Mother Yasoda and Damodara
Mother Yasoda and Damodara

Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
May 31, 2007
Houston, Texas

Yesterday we discussed how Mother Yasoda bound unlimited Krsna, and why the rope was two-fingers short while she was trying to bind Him. After she finally bound Him, she told His many friends, such as Sridama, Subala and Madhumangala, to look after Him, and she left to churn yogurt. Her mind was upset, however, and she was thinking again and again, "Why did I do this, why did I do this?"

When Mother Yasoda left the room where the butter was being stored in hanging pots and resumed her household duties, all of Krsna's friends began to clap their hands and laugh. They joked with Him: "Will You misbehave by breaking pots and feeding yoghurt to the monkeys again? The blackish marks on Krsna's face due to His tears mixing with His black kajal (a medicinal black eye make-up) had dried up, and Krsna was now laughing and playing with the boys.

Sridama said, "I will untie the knot." Although he tried, he could not do it. All the boys tried, but they also could not untie the knot. At that time Baladeva Prabhu had just returned from the house of Upananda, the eldest brother of Nanda Baba. When He saw Krsna bound by the rope, He became angry and said, "Who has tied up My brother?" Someone whispered in His ear, "Mother Yasoda." His anger disappeared at once, and He could not say anything further.

In the meantime, Krsna remembered the curse given by Narada Rsi (pronounced 'rishi') to the sons of the extremely wealthy Kuvera (the treasurer of the universe), named Nalakuvara and Manigriva:

Once, Narada Rsi was going to meet his friend Kuvera, who was a devotee of Krsna. On the way he saw that the two sons of Kuvera, Nalakuvara and Manigriva, were drunk from drinking wine and were playing naked in a pond with some beautiful young women. They had no shame at all. When Narada Rsi reached there, the girls came out of the pond, covered themselves with their garments, and offered obeisances to Narada. Nalakuvara and Manigriva, on the other hand, had drunk so much wine that they had become inert - like trees - with no sense. They began to call the girls, "Come on, come on. Why did this person have to come here?! He should go away from here!"

Srimad-Bhagavatam states:

edhamana-madah puman
naivarhaty abhidhatum vai
tvam akincana-gocaram

["My Lord, Your Lordship can easily be approached, but only by those who are materially exhausted. One who is on the path of progress, trying to improve himself with respectable parentage, great opulence, high education and bodily beauty, cannot approach You with sincere feeling." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.26)]

Sri Narada Rsi thought, "I see that those who take birth in an aristocratic family, who are wealthy, who are learned scholars and very beautiful - both ladies and males - think like this: 'No one is equal to me in this world.' These two persons are like that. Their father is very wealthy, but their father is also a devotee. I want to correct them because they are the sons of my friend."

Narada then cursed them: "At once become trees." As they began to transform into trees, they quickly put their heads at the feet of Narada and prayed, "Prabhu, now you have given us a curse. Please tell us how we will be liberated from this."

Narada replied, "Do not be afraid. You will be all right." Without punishment such persons cannot be reformed.

Narada continued, "In the end of Dvapara-yuga, Sri Krsna will personally come to the Earth to perform sweet pastimes. At that time, you will be twin arjuna trees in the courtyard of Nanda Baba. The root will be one, but there will be two trees coming from that root. Krsna will somehow come to you with a grinding mortar. He will touch you and you will be liberated. At that time, you will attain Krsna-bhakti."

Now they were standing in the courtyard of Nanda Baba, and Krsna remembered, "I must fulfill the desire of My devotee."

rser bhagavata-mukhyasya
satyam kartum vaco harih
jagama sanakais tatra
yatrastam yamalarjunau

["The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna, to fulfill the truthfulness of the words of the greatest devotee, Narada, slowly went to that spot where the twin arjuna trees were standing." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.10.24)]

Krsna told His friends, "Let us play outside the house, not in here."

He began to pull that grinding mortar, and all the cowherd boys were pushing it while laughing and joking. The trees were standing outside the door. When Krsna passed through the trees, the grinding mortar became stuck there. Krsna pulled, but He didn't directly touch the trees. He touched the rope, the rope touched the grinding mortar, and the grinding mortar touched the trees.

Making a sound like the roaring of thunder-clouds, both trees at once fell to each side. They did not fall straight, for if they had, Krsna and His friends would have been smashed. Hearing the great sound of the falling trees, all the Vrajavasis ran towards it. Nanda Baba ran there from Brahmanda Ghat and cried out, "Oh! Krsna is there, and the trees have fallen to the sides! Somehow He has escaped."

Krsna had been laughing and joking with His friends, but when He saw His father, He began to cry, "Father, Father, Father!" and tears fell from His eyes.

Nanda Baba put Krsna on His lap and gave Him some laglus made with gur (like molasses). He asked, "Who has bound You?" At this time, Mother Yasoda and all her sakhis were somewhat at a distance, from where they saw Nanda Baba putting Krsna on his lap. Mother Yasoda was standing and thinking, "What have I done? I have made a mistake. If Krsna had died...." She became like a wooden statue, or a tree with no life.

She and her sakhis returned to their homes, but no one cooked. Mother Yasoda was like a statue; She could not even weep. In the meantime, Nanda Baba asked Krsna, "Who bound You?" Krsna replied, "Mother, Mother." Nanda Baba raised his hand as if ready to give a slap, and told Krsna, "Should I punish her for this? Krsna tightly held Nanda Baba's hand with both of His hands, as if to stop him.

Nanda Baba then somehow pacified Krsna. He placed Krsna and Baladeva on his shoulders and went to Brahmanda Ghat, where they all took bath. By now it was past midday; it was evening. Nanda Baba went to the cowshed where the cows were waiting. He milked the cows, squirting the milk directly into Baladeva Prabhu and Krsna's mouths until the boys were fully satisfied.

[Srila Narayana Maharaja receives a piece of paper, reads it, and then continues:] A question has come from someone in the audience: "After Nalakuvara and Manigriva were liberated, did they remain the sons of Kuvera or not?" No, they were liberated totally. They went to Goloka Vrndavana by the mercy of Krsna. Krsna benedicted them, and they became the two singers - Snigdha-kanta and Madhu-kanta. They manifested very sweet voices, like honey (madhu), their voices became very cooling and soft, and they became kind and affectionate (snigdha). They now sing in the assembly of Nanda Baba and in the assembly of the gopis. They describe the sweet pastimes of Krsna-lila as if those sweet pastimes had just occurred - just now. Now they are liberated, so how can they remain the sons of Kuvera?

What became of this pastime of the Yamal-arjuna tree? Who becomes the twin arjuna trees the next time this pastime is performed? Sri Krsna arranges that other living entities receive this fortune. Or, He may arrange that the same liberated souls come again. In a short time - in one moment of time in Goloka Vrndavana - thousands of years pass here in this world. Madhu-kanta and Snigdha-kanta can come here for one moment, no harm.

Nanda Baba then took Krsna and Baladeva to his palace and sat down where the males sit. In India, there are two divisions of the house; the inside and the outside; the ladies sit in the inside and males sit outside. Nanda Baba sat outside with Krsna and Baladeva. Although it was evening time, there had been no cooking.

The wife of Upananda, Rohini-maiya (the mother of Baladeva), and the other elder ladies approached Baladeva and requested Him to take Krsna from the side where He was sitting with His father, and bring Him to His mother, who was suffering in separation from Him. Baladeva went to get Krsna [Baladeva was freely associating with all the mothers, but Krsna and Nanda Baba were boycotting Mother Yasoda for binding Krsna to the mortar. -ed.], but Krsna gave Him such a big push that He fell down.

Baladeva thought, "Oh, He is very strong."

Rohini-maiya told Krsna, "Krsna, You should go to Your mother."

Krsna said, "No."

She replied, "Who will You play with?

Krsna said, "I will play with My brother."

"Who will feed You?"

"My father."

"Will You not go to Your mother?"


Then she said, "If Your mother…?" She snapped her fingers, indicating, but not saying directly,

"If your mother dies?"

Krsna at once began to weep loudly, and His weeping became louder and louder. He cried out, "Oh Mother, Mother!" He went to the lap of Rohini-maiya, and Rohini-maiya brought Him into His house and placed Him on the lap of Mother Yasoda.

Mother Yasoda began to weep very loudly, and then Rohini and Upananda's wife and all the other elderly gopis began to weep. Krsna was also weeping. Nanda Baba saw them all weeping, and he also began to weep. And then everyone began to weep.

These are some pathetic scenes of Krsna's sweet pastimes.

Why did Krsna act in this way? So that in the future everyone would have an opportunity to remember His sweet pastimes. In this way, their anarthas (bad thoughts and habits) would go away, and very soon they would become liberated, develop pure bhakti, and reach His abode in Goloka Vrndavana.

itidrk sva-lilabhir ananda-kunde
sva-ghosam nimajjantam akhyapayantam
tadiyesita-jnesu bhaktair jitatvam
punah prematas tam satavrtti vande

["By childhood pastimes such as this, He perpetually immerses the inhabitants of Gokula in pools of pure bliss, and through them informs the devotees desirous of knowing His aspect of supreme opulence and majesty that He is conquered only by those who are free from knowledge of His aisvarya - with great love I again and again worship that Damodara Sri Krsna." (Sri Damodarastakam, verse 3)]

Sri Krsna performed so many pastimes. When He was about 2 and a half years old, Upananda (Krsna's uncle) and all the cowherd-men held a meeting. In that meeting Upananda said, "We have been facing so many problems here recently. So many demons are coming. We should leave Gokula and go to Vrndavana. Yamuna River is nearby, the land is full with grass and trees, and there are so many places for the boys to play. We should all go there with our cows and calves."

It was declared that all the residents of Gokula would leave the following day for Vrndavana, so all the families were present for that procession. Mother Yasoda and Rohini rode on a bullock cart with Krsna and Baladeva. All the elderly persons, ladies and children also sat on bullock carts, and in this way all the Vrajavasis arrived in the village of Cattikara.

There was actually no village there at that time. The Vrajavasis crossed the river Yamuna and reached Vrndavana, and there in Cattikara they created a village by keeping their bullock carts in a semi-circle and keeping the remaining area fenced by thorn trees. Sri Krsna, Nanda Baba, Upananda and all their associates stayed there for some time.

When Krsna reached the age of five, Krsna told His mother and father, "I must take the cows out for herding." They could not dissuade Him, although they wanted to because of His young age. Therefore on a good day, Gopastami, Krsna began to go out with Balarama and His friends to the forest, to take the calves for grazing.

One day, while the boys were out cow-herding, Vatsasura, a demon in the form of a calf, began thinking, "How shall I kill Krsna?" After Vatsasura entered the midst of Krsna and His friends and calves, the calves smelled his bad odor, and they began running here and there. Krsna told Baladeva by signals from His eyes, "Oh, look at this! This calf is actually a demon!" After jointly making Their decision regarding how to proceed, Sri Krsna took the demon's hind legs, twirled him around, and thus killed him."

Krsna performed so many pastimes like this.

After this, Kamsa prepared to send Aghasura to kill Krsna. He said, "Aghasura, I sent others to kill Krsna, but no one is returning to bring me the news of what happened. Instead, they have all been killed." Aghasura had mystic powers, and he was thus able to assume the form of a very large python with one jaw on the ground and the other in the sky. His tongue was reddish and looked like a carpet. The cowherd boys approached him, thinking, "What is this? Is this a mountain? It must be a mountain, but it looks like a python. We must go and see what is inside."

As they were entering inside with all their calves, Krsna called out to warn them, "Don't go, don't go." But they did not hear Him. They were thinking, "If it is a demon, we have no fear because Krsna will save us."

Krsna thought, "I warned them, but still they went in." And then He also went inside.

Once Krsna entered, Aghasura closed his mouth. Krsna then became very large and very hot, like a great red-hot iron rod. He entered Aghasura's throat, and Aghasura's life-air was stopped. His soul exited through his head and began moving in the sky. When Krsna glanced over all the boys, they regained consciousness. He took all of them with Him and came out of Aghasura's body, and at that time the light which was moving in the air entered the lotus feet of Krsna.

Brahma saw this and thought, "That was a demon. He wanted to kill Krsna, yet he received liberation (svarupya-mukti).

Brahma prayed, "One may say, 'I know the endless glories of Krsna,' but that person is not telling the truth. Even I do not know His glories." Brahma offered obeisances, while Krsna held a lotus flower in His hand and was twirling it, His other hand resting upon a cowherd-boy's shoulder. Krsna appeared to be neglecting Brahma, and as Brahma was leaving, the boys called out, "Choma, choma - four-headed, four-headed."

Brahma is our guru, but in this pastime, by the influence of Krsna's internal Yogamaya potency, he had done something wrong. He had thought, "I will steal the friends and calves of Krsna, and then I will see what He will do. That way I will see another sweet pastime." If Brahma would have simply waited for some more time to see sweet pastimes of Krsna, Krsna would have automatically performed them. Actually, Krsna's Yogamaya potency had come in Brahma's mind, and she did everything. All the gopis were married to the cowherd boys, who were actually Krsna's expansions, non-different from Him. [*See endnote 1]

[Srila Narayana Maharaja then called on Sripad Nemi Maharaja to narrate the pastime of Krsna and Baladeva killing Dhenukasura, the demon in the form of an ass, and then he himself explained the teachings behind the pastime of Dhenukasura:]

Dhenukasura was a demon in the form of a donkey. Donkeys are foolish. Although they are repeatedly kicked by the hind-legs of she-donkeys as they follow behind the she-donkeys, still they continue to follow. Those who are foolish and do not serve Krsna are like donkeys. They are kicked by the hind-legs of their wives and others (when they go to them to enjoy sense gratification). We should always try to serve Krsna and Gurudeva; otherwise, we are foolish like donkeys that will not hear or serve Guru and Krsna.

In this way, Krsna was performing so many sweet pastimes.

After that: Yamuna's water became filled with poison. The Kaliya serpent had come to the Yamuna from Ramanika-dvipa, because he knew that his enemy Garuda could not go there due to a curse of Saubhari Rsi. [*See endnote 2] His dangerous poisonous vapor constantly heated and boiled the Yamuna's waters. If a bird happened to even pass over the spot, it would immediately die and fall down into the water. Due to the poisonous effect of the Yamuna's vapors, the trees and grass near the bank of the Yamuna had all dried up. Only one kadamba tree remained alive, because Garuda had brought nectar there in a jug long before, and some of that nectar had dropped on that tree.

One day the cows and cowherd boys were very thirsty, and so they drank the Yamuna water, not knowing that it was poisonous. They suddenly fell down on the ground, apparently dead. Krsna cast His merciful glance over them, and all the boys and cows regained consciousness. Krsna thought, "I should do something." He told the boys, "Wait here. I am coming very soon." He climbed the tree, tied His pitambara around His waist, and jumped in the water. Kaliya became very angry and attacked Him. When Krsna appeared to be lifeless in Kaliya's coils, Nanda Baba, Yasoda, and all the Vrajavasis wanted to jump in the water. But Baladeva Prabhu ran there and stopped them.

After some time, Krsna came out from Kaliya's coils. He jumped on the hoods of Kaliya and began to dance on his hoods as Sankara (Lord Siva) dances. Kaliya's wives began to pray to Krsna, and Krsna then ordered Kaliya, "You should go to Ramanika-dvipa. Do not remain here." Kaliya said, "Garuda will make problems for me." Krsna replied, "My footprints are here on your hoods, so do not worry."

After that, Pralambhasura was killed by Baladeva, and after that Krsna swallowed a forest fire and saved His cowherd-boy friends.

Later, in the autumn season, there were very clear waters in Yamuna and in the ponds and lakes, like Pavana-sarovara, Krsna-kunda, Manasi Ganga, and Kusuma-sarovara. A cool breeze was blowing, and at that time, Krsna, along with Baladeva Prabhu and other boys, entered the forest.

madhupatir avagahya carayan gah
saha-pasu-pala-balas cukuja venum

["The lakes, rivers and hills of Vrndavana resounded with the sounds of maddened bees and flocks of birds moving about the flowering trees. In the company of the cowherd boys and Balarama, Madhupati entered that forest, and while herding the cows He began to vibrate His flute." (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 10.21.2)]

The forest of Vrndavana was full with beli, cameli, jui, kadamba, and all other flowers. Bees were humming, cuckoo birds were singing, and peacocks were dancing. Krsna roamed from one forest to another, and all His cowherd friends praised Him and played on their flutes.

In the meantime, all the gopis were in their houses. They met in groups and were hearing the flute-song of Krsna as though it was right there with them. The gopis then began to sing the glories of Krsna's flute.

barhapidam nata-vara-vapuh karnayoh karnikaram
bibhrad vasah kanaka-kapisam vaijayantim ca malam
randhran venor adhara-sudhayapurayan gopa-vrndair
vrndaranyam sva-pada-ramanam pravisad gita-kirtih

["Wearing a peacock-feather ornament upon His head, blue karnikara flowers on His ears, a yellow garment as brilliant as gold, and the Vaijayanti garland, Lord Krsna exhibited His transcendental form as the greatest of dancers as He entered the forest of Vrndavana, beautifying it with the marks of His footprints. He filled the holes of His flute with the nectar of His lips, and the cowherd boys sang His glories." (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 10.21.5)]

[Srila Narayana Maharaja called upon Sripad Tirtha Maharaja to summarize Srimad-Bhagavatam's 21st chapter, known as "Venu-gita" (The gopis glorify the flute-song of Krsna), and then he himself explained further:]

In this way, the gopis were seeing Krsna's beauty and hearing His flute. Even demigoddesses in their airplanes could see Krsna, and they fainted on the laps of their husbands.

Krsna is so beautiful and the song of His flute is so sweet. Even the cows forget everything when they hear the sweet melody of the flute and see very beautiful Krsna. Hearing the flute-song, they turn their ears towards that sound. They can neither chew nor swallow the grass in their mouths. And what about their calves? The calves are drinking milk from the udders of their mothers, and that milk is now in their mouths, but they can neither swallow it nor throw it out.

purnah pulindya urugaya-padabja-raga
sri-kunkumena dayita-stana-manditena
tad-darsana-smara-rujas trna-rusitena
limpantya anana-kucesu jahus tad-adhim

["The aborigine women of the Vrndavana area become disturbed by lust when they see the grass marked with reddish kunkuma powder. Endowed with the color of Krsna's lotus feet, this powder originally decorated the breasts of His beloveds, and when the aborigine women smear it on their faces and breasts, they feel fully satisfied and give up all their anxiety." (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 10.21.17)]

The gopis think, "Oh, these aborigine Pulindi girls are so fortunate."

When Krsna meets with the gopis, the kunkum of the gopis' breasts comes onto His lotus feet. Then, when Krsna walks on the grass, that kunkum falls on the grass. Later, the Pulindi girls smear that kunkum all over their bodies, and thus they become free from the fire of separation from Krsna.

It is the gopis who are speaking this verse. The kunkum comes from them, but still they are thinking, "We are nothing. These Pulindi girls are so fortunate. We cannot meet with Krsna as they do. When we want to meet with Him, we are stopped by our husbands."

Remembering these pastimes, the gopis sang their Venu-gita, and this became a very beautiful chapter of Srimad-Bhagavatam. In the next days, we will speak about Gopi-gita, Rasa-lila, and many other such pastimes.

[*Endnote 1: Brahma wanted to see more sweet pastimes of Krsna, but he thought that he could create Krsna's pastimes himself, by his own power. He thought, "I should steal the cowherd boys and calves, and then I will see what happens." Brahma used his own intelligence. If he would have prayed to Krsna, "Please allow me to see Your pastimes," it would have been all right. But he did something wrong, and therefore Krsna's Yogamaya potency covered his intelligence.

Krsna considered, "All the cows want Me to be their calves, all the elderly gopis want Me to be their sons, and the Vraja gopis want Me to be Their most beloved." So He accomplished many tasks by this one pastime.

Baladeva wondered what had happened. He thought, "Whose maya is this? Is this a demon's maya? No, it cannot be so, because material maya cannot cover Me. He then asked Krsna, "What is going on?"

Krsna began to laugh, and He said, "Brahma wanted to see My pastimes, and also I desired to be the son of the gopis and the calves of the cows. I wanted to perform a miracle like this."

Gargacarya had foretold, "This year is very auspicious. All fathers and mothers should marry their sons and daughters in this year." But the gopas were Krsna. In this way, all the gopis were married to Krsna, a miracle that was created by Yogamaya. The Vrajavasis married even those children who were in the womb. They promised each other, "If my child is a girl and your child is a boy, they will be married." Thus, all the Vrajavasis married their daughters and sons.

Nanda Baba and Mother Yasoda-devi wanted that Srimati Radhika marry their son Krsna, and Vrsabhanu Maharaja and Kirtida-devi also wanted this. Vrsabhanu Maharaja thought, "My daughter should be married to the son of Nanda, Krsna, because there is no one more beautiful and qualified than He."

Yogamaya saw that Krsna's desire would not be fulfilled if He were to be married to Srimati Radhika. In marriage, a wife becomes like a servant; she is controlled by her husband. So by trick, Yogamaya changed the minds of Radha's and Krsna's parents, and now they thought that if Srimati Radhika would marry Krsna, there might be some problems. They now thought it would be better that She marry into a good family like that of Abhimanyu, the son of Jatila.

That marriage was performed with a shadow of Radhika, not actually with Radhika. Yogamaya created that shadow, and then Abhimanyu thought, "I am the husband of Radhika." But he could never be so.

In this way, by the arrangement of Yogamaya, all the gopis like Lalita and Visakha were married to gopas in Yavat. Vrsabhanu Maharaja did not marry his daughter to Krsna, and in this way Sri Sri Radha and Krsna could remain beloveds. This is parakiya-rasa (the mood of paramour). (Srila Narayana Maharaja, Hawaii, January 16, 2007)

*Endnote 2: from the book, Vraja Mandala Parikrama:

"Before the time of Krsna-lila, Saubhari Rsi performed austerities here for thousands of years. To conquer his senses, he remained standing in the water of the Yamuna during all seasons, including summer and winter. One day Garuda, an associate of Lord Visnu, arrived here. Following his nature as a bird, he swallowed a big male fish right before everyone's eyes. Seeing this, the fish community lamented and prayed to Saubhari Rsi for retaliation. Engrossed in dry austerities and unaware of the glories of the Lord's devotees, Saubhari Rsi cursed Garuda, saying that if he came here again his head would be cut off. Because Saubhari Rsi had cursed a great devotee, a desire arose in his heart to enjoy the material world. He came out of the waters of the Yamuna, and by his yogic power transformed himself into a young man. He married the many beautiful young daughters of Maharaja Mandhata, and remained entangled in worldly pleasures for thousands of years.

"By the desire of the Supreme Lord, the Kaliya serpent later moved to that same Yamuna pond with his family, in order to protect himself from the very powerful Garuda. This rendered the water in the pond poisonous, and all the fish living here, who had also committed an offence towards Garuda, died. In this way, Saubhari Rsi and all the fish who had taken shelter of him faced total destruction, because they had committed an offence towards a pure devotee.

"All of the trees and creepers around the lake were burnt to ashes by the Kaliya serpent's poison. Only this one keli-kadamba tree remained. This was because the mighty and valiant Garuda was once carrying a pot of amrita from the heavenly planets in order to free his mother Vinata from the slavery of his step-mother Kadru. He rested on this keli-kadamba tree for some time, and the strength of the nectar's fragrance or a drop of the nectar itself that had spilled, was enough to save this keli-kadamba tree.

Kaliya Serpent was also very valiant and powerful. When he tied Krsna in his coils, Krsna became somewhat helpless and motionless. At that time, the Nagapatnis, who were great devotees of Krsna, began to pray, "We would rather be widows than be the wives of a husband opposed to the Supreme Lord." But when Krsna freed Himself from the serpent's coils and began to dance on and kick Kaliya's hoods, Kaliya vomited blood from his thousands of mouths and surrendered to Krsna. At that time, the Nagapatnis folded their hands and begged Krsna to spare their husband's life, taking into account his surrendered mood. Sri Krsna was pleased by their prayers. He granted Kaliya freedom from fear and ordered him to go to Ramanaka-dvipa with his family. He assured Kaliya of His protection, saying, "You need no longer fear Garuda. When he sees My footprints on your hoods, he will forget his enmity towards you."]

Transcriber: Vasanti dasi
Typist: Anita dasi
Proof-reader: Krsna-kamini dasi
Editor: Syamarani dasi