Krishna’s Childhood Pastimes

B.G. Sharma1

So…continuining our month long attempt to stay focused on the childhood pastimes of Krsna, during this month of Damodara (Kartika), we bring you another exciting chapter from; Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Today we are posting the chapter entitled “Killing the Demons Vatsāsura and Bakāsura”.

…All the cowherd boys would daily go to the bank of the river Yamunā to water their calves. Usually, when the calves drank water from the Yamunā, the boys also drank. One day, after drinking, when they were sitting on the bank of the river, they saw a huge animal which looked something like a duck and was as big as a hill. Its top was as strong as a thunderbolt. When they saw that unusual animal, they became afraid of it. The name of this beast was Bakāsura, and he was a friend of Kaṁsa’s. He appeared on the scene suddenly and immediately attacked Kṛṣṇa with his pointed, sharp beaks and quickly swallowed Him up. When Kṛṣṇa was thus swallowed, all the boys, headed by Balarāma, became almost breathless, as if they had died. But when the Bakāsura demon was swallowing up Kṛṣṇa, he felt a burning fiery sensation in his throat. This was due to the glowing effulgence of Kṛṣṇa. The demon quickly threw Kṛṣṇa up and tried to kill Him by pinching Him in his beaks. Bakāsura did not know that although Kṛṣṇa was playing the part of a child of Nanda Mahārāja, He was still the original father of Lord Brahmā, the creator of the universe. The child of mother Yaśodā, who is the reservoir of pleasure for the demigods and who is the maintainer of saintly persons, caught hold of the beaks of the great gigantic duck and, before His cowherd boy friends, bifurcated his mouth, just as a child very easily splits a blade of grass. From the sky, the denizens of the heavenly planets showered flowers like the cāmeli, the most fragrant of all flowers, as a token of their congratulations. Accompanying the showers of flowers was a vibration of bugles, drums and conchshells.

This description of Krishna killing the demon Bakasura by bifurcating his mouth, has always intriged me, and after years of hearing and reading this story I finially decided to look up the word bifurcate.

bi·fur·cate
verb
past tense: bifurcated; past participle: bifurcated
ˈbīfərˌkāt/
divide into two branches or forks.
“just below Cairo the river bifurcates”
(from Merriam Webster dictionary)

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Remembrance of Lord Kṛṣṇa

Krishna and Balarama tend the cows and bulls

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This morning I was reading from the Srimad Bhagavatam Third Canto, Chapter Two. It was so enlivening, that I read out-loud, the entire chapter. The following is just three verses and purports from the chapter entitled ” Remembrance of Lord Kṛṣṇa”.

In His childhood, the Almighty Lord was surrounded by cowherd boys and calves, and thus He traveled on the shore of the Yamunā River, through gardens densely covered with trees and filled with vibrations of chirping birds. (SB 3.2.27)

…the Lord used to play His celebrated flute. The sound vibrated by His flute would give His friends such transcendental pleasure that they would forget all the talks of the brahmānanda which is so praised by the impersonalists. These cowherd boys, as will be explained by Śukadeva Gosvāmī, were living entities who had accumulated heaps of pious acts and thus were enjoying with the Lord in person and were hearing His transcendental flute. The Brahma-saṁhitā (5.30) confirms the Lord’s blowing His transcendental flute. (from purport to SB 3.2.29)

veṇuṁ kvaṇantam aravinda-dalāyatākṣaṁ
barhāvataṁsam asitāmbuda-sundarāṅgam
kandarpa-koṭi-kaminīya-viśeṣa-śobhaṁ
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi

Brahmājī said, “I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who plays on His transcendental flute. His eyes are like lotus flowers, He is decorated with peacock plumes, and His bodily color resembles a fresh black cloud although His bodily features are more beautiful than millions of cupids.” These are the special features of the Lord.

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Uddhava Visits Vṛndāvana

Uddhava, Radharani and the gopis

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This is perhaps one of my favorite chapters in the Kṛṣṇa Book, and I find myself reading it again and again. There are many lessons one can take away from this chapter. With great pleasure we are posting the entire chapter in the hopes that one of our readers will become enlivened in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness as a result of reading it.

…As stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, ye yathā māṁ prapadyante: Kṛṣṇa is very responsive. He responds in proportion to the devotee’s advancement in devotional service. The gopīs were thinking of Kṛṣṇa in separation twenty-four hours a day. Kṛṣṇa was also always thinking of the gopīs, mother Yaśodā, Nanda Mahārāja and the residents of Vṛndāvana, although He appeared to be away from them. He could understand how they were transcendentally aggrieved, and so He immediately wanted to send Uddhava to give them a message of solace.

Uddhava is described as the most exalted personality in the Vṛṣṇi dynasty, almost equal to Kṛṣṇa. He was a great friend, and on account of being the direct student of Bṛhaspati, the teacher and priest of the heavenly planets, he was very intelligent and sharp in decision. From the intellectual standpoint, he was highly qualified. Kṛṣṇa, being a very loving friend of Uddhava, wanted to send him to Vṛndāvana just to study the highly elevated ecstatic devotional service practiced there. Even if one is highly elevated in material education and is even the disciple of Bṛhaspati, he still has to learn from the gopīs and the residents of Vṛndāvana how to love Kṛṣṇa to the highest degree. Sending Uddhava to Vṛndāvana with a message to the residents of Vṛndāvana to pacify them was Kṛṣṇa’s special favor to Uddhava.

Lord Kṛṣṇa’s name is Hari, which means one who takes away all the distress from the surrendered souls. Lord Caitanya states that there cannot be, at any time, a worship as exalted as that realized by the gopīs. Being very anxious about the gopīs’ grief, Kṛṣṇa talked with Uddhava and politely requested him to go to Vṛndāvana. Shaking Uddhava’s hand with His own hands, He said, ”My dear gentle friend Uddhava, please go immediately to Vṛndāvana and try to pacify My father and mother, Nanda Mahārāja and Yaśodā-devī, and the gopīs. They are very much griefstricken, as if suffering from great ailments. Go and give them a message. I hope their ailments will be partially relieved. The gopīs are always absorbed in thoughts of Me. They have dedicated body, desire, life and soul to Me. I am anxious not only for the gopīs, but for anyone who sacrifices society, friendship, love and personal comforts for Me. It is My duty to protect such exalted devotees. The gopīs are the most dear. They are always thinking of Me in such a way that they remain overwhelmed and almost dead in anxiety due to separation from Me. They are keeping alive simply by thinking that I am returning to them very soon.“

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The Perfection of Self-realization

Krishna and the gopis

…Kṛṣṇa’s only business is satisfying the devotees, and their only business is satisfying Kṛṣṇa. This is the reciprocation of love… The Supreme Personality of Godhead, wanders on the banks of the Yamunā to please the gopīs, the cowherd boys, the birds, the bees, and the cows and calves. These are not ordinary birds, bees, cows, calves, or men; they have all reached the summit of self-realization and thus, after many, many lives, have attained a position whereby they can play with Kṛṣṇa. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement can enable everyone to go to Kṛṣṇaloka and become Kṛṣṇa’s associate as a friend, servant, father, or mother. Kṛṣṇa is agreeable to take any of these positions in relation to His devotee.

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