Gopastami

Krishna Balarama and Cows

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Today on the Vaisnava Calender marks the day known as Gopastami or Gosthastami. On this day lord Sri Krishna became a qualified cowherd and took the cows out to Govardhana to graze. Previously He was the keeper of the calves. It was on this day that He became a gopa, or cowherd boy.

In this way, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, along with His elder brother Balarāma, passed the childhood age known as kaumāra and stepped into the age of paugaṇḍa, from the sixth year up to the tenth. At that time, all the cowherd men conferred and agreed to give those boys who had passed their fifth year charge of the cows in the pasturing ground. Given charge of the cows, Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma traversed Vṛndāvana, purifying the land with Their footprints.

…When Kṛṣṇa, Balarāma and Their friends entered the village of Vṛndāvana, They played Their flutes, and the boys praised Their uncommon activities in the forest. Their faces were decorated with tilaka and smeared with the dust raised by the cows, and Kṛṣṇa’s head was decorated with a peacock feather. Both He and Balarāma played Their flutes, and the young gopīs were joyous to see Kṛṣṇa returning home. All the gopīs in Vṛndāvana remained very morose on account of Kṛṣṇa’s absence. All day they were thinking of Kṛṣṇa in the forest or of Him herding cows in the pasture. When they saw Kṛṣṇa returning, all their anxieties were immediately relieved, and they began to look at His face the way drones hover over the honey of the lotus flower. When Kṛṣṇa entered the village, the young gopīs smiled and laughed. Kṛṣṇa, while playing the flute, enjoyed the beautiful smiling faces of the gopīs. (from Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Chapter 15)

To honor this day we are posting some further childhood pastimes of Sri Krishna from the Kṛṣṇa Book entitled “The Killing of Dhenukāsura”

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