅgena—because of so much attachment to playing with other boys; putrakau—the two sons (Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma); yaśodām preṣayām āsa—sent mother Yaśodā to call Them; rohiṇī—mother Rohiṇī; putra-vatsalām—because mother Yaśodā was a more affectionate mother to Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma.


Because of being too attached to playing with the other boys, Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma did not return upon being called by Rohiṇī. Therefore Rohiṇī sent mother Yaśodā to call Them back, because mother Yaśodā was more affectionate to Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma.


Yaśodāṁ preṣayām āsa. These very words show that since Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma did not care to return in response to the order of Rohiṇī, Rohiṇī thought that if Yaśodā called They would have to return, for Yaśodā was more affectionate to Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma.


krīḍantaṁ sā sutaṁ bālair
ativelaṁ sahāgrajam
yaśodājohavīt kṛṣṇaṁ

krīḍantam—engaged in playing; sā—mother Yaśodā; sutam—her son; bālaiḥ—with the other boys; ati-velam—although it was too late; saha-agrajam—who was playing with His elder brother, Balarāma; yaśodā—mother Yaśodā; ajohavīt—called (“Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, come here!”); kṛṣṇam—unto Kṛṣṇa; putra-sneha-snuta-stanī—while she was calling Them, milk flowed from her breast because of her ecstatic love and affection.

Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, being attached to Their play, were playing with the other boys although it was very late. Therefore mother Yaśodā called Them back for lunch. Because of her ecstatic love and affection for Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, milk flowed from her breasts.


The word ajohavīt means “calling them again and again.” “Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma,” she called, “please come back. You are late for Your lunch. You have played sufficiently. Come back.”


kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇāravindākṣa
tāta ehi stanaṁ piba
alaṁ vihāraiḥ kṣut-kṣāntaḥ
krīḍā-śrānto ’si putraka

kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa aravinda-akṣa—O Kṛṣṇa, my son, lotus-eyed Kṛṣṇa; tāta—O darling; ehi—come here; stanam—the milk of my breast; piba—drink; alam vihāraiḥ—after this there is no necessity of playing; kṣut-kṣāntaḥ—tired because of hunger; krīḍā-śrāntaḥ—fatigued from playing; asi—You must be; putraka—O my son.


Mother Yaśodā said: My dear son Kṛṣṇa, lotus-eyed Kṛṣṇa, come here and drink the milk of my breast. My dear darling, You must be very tired because of hunger and the fatigue of playing so long. There is no need to play any more.


he rāmāgaccha tātāśu
sānujaḥ kula-nandana
prātar eva kṛtāhāras
tad bhavān bhoktum arhati

he rāma—my dear son Balarāma; āgaccha—please come here; tāta—my dear darling; āśu—immediately; sa-anujaḥ—with Your younger brother; kula-nandana—the great hope of our family; prātaḥ eva—certainly in the morning; kṛta-āhāraḥ—have taken Your breakfast; tat—therefore; bhavān—You; bhoktum—to eat something more; arhati—deserve.


My dear Baladeva, best of our family, please come immediately with Your younger brother, Kṛṣṇa. You both ate in the morning, and now You ought to eat something more.


pratīkṣate tvāṁ dāśārha
bhokṣyamāṇo vrajādhipaḥ
ehy āvayoḥ priyaṁ dhehi
sva-gṛhān yāta bālakāḥ

pratīkṣate—is waiting; tvām—for both of You (Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma); dāśārha—O Balarāma; bhokṣyamāṇaḥ—desiring to eat; vraja-adhipaḥ—the King of Vraja, Nanda Mahārāja; ehi—come here; āvayoḥ—our; priyam—pleasure; dhehi—just consider; sva-gṛhān—to their respective homes; yāta—let them go; bālakāḥ—the other boys.


Nanda Mahārāja, the King of Vraja, is now waiting to eat. O my dear son Balarāma, he is waiting for You. Therefore, come back to please us. All the boys playing with You and Kṛṣṇa should now go to their homes.


It appears that Nanda Mahārāja regularly took his food with his two sons, Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. Yaśodā told the other boys, “Now you should go to your homes.” Father and son generally sit together, so mother Yaśodā requested Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma to return, and she advised the other boys to go home so that their parents would not have to wait for them.


dhūli-dhūsaritāṅgas tvaṁ
putra majjanam āvaha
janmarkṣaṁ te ’dya bhavati
viprebhyo dehi gāḥ śuciḥ

dhūli-dhūsarita-aṅgaḥ tvam—You have become covered with dust and sand all over Your body; putra—my dear son; majjanam āvaha—now come here, take Your bath and cleanse Yourself; janma-ṛkṣam—the auspicious star of Your birth; te—of You; adya—today; bhavati—it is; viprebhyaḥ—unto the pure brāhmaṇas; dehi—give in charity; gāḥ—cows; śuciḥ—being purified.


Mother Yaśodā further told Kṛṣṇa: My dear son, because of playing all day, Your body has become covered with dust and sand. Therefore, come back, take Your bath and cleanse Yourself. Today the moon is conjoined with the auspicious star of Your birth. Therefore, be pure and give cows in charity to the brāhmaṇas.


It is a custom of Vedic culture that whenever there is any auspicious ceremony, one should give valuable cows in charity to the brāhmaṇas. Therefore mother Yaśodā requested Kṛṣṇa, “Instead of being enthusiastic in playing, now please come and be enthusiastic in charity.” Yajña-dāna-tapaḥ-karma na tyājyaṁ kāryam eva tat. As advised in Bhagavad-gītā (18.5), sacrifice, charity and austerity should never be given up. Yajño dānaṁ tapaś caiva pāvanāni manīṣiṇām: even if one is very much advanced in spiritual life, one should not give up these three duties. To observe one’s birthday ceremony, one should do something in terms of one of these three items (yajña, dāna or tapaḥ), or all of them together.


paśya paśya vayasyāṁs te
mātṛ-mṛṣṭān svalaṅkṛtān
tvaṁ ca snātaḥ kṛtāhāro
viharasva svalaṅkṛtaḥ

paśya paśya—just see, just see; vayasyān—boys of Your age; te—Your; mātṛ-mṛṣṭān—cleansed by their mothers; su-alaṅkṛtān—decorated with nice ornaments; tvam ca—You also; snātaḥ—after taking a bath; kṛta-āhāraḥ—and eating Your lunch; viharasva—enjoy with them; su-alaṅkṛtaḥ—fully decorated like them.


Just see how all Your playmates of Your own age have been cleansed and decorated with beautiful ornaments by their mothers. You should come here, and after You have taken Your bath, eaten Your lunch and been decorated with ornaments, You may play with Your friends again.


Generally young boys are competitive. If one friend has done something, another friend also wants to do something. Therefore mother Yaśodā pointed out how Kṛṣṇa’s playmates were decorated, so that Kṛṣṇa might be induced to decorate Himself like them.


itthaṁ yaśodā tam aśeṣa-śekharaṁ
matvā sutaṁ sneha-nibaddha-dhīr nṛpa
haste gṛhītvā saha-rāmam acyutaṁ
nītvā sva-vāṭaṁ kṛtavaty athodayam

ittham—in this way; yaśodā—mother Yaśodā; tam aśeṣa-śekharam—unto Kṛṣṇa, who was on the peak of everything auspicious, with no question of dirtiness or uncleanliness; matvā—considering; sutam—as her son; sneha-nibaddha-dhīḥ—because of an intense spirit of love; nṛpa—O King (Mahārāja Parīkṣit); haste—in the hand; gṛhītvā—taking; saha-rāmam—with Balarāma; acyutam—Kṛṣṇa, the infallible; nītvā—bringing; sva-vāṭam—at home; kṛtavatī—performed; atha—now; udayam—brilliancy by bathing Him, dressing Him and decorating Him with ornaments.


My dear Mahārāja Parīkṣit, because of intense love and affection, mother Yaśodā, Kṛṣṇa’s mother, considered Kṛṣṇa, who was at the peak of all opulences, to be her own son. Thus she took Kṛṣṇa by the hand, along with Balarāma, and brought Them home, where she performed her duties by fully bathing Them, dressing Them and feeding Them.


Kṛṣṇa is always neat, clean and opulent and does not need to be washed, bathed or dressed, yet mother Yaśodā, because of affection, considered Him her ordinary child and did her duties to keep her son brilliant.


śrī-śuka uvāca

gopa-vṛddhā mahotpātān
anubhūya bṛhadvane
nandādayaḥ samāgamya
vraja-kāryam amantrayan

śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; gopa-vṛddhāḥ—the elderly persons among the cowherd men; mahā-utpātān—very great disturbances; anubhūya—after experiencing; bṛhadvane—in the place known as Bṛhadvana; nanda-ādayaḥ—the cowherd men, headed by Nanda Mahārāja; samāgamya—assembled, came together; vraja-kāryam—the business of Vrajabhūmi; amantrayan—deliberated on how to stop the continuous disturbances in Mahāvana.


Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: Then one time, having seen the great disturbances in Bṛhadvana, all the elderly persons among the cowherd men, headed by Nanda Mahārāja, assembled and began to consider what to do to stop the continuous disturbing situations in Vraja.


gopo jñāna-vayo-’dhikaḥ
priya-kṛd rāma-kṛṣṇayoḥ

tatra—in the assembly; upānanda-nāmā—by the name Upānanda (the elder brother of Nanda Mahārāja); āha—said; gopaḥ—the cowherd man; jñāna-vayaḥ-adhikaḥ—who by knowledge and by age was the eldest of all; deśa-kāla-artha-tattva-jñaḥ—very experienced according to time, place and circumstances; priya-kṛt—just for the benefit; rāma-kṛṣṇayoḥ—of Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personalities of Godhead.


At this meeting of all the inhabitants of Gokula, a cowherd man named Upānanda, who was the most mature in age and knowledge and was very experienced according to time, circumstances and country, made this suggestion for the benefit of Rāma and Kṛṣṇa.


utthātavyam ito ’smābhir
gokulasya hitaiṣibhiḥ
āyānty atra mahotpātā
bālānāṁ nāśa-hetavaḥ

utthātavyam—now this place should be left; itaḥ—from here, from Gokula; asmābhiḥ—by all of us; gokulasya—of this place, Gokula; hita-eṣibhiḥ—by persons who desire good for this place; āyānti—are happening; atra—here; mahā-utpātāḥ—many great disturbances; bālānām—for the boys like Rāma and Kṛṣṇa; nāśa-hetavaḥ—having the definite purpose of killing Them.


He said: My dear friends the cowherd men, in order to do good to this place, Gokula, we should leave it, because so many disturbances are always occurring here, just for the purpose of killing Rāma and Kṛṣṇa.


muktaḥ kathañcid rākṣasyā
bāla-ghnyā bālako hy asau
harer anugrahān nūnam
anaś copari nāpatat

muktaḥ—was delivered; kathañcit—somehow or other; rākṣasyāḥ—from the hands of the Rākṣasī Pūtanā; bāla-ghnyāḥ—who was determined to kill small children; bālakaḥ—especially the child Kṛṣṇa; hi—because; asau—He; hareḥ anugrahāt—by the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; nūnam—indeed; anaḥ ca—and the handcart; upari—on top of the child; na—not; apatat—did fall down.


The child Kṛṣṇa, simply by the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, was somehow or other rescued from the hands of the Rākṣasī Pūtanā, who was determined to kill Him. Then, again by the mercy of the Supreme Godhead, the handcart missed falling upon the child.


cakra-vātena nīto ’yaṁ
daityena vipadaṁ viyat
śilāyāṁ patitas tatra
paritrātaḥ sureśvaraiḥ

cakra-vātena—by the demon in the shape of a whirlwind (Tṛṇāvarta); nītaḥ ayam—Kṛṣṇa was taken away; daityena—by the demon; vipadam—dangerous; viyat—to the sky; śilāyām—on a slab of stone; patitaḥ—fallen; tatra—there; paritrātaḥ—was saved; sura-īśvaraiḥ—by the mercy of Lord Viṣṇu or His associates.


Then again, the demon Tṛṇāvarta, in the form of a whirlwind, took the child away into the dangerous sky to kill Him, but the demon fell down onto a slab of stone. In that case also, by the mercy of Lord Viṣṇu or His associates, the child was saved.


yan na mriyeta drumayor
antaraṁ prāpya bālakaḥ
asāv anyatamo vāpi
tad apy acyuta-rakṣaṇam

yat—then again; na mriyeta—did not die; drumayoḥ antaram—between the two trees; prāpya—although He was between; bālakaḥ asau—that child, Kṛṣṇa; anyatamaḥ—another child; vā api—or; tat api acyuta-rakṣaṇam—in that case also, He was saved by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.


Even the other day, neither Kṛṣṇa nor any of His playmates died from the falling of the two trees, although the children were near the trees or even between them. This also is to be considered the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.


yāvad autpātiko ’riṣṭo
vrajaṁ nābhibhaved itaḥ
tāvad bālān upādāya
yāsyāmo ’nyatra sānugāḥ

yāvat—so long; autpātikaḥ—disturbing; ariṣṭaḥ—the demon; vrajam—this Gokula Vrajabhūmi; na—not; abhibhavet itaḥ—go away from this place; tāvat—so long; bālān upādāya—for the benefit of the boys; yāsyāmaḥ—we shall go; anyatra—somewhere else; sa-anugāḥ—with our followers.


All these incidents are being caused by some unknown demon. Before he comes here to create another disturbance, it is our duty to go somewhere else with the boys until there are no more disturbances.


Upānanda suggested, “By the mercy of Lord Viṣṇu, Kṛṣṇa has always been saved from so many dangerous incidents. Now let us leave this place and go someplace where we may worship Lord Viṣṇu undisturbed, before there is another cause of death from some demon who may attack us.” A devotee desires only that he may execute devotional service undisturbed. Actually we see, however, that even during the presence of Kṛṣṇa, when Nanda Mahārāja and the other cowherd men had the Supreme Personality of Godhead in their presence, there were disturbances. Of course, in every case, Kṛṣṇa came out victorious. The instruction we may derive from this is that we should not be disturbed by so-called disturbances. There have been so many disturbances to our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, but we cannot give up our forward march. On the contrary, people are receiving this movement very enthusiastically all over the world, and they are purchasing literature about Kṛṣṇa consciousness with redoubled energy. Thus there are both encouragements and disturbances. This was so even in Kṛṣṇa’s time.


vanaṁ vṛndāvanaṁ nāma
paśavyaṁ nava-kānanam
gopa-gopī-gavāṁ sevyaṁ

vanam—another forest; vṛndāvanam nāma—named Vṛndāvana; paśavyam—a very suitable place for maintenance of the cows and other animals; nava-kānanam—there are many new gardenlike places; gopa-gopī-gavām—for all the cowherd men, the members of their families, and the cows; sevyam—a very happy, very suitable place; puṇya-adri—there are nice mountains; tṛṇa—plants; vīrudham—and creepers.


Between Nandeśvara and Mahāvana is a place named Vṛndāvana. This place is very suitable because it is lush with grass, plants and creepers for the cows and other animals. It has nice gardens and tall mountains and is full of facilities for the happiness of all the gopas and gopīs and our animals.


Vṛndāvana is situated between Nandeśvara and Mahāvana. Formerly the cowherd men had shifted to Mahāvana, but still there were disturbances. Therefore the cowherd men selected Vṛndāvana, which was between the two villages, and decided to go there.


tat tatrādyaiva yāsyāmaḥ
śakaṭān yuṅkta mā ciram
godhanāny agrato yāntu
bhavatāṁ yadi rocate

tat—therefore; tatra—there; adya eva—just today; yāsyāmaḥ—let us go; śakaṭān—all the carts; yuṅkta—make ready; mā ciram—without delay; go-dhanāni—all the cows; agrataḥ—in front; yāntu—let them go; bhavatām—of all of you; yadi—if; rocate—it is pleasing to accept it.

Therefore, let us immediately go today. There is no need to wait any further. If you agree to my proposal, let us prepare all the bullock carts and put the cows in front of us, and let us go there.


tac chrutvaika-dhiyo gopāḥ
sādhu sādhv iti vādinaḥ
vrajān svān svān samāyujya
yayū rūḍha-paricchadāḥ

tat śrutvā—hearing this advice of Upānanda’s; eka-dhiyaḥ—voting unanimously; gopāḥ—all the cowherd men; sādhu sādhu—very nice, very nice; iti—thus; vādinaḥ—speaking, declaring; vrajān—cows; svān svān—own respective; samāyujya—assembling; yayuḥ—started; rūḍha-paricchadāḥ—all the dresses and paraphernalia having been kept on the carts.


Upon hearing this advice from Upānanda, the cowherd men unanimously agreed. “Very nice,” they said. “Very nice.” Thus they sorted out their household affairs, placed their clothing and other paraphernalia on the carts, and immediately started for Vṛndāvana.

TEXTS 31–32

vṛddhān bālān striyo rājan
sarvopakaraṇāni ca
anaḥsv āropya gopālā
yattā ātta-śarāsanāḥ

godhanāni puraskṛtya
śṛṅgāṇy āpūrya sarvataḥ
tūrya-ghoṣeṇa mahatā
yayuḥ saha-purohitāḥ

vṛddhān—first all the old men; bālān—children; striyaḥ—women; rājan—O King Parīkṣit; sarva-upakaraṇāni ca—then all sorts of necessities and whatever belongings they had; anaḥsu—on the bullock carts; āropya—keeping; gopālāḥ—all the cowherd men; yattāḥ—with great care; ātta-śara-asanāḥ—fully equipped with arrows and bows; go-dhanāni—all the cows; puraskṛtya—keeping in front; śṛṅgāṇi—bugles or horns; āpūrya—vibrating; sarvataḥ—all around; tūrya-ghoṣeṇa—with the resounding of the bugles; mahatā—loud; yayuḥ—started; saha-purohitāḥ—with the priests.

Keeping all the old men, women, children and household paraphernalia on the bullock carts and keeping all the cows in front, the cowherd men picked up their bows and arrows with great care and sounded bugles made of horn. O King Parīkṣit, in this way, with bugles vibrating all around, the cowherd men, accompanied by their priests, began their journey.


In this connection it is to be noted that although the inhabitants of Gokula were mostly cowherd men and cultivators, they knew how to defend themselves from danger and how to give protection to the women, the old men, the cows and the children, as well as to the brahminical purohitas.

gopyo rūḍha-rathā nūtna-
kṛṣṇa-līlā jaguḥ prītyā
niṣka-kaṇṭhyaḥ suvāsasaḥ

gopyaḥ—all the cowherd women; rūḍha-rathāḥ—while riding on the bullock carts; nūtna-kuca-kuṅkuma-kāntayaḥ—their bodies, especially their breasts, were decorated with fresh kuṅkuma; kṛṣṇa-līlāḥ—the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa; jaguḥ—they chanted; prītyā—with great pleasure; niṣka-kaṇṭhyaḥ—decorated with lockets on their necks; su-vāsasaḥ—very well dressed.


The cowherd women, riding on the bullock carts, were dressed very nicely with excellent garments, and their bodies, especially their breasts, were decorated with fresh kuṅkuma powder. As they rode, they began to chant with great pleasure the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa.


tathā yaśodā-rohiṇyāv
ekaṁ śakaṭam āsthite
rejatuḥ kṛṣṇa-rāmābhyāṁ

tathā—as well as; yaśodā-rohiṇyau—both mother Yaśodā and mother Rohiṇī; ekam śakaṭam—on one bullock cart; āsthite—seated; rejatuḥ—very beautiful; kṛṣṇa-rāmābhyām—Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, along with Their mothers; tat-kathā—of the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma; śravaṇa-utsuke—being situated in hearing with great transcendental pleasure.


Thus hearing about the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma with great pleasure, mother Yaśodā and Rohiṇīdevī, so as not to be separated from Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma for even a moment, got up with Them on one bullock cart. In this situation, they all looked very beautiful.


It appears that mother Yaśodā and Rohiṇī could not be separated from Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma even for a moment. They used to pass their time either by taking care of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma or by chanting about Their pastimes. Thus mother Yaśodā and Rohiṇī looked very beautiful.


vṛndāvanaṁ sampraviśya
tatra cakrur vrajāvāsaṁ
śakaṭair ardha-candravat

vṛndāvanam—the sacred place by the name Vṛndāvana; sampraviśya—after entering; sarva-kāla-sukha-āvaham—where in all seasons it is pleasing to live; tatra—there; cakruḥ—they made; vraja-āvāsam—inhabitation of Vraja; śakaṭaiḥ—by the bullock carts; ardha-candravat—making a semicircle like a half moon.


In this way they entered Vṛndāvana, where it is always pleasing to live in all seasons. They made a temporary place to inhabit by placing their bullock carts around them in the shape of a half moon.


As stated in the Viṣṇu Purāṇa:

And as stated in the Hari-vaṁśa:
kaṇṭakībhiḥ pravṛddhābhis
tathā kaṇṭakībhir drumaiḥ
abhiguptaṁ samantataḥ

There was no need to make fences all around. One side was already defended by thorn trees, and thus the thorn trees, the bullock carts and the animals encircled the inhabitants in their temporary residence.


vṛndāvanaṁ govardhanaṁ
yamunā-pulināni ca
vīkṣyāsīd uttamā prītī
rāma-mādhavayor nṛpa

vṛndāvanam—the place known as Vṛndāvana; govardhanam—along with Govardhana Hill; yamunā-pulināni ca—and the banks of the River Yamunā; vīkṣya—seeing this situation; āsīt—remained or was enjoyed; uttamā prītī—first-class pleasure; rāma-mādhavayoḥ—of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma; nṛpa—O King Parīkṣit.


O King Parīkṣit, when Rāma and Kṛṣṇa saw Vṛndāvana, Govardhana and the banks of the River Yamunā, They both enjoyed great pleasure.


evaṁ vrajaukasāṁ prītiṁ
yacchantau bāla-ceṣṭitaiḥ
kala-vākyaiḥ sva-kālena
vatsa-pālau babhūvatuḥ

evam—in this way; vraja-okasām—to all the inhabitants of Vraja; prītim—pleasure; yacchantau—giving; bāla-ceṣṭitaiḥ—by the activities and pastimes of childhood; kala-vākyaiḥ—and by very sweet broken language; sva-kālena—in due course of time; vatsa-pālau—to take care of the calves; babhūvatuḥ—were grown up.


In this way, Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, acting like small boys and talking in half-broken language, gave transcendental pleasure to all the inhabitants of Vraja. In due course of time, They became old enough to take care of the calves.


As soon as Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma were a little grown up, They were meant for taking care of the calves. Although born of a very well-to-do family, They still had to take care of the calves. This was the system of education. Those who were not born in brāhmaṇa families were not meant for academic education. The brāhmaṇas were trained in a literary, academic education, the kṣatriyas were trained to take care of the state, and the vaiśyas learned how to cultivate the land and take care of the cows and calves. There was no need to waste time going to school to be falsely educated and later increase the numbers of the unemployed. Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma taught us by Their personal behavior. Kṛṣṇa took care of the cows and played His flute, and Balarāma took care of agricultural activities with a plow in His hand.


avidūre vraja-bhuvaḥ
saha gopāla-dārakaiḥ
cārayām āsatur vatsān

avidūre—not very far from the residential quarters of the Vrajavāsīs; vraja-bhuvaḥ—from the land known as Vraja; saha gopāla-dārakaiḥ—with other boys of the same profession (cowherd boys); cārayām āsatuḥ—tended; vatsān—the small calves; nānā—various; krīḍā—sporting; paricchadau—dressed very nicely in different ways and equipped with implements.


Not far away from Their residential quarters, both Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, equipped with all kinds of playthings, played with other cowherd boys and began to tend the small calves.

TEXTS 39–40

kvacid vādayato veṇuṁ
kṣepaṇaiḥ kṣipataḥ kvacit
kvacit pādaiḥ kiṅkiṇībhiḥ
kvacit kṛtrima-go-vṛṣaiḥ

vṛṣāyamāṇau nardantau
yuyudhāte parasparam
anukṛtya rutair jantūṁś
ceratuḥ prākṛtau yathā

kvacit—sometimes; vādayataḥ—blowing; veṇum—on the flute; kṣepaṇaiḥ—with a device of rope for throwing; kṣipataḥ—throwing stones to get fruit; kvacit—sometimes; kvacit pādaiḥ—sometimes with the legs; kiṅkiṇībhiḥ—with the sound of ankle bells; kvacit—sometimes; kṛtrima-go-vṛṣaiḥ—by becoming artificial cows and bulls; vṛṣāyamāṇau—imitating the animals; nardantau—roaring loudly; yuyudhāte—They both used to fight; parasparam—with one another; anukṛtya—imitating; rutaiḥ—by resounding; jantūn—all the animals; ceratuḥ—They used to wander; prākṛtau—two ordinary human children; yathā—like.


Sometimes Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma would play on Their flutes, sometimes They would throw ropes and stones devised for getting fruits from the trees, sometimes They would throw only stones, and sometimes, Their ankle bells tinkling, They would play football with fruits like bael and āmalakī. Sometimes They would cover Themselves with blankets and imitate cows and bulls and fight with one another, roaring loudly, and sometimes They would imitate the voices of the animals. In this way They enjoyed sporting, exactly like two ordinary human children.


Vṛndāvana is full of peacocks. Kūjat-kokila-haṁsa-sārasa-gaṇākīrṇe mayūrākule. The Vṛndāvana forest is always full of cuckoos, ducks, swans, peacocks, cranes and also monkeys, bulls and cows. So Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma used to imitate the sounds of these animals and enjoy sporting.

kadācid yamunā-tīre
vatsāṁś cārayatoḥ svakaiḥ
vayasyaiḥ kṛṣṇa-balayor
jighāṁsur daitya āgamat

kadācit—sometimes; yamunā-tīre—on the bank of the Yamunā; vatsān—the calves; cārayatoḥ—when They were tending; svakaiḥ—Their own; vayasyaiḥ—with other playmates; kṛṣṇa-balayoḥ—both Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma; jighāṁsuḥ—desiring to kill Them; daityaḥ—another demon; āgamat—reached there.


One day while Rāma and Kṛṣṇa, along with Their playmates, were tending the calves on the bank of the River Yamunā, another demon arrived there, desiring to kill Them.


taṁ vatsa-rūpiṇaṁ vīkṣya
vatsa-yūtha-gataṁ hariḥ
darśayan baladevāya
śanair mugdha ivāsadat

tam—unto the demon; vatsa-rūpiṇam—assuming the form of a calf; vīkṣya—seeing; vatsa-yūtha-gatam—when the demon entered the group of all the other calves; hariḥ—the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa; darśayan—indicating; baladevāya—unto Baladeva; śanaiḥ—very slowly; mugdhaḥ iva—as if He did not understand anything; āsadat—came near the demon.


When the Supreme Personality of Godhead saw that the demon had assumed the form of a calf and entered among the groups of other calves, He pointed out to Baladeva, “Here is another demon.” Then He very slowly approached the demon, as if He did not understand the demon’s intentions.


The import of the words mugdha iva is that although Kṛṣṇa knows everything, here He pretended that He did not understand why the demon had entered among the calves, and He informed Baladeva by a sign.


saha-lāṅgūlam acyutaḥ
bhrāmayitvā kapitthāgre
prāhiṇod gata-jīvitam
sa kapitthair mahā-kāyaḥ
pātyamānaiḥ papāta ha

gṛhītvā—capturing; apara-pādābhyām—with the hind legs; saha—along with; lāṅgūlam—the tail; acyutaḥ—Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; bhrāmayitvā—twirling around very severely; kapittha-agre—on the top of a kapittha tree; prāhiṇot—threw him; gata-jīvitam—lifeless body; saḥ—that demon; kapitthaiḥ—with the kapittha trees; mahā-kāyaḥ—assumed a great body; pātyamānaiḥ—and while the tree fell down; papāta ha—he fell dead on the ground.


Thereafter, Śrī Kṛṣṇa caught the demon by the hind legs and tail, twirled the demon’s whole body very strongly until the demon was dead, and threw him into the top of a kapittha tree, which then fell down, along with the body of the demon, who had assumed a great form.


Kṛṣṇa killed the demon in such a way as to get the kapittha fruits to fall so that He and Balarāma and the other boys could take advantage of the opportunity to eat them. The kapittha is sometimes called kṣatbelphala. The pulp of this fruit is very palatable. It is sweet and sour, and everyone likes it.


taṁ vīkṣya vismitā bālāḥ
śaśaṁsuḥ sādhu sādhv iti
devāś ca parisantuṣṭā
babhūvuḥ puṣpa-varṣiṇaḥ

tam—this incident; vīkṣya—observing; vismitāḥ—very much astonished; bālāḥ—all the other boys; śaśaṁsuḥ—praised highly; sādhu sādhu iti—exclaiming, “Very good, very good”; devāḥ ca—and all the demigods from the heavenly planets; parisantuṣṭāḥ—being very much satisfied; babhūvuḥ—became; puṣpa-varṣiṇaḥ—showered flowers on Kṛṣṇa.


Upon seeing the dead body of the demon, all the cowherd boys exclaimed, “Well done, Kṛṣṇa! Very good, very good! Thank You.” In the upper planetary system, all the demigods were pleased, and therefore they showered flowers on the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

tau vatsa-pālakau bhūtvā
saprātar-āśau go-vatsāṁś
cārayantau viceratuḥ

tau—Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma; vatsa-pālakau—as if taking care of the calves; bhūtvā—so becoming; sarva-loka-eka-pālakau—although They are the maintainers of all living beings throughout the whole universe; sa-prātaḥ-āśau—finishing breakfast in the morning; go-vatsān—all the calves; cārayantau—tending; viceratuḥ—wandered here and there.


After the killing of the demon, Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma finished Their breakfast in the morning, and while continuing to take care of the calves, They wandered here and there. Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, the Supreme Personalities of Godhead, who maintain the entire creation, now took charge of the calves as if cowherd boys.


Paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṁ vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām [Bg. 4.8]. Kṛṣṇa’s daily business here in this material world was to kill the duṣkṛtīs. This did not hamper His daily affairs, for it was routine work. While He tended the calves on the bank of the River Yamunā, two or three incidents took place every day, and although these were serious, killing the demons one after another appeared to be His daily routine work.


svaṁ svaṁ vatsa-kulaṁ sarve
pāyayiṣyanta ekadā
gatvā jalāśayābhyāśaṁ
pāyayitvā papur jalam

svam svam—own respective; vatsa-kulam—the group of calves; sarve—all the boys and Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma; pāyayiṣyantaḥ—desiring to have them drink water; ekadā—one day; gatvā—going; jala-āśaya-abhyāśam—near the water tank; pāyayitvā—after allowing the animals to drink water; papuḥ jalam—they also drank water.


One day all the boys, including Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, each boy taking his own group of calves, brought the calves to a reservoir of water, desiring to allow them to drink. After the animals drank water, the boys drank water there also.


te tatra dadṛśur bālā
mahā-sattvam avasthitam
tatrasur vajra-nirbhinnaṁ
gireḥ śṛṅgam iva cyutam

te—they; tatra—there; dadṛśuḥ—observed; bālāḥ—all the boys; mahā-sattvam—a gigantic body; avasthitam—situated; tatrasuḥ—became afraid; vajra-nirbhinnam—broken by a thunderbolt; gireḥ śṛṅgam—the peak of a mountain; iva—like; cyutam—fallen there.


Right by the reservoir, the boys saw a gigantic body resembling a mountain peak broken and struck down by a thunderbolt. They were afraid even to see such a huge living being.


sa vai bako nāma mahān
asuro baka-rūpa-dhṛk
āgatya sahasā kṛṣṇaṁ
tīkṣṇa-tuṇḍo ’grasad balī

saḥ—that creature; vai—indeed; bakaḥ nāma—by the name Bakāsura; mahān asuraḥ—a great, gigantic demon; baka-rūpa-dhṛk—assumed the bodily shape of a big duck; āgatya—coming there; sahasā—all of a sudden; kṛṣṇam—Kṛṣṇa; tīkṣṇa-tuṇḍaḥ—sharp beak; agrasat—swallowed; balī—very powerful.


That great-bodied demon was named Bakāsura. He had assumed the body of a duck with a very sharp beak. Having come there, he immediately swallowed Kṛṣṇa.


kṛṣṇaṁ mahā-baka-grastaṁ
dṛṣṭvā rāmādayo ’rbhakāḥ
babhūvur indriyāṇīva
vinā prāṇaṁ vicetasaḥ

kṛṣṇam—unto Kṛṣṇa; mahā-baka-grastam—swallowed by the great duck; dṛṣṭvā—seeing this incident; rāma-ādayaḥ arbhakāḥ—all the other boys, headed by Balarāma; babhūvuḥ—became overwhelmed; indriyāṇi—senses; iva—like; vinā—without; prāṇam—life; vicetasaḥ—very much bewildered, almost unconscious.

When Balarāma and the other boys saw that Kṛṣṇa had been devoured by the gigantic duck, they became almost unconscious, like senses without life.


Although Balarāma can do everything, because of intense affection for His brother He was momentarily bewildered. A similar thing is stated to have happened in connection with rukmiṇī-haraṇa, the kidnapping of Rukmiṇī. When Kṛṣṇa, after kidnapping Rukmiṇī, was attacked by all the kings, Rukmiṇī was momentarily bewildered, until the Lord took the proper steps.


taṁ tālu-mūlaṁ pradahantam agnivad
gopāla-sūnuṁ pitaraṁ jagad-guroḥ
caccharda sadyo ’tiruṣākṣataṁ bakas
tuṇḍena hantuṁ punar abhyapadyata

tam—Kṛṣṇa; tālu-mūlam—the root of the throat; pradahantam—burning; agni-vat—like fire; gopāla-sūnum—Kṛṣṇa, the son of a cowherd man; pitaram—the father; jagat-guroḥ—of Lord Brahmā; caccharda—got out of his mouth; sadyaḥ—immediately; ati-ruṣā—with great anger; akṣatam—without being hurt; bakaḥ—Bakāsura; tuṇḍena—with his sharp beak; hantum—to kill; punaḥ—again; abhyapadyata—endeavored.


Kṛṣṇa, who was the father of Lord Brahmā but who was acting as the son of a cowherd man, became like fire, burning the root of the demon’s throat, and the demon Bakāsura immediately disgorged Him. When the demon saw that Kṛṣṇa, although having been swallowed, was unharmed, he immediately attacked Kṛṣṇa again with his sharp beak.


Although Kṛṣṇa is always as soft as a lotus, within the throat of Bakāsura He created a burning sensation of being hotter than fire. Although Kṛṣṇa’s whole body is sweeter than sugar candy, Bakāsura tasted bitterness and therefore immediately vomited Kṛṣṇa up. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (4.11), ye yathā māṁ prapadyante tāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy aham. When Kṛṣṇa is accepted as an enemy, He becomes the most intolerable object for the nondevotee, who cannot tolerate Kṛṣṇa within or without. Here this is shown by the example of Bakāsura.

tam āpatantaṁ sa nigṛhya tuṇḍayor
dorbhyāṁ bakaṁ kaṁsa-sakhaṁ satāṁ patiḥ
paśyatsu bāleṣu dadāra līlayā
mudāvaho vīraṇavad divaukasām

tam—unto Bakāsura; āpatantam—again endeavoring to attack Him; saḥ—Lord Kṛṣṇa; nigṛhya—capturing; tuṇḍayoḥ—by the beak; dorbhyām—with His arms; bakam—Bakāsura; kaṁsa-sakham—who was the friend and associate of Kaṁsa; satām patiḥ—Lord Kṛṣṇa, the master of the Vaiṣṇavas; paśyatsu—while observing; bāleṣu—all the cowherd boys; dadāra—bifurcated; līlayā—very easily; mudā-āvahaḥ—this action was very much pleasing; vīraṇa-vat—like the grass called vīraṇa (as it is bifurcated); divaukasām—to all the denizens of heaven.


When Kṛṣṇa, the leader of the Vaiṣṇavas, saw that the demon Bakāsura, the friend of Kaṁsa, was endeavoring to attack Him, with His arms He captured the demon by the two halves of the beak, and in the presence of all the cowherd boys Kṛṣṇa very easily bifurcated Him, as a child splits a blade of vīraṇa grass. By thus killing the demon, Kṛṣṇa very much pleased the denizens of heaven.


tadā bakāriṁ sura-loka-vāsinaḥ
samākiran nandana-mallikādibhiḥ
samīḍire cānaka-śaṅkha-saṁstavais
tad vīkṣya gopāla-sutā visismire

tadā—at that time; baka-arim—unto the enemy of Bakāsura; sura-loka-vāsinaḥ—the celestial denizens of the higher planets; samākiran—showered flowers; nandana-mallikā-ādibhiḥ—with such flowers as mallikā, which are grown in Nandana-kānana; samīḍire—also congratulated Him; ca—and; ānaka-śaṅkha-saṁstavaiḥ—by celestial kettledrums and conchshells, accompanied with prayers; tat vīkṣya—by seeing this; gopāla-sutāḥ—the cowherd boys; visismire—were struck with wonder.


At that time, the celestial denizens of the higher planetary system showered mallikā-puṣpa, flowers grown in Nandana-kānana, upon Kṛṣṇa, the enemy of Bakāsura. They also congratulated Him by sounding celestial kettledrums and conchshells and by offering prayers. Seeing this, the cowherd boys were struck with wonder.


muktaṁ bakāsyād upalabhya bālakā
rāmādayaḥ prāṇam ivendriyo gaṇaḥ
sthānāgataṁ taṁ parirabhya nirvṛtāḥ
praṇīya vatsān vrajam etya taj jaguḥ

muktam—thus released; baka-āsyāt—from the mouth of Bakāsura; upalabhya—getting back; bālakāḥ—all the boys, the playmates; rāma-ādayaḥ—headed by Balarāma; prāṇam—life; iva—like; indriyaḥ—senses; gaṇaḥ—all of them; sthāna-āgatam—going to their own place; tam—unto Kṛṣṇa; parirabhya—embracing; nirvṛtāḥ—being freed from the danger; praṇīya—after collecting; vatsān—all the calves; vrajam etya—returning to Vrajabhūmi; tat jaguḥ—loudly declared the incident.


Just as the senses are pacified when consciousness and life return, so when Kṛṣṇa was freed from this danger, all the boys, including Balarāma, thought that their life had been restored. They embraced Kṛṣṇa in good consciousness, and then they collected their own calves and returned to Vrajabhūmi, where they declared the incident loudly.


It was the practice of the inhabitants of Vrajabhūmi to compose poetry about the incidents that occurred in the forest when Kṛṣṇa performed His different activities of killing the asuras. They would compose all the stories in poetry or have this done by professional poets, and then they would sing about these incidents. Thus it is written here that the boys sang very loudly.


śrutvā tad vismitā gopā
gopyaś cātipriyādṛtāḥ
pretyāgatam ivotsukyād
aikṣanta tṛṣitekṣaṇāḥ

śrutvā—after hearing; tat—these incidents; vismitāḥ—being struck with wonder; gopāḥ—the cowherd men; gopyaḥ ca—and their respective wives; ati-priya-ādṛtāḥ—received the news with great transcendental pleasure; pretya āgatam iva—thought that it was as if the boys had returned from death; utsukyāt—with great eagerness; aikṣanta—began to look upon the boys; tṛṣita-īkṣaṇāḥ—with full satisfaction, they did not want to turn their eyes from Kṛṣṇa and the boys.


When the cowherd men and women heard about the killing of Bakāsura in the forest, they were very much astonished. Upon seeing Kṛṣṇa and hearing the story, they received Kṛṣṇa very eagerly, thinking that Kṛṣṇa and the other boys had returned from the mouth of death. Thus they looked upon Kṛṣṇa and the boys with silent eyes, not wanting to turn their eyes aside now that the boys were safe.


Because of intense love for Kṛṣṇa, the cowherd men and women simply remained silent, thinking of how Kṛṣṇa and the boys had been saved. The cowherd men and women looked upon Kṛṣṇa and the boys and did not desire to turn their eyes aside.


aho batāsya bālasya
bahavo mṛtyavo ’bhavan
apy āsīd vipriyaṁ teṣāṁ
kṛtaṁ pūrvaṁ yato bhayam

aho bata—it is very astonishing; asya—of this; bālasya—Kṛṣṇa; bahavaḥ—many, many; mṛtyavaḥ—causes of death; abhavan—appeared; api—still; āsīt—there was; vipriyam—the cause of death; teṣām—of them; kṛtam—done; pūrvam—formerly; yataḥ—from which; bhayam—there was fear of death.

The cowherd men, headed by Nanda Mahārāja, began to contemplate: It is very astonishing that although this boy Kṛṣṇa has many times faced many varied causes of death, by the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead it was these causes of fear that were killed, instead of Him.


The cowherd men innocently thought, “Because our Kṛṣṇa is innocent, the causes of death that appeared before Him were themselves killed instead of Kṛṣṇa. This is the greatest grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”


athāpy abhibhavanty enaṁ
naiva te ghora-darśanāḥ
jighāṁsayainam āsādya
naśyanty agnau pataṅgavat

atha api—although they come to attack; abhibhavanti—they are able to kill; enam—this boy; na—not; eva—certainly; te—all of them; ghora-darśanāḥ—very fierce looking; jighāṁsayā—because of envy; enam—unto Kṛṣṇa; āsādya—approaching; naśyanti—are vanquished (death occurs to the aggressor); agnau—in fire; pataṅga-vat—like flies.


Although the causes of death, the daityas, were very fierce, they could not kill this boy Kṛṣṇa. Rather, because they came to kill innocent boys, as soon as they approached they themselves were killed, exactly like flies attacking a fire.


Nanda Mahārāja innocently thought, “Perhaps this boy Kṛṣṇa formerly killed all these demons, and therefore in this life they are envious and are attacking Him. But Kṛṣṇa is a fire, and they are flies, and in a fight between fire and flies, the fire is always victorious.” Fighting is always taking place between the demons and the power of the Supreme Personality. Paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṁ vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām (Bg. 4.8). Anyone who is against the control of the Supreme Personality of Godhead must be killed, life after life. Ordinary living beings are subject to karma, but the Supreme Personality of Godhead is always victorious over the demons.


aho brahma-vidāṁ vāco
nāsatyāḥ santi karhicit
gargo yad āha bhagavān
anvabhāvi tathaiva tat

aho—how wonderful it is; brahma-vidām—of persons who have full knowledge of Brahman, transcendence; vācaḥ—the words; na—never; asatyāḥ—untruth; santi—become; karhicit—at any time; gargaḥ—Gargamuni; yat—whatever; āha—predicted; bhagavān—Gargamuni, the most powerful; anvabhāvi—is exactly happening; tathā eva—as; tat—that.


The words of persons in full knowledge of Brahman never become untrue. It is very wonderful that whatever Gargamuni predicted we are now actually experiencing in all detail.


The purpose of human life is indicated in the Brahma-sūtra: athāto brahma jijñāsā. To make one’s life perfect—in the past, present and future—one must learn about Brahman. Because of intense affection, Nanda Mahārāja could not understand Kṛṣṇa as He is. Gargamuni was able to know everything, past, present and future, by studying the Vedas, but Nanda Mahārāja could not understand Kṛṣṇa directly. Because of his intense love for Kṛṣṇa, he forgot who Kṛṣṇa was and could not understand Kṛṣṇa’s potency. Although Kṛṣṇa is Nārāyaṇa Himself, Gargamuni did not disclose this. Thus Nanda Mahārāja appreciated the words of Gargamuni, but because of his deep affection he could not understand who Kṛṣṇa was, although Gargamuni had said that Kṛṣṇa’s qualities would be exactly like those of Nārāyaṇa.


iti nandādayo gopāḥ
kṛṣṇa-rāma-kathāṁ mudā
kurvanto ramamāṇāś ca
nāvindan bhava-vedanām

iti—in this way; nanda-ādayaḥ—all the cowherd men, headed by Nanda Mahārāja; gopāḥ—cowherd men; kṛṣṇa-rāma-kathām—narration of incidents in connection with Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa and Rāma; mudā—in great transcendental pleasure; kurvantaḥ—doing that; ramamāṇāḥ ca—enjoyed life and increased their affection for Kṛṣṇa; na—not; avindan—perceived; bhava-vedanām—the tribulations of material existence.

In this way all the cowherd men, headed by Nanda Mahārāja, enjoyed topics about the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma with great transcendental pleasure, and they could not even perceive material tribulations.


Here is an instruction about the result of studying or discussing the kṛṣṇa-līlās that appear in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Sadyo hṛdy avarudhyate ’tra kṛtibhiḥ śuśrūṣubhis tat-kṣaṇāt (Bhāg. 1.1.2). Nanda Mahārāja and Yaśodā in Vṛndāvana appeared like ordinary persons of this material world, but they never felt the tribulations of this world, although they sometimes met many dangerous situations created by the demons. This is a practical example. If we follow in the footsteps of Nanda Mahārāja and the gopas, we can all be happy simply by discussing the activities of Kṛṣṇa.

anarthopaśamaṁ sākṣād
bhakti-yogam adhokṣaje
lokasyājānato vidvāṁś
cakre sātvata-saṁhitām
(Bhāg. 1.7.6)

Vyāsadeva has given this literature so that everyone may understand one’s transcendental position simply by discussing bhāgavata-kathā. Even at the present moment, everyone everywhere can be happy and free from material tribulations by following Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. There is no need of austerities and penances, which in this age are very difficult to perform. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has therefore declared, sarvātma-snapanaṁ paraṁ vijayate śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtanam. By our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, we are trying to distribute Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam so that anyone in any part of the world can be absorbed in the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement by chanting and hearing about the activities of Kṛṣṇa and be free from all material tribulations.


evaṁ vihāraiḥ kaumāraiḥ
kaumāraṁ jahatur vraje
nilāyanaiḥ setu-bandhair

evam—in this way; vihāraiḥ—by different pastimes; kaumāraiḥ—childish; kaumāram—the age of childhood; jahatuḥ—(Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma) passed; vraje—in Vrajabhūmi; nilāyanaiḥ—by playing hide-and-seek; setu-bandhaiḥ—by constructing an artificial bridge on the ocean; markaṭa—like the monkeys; utplavana-ādibhiḥ—by jumping here and there, etc.


In this way Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma passed Their childhood age in Vrajabhūmi by engaging in activities of childish play, such as playing hide-and-seek, constructing a make-believe bridge on the ocean, and jumping here and there like monkeys.

Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Tenth Canto, Eleventh Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “The Childhood Pastimes of Kṛṣṇa.”

Copyright © The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust

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