Chapter Fourteen
Lord Krsna’s Wonderful Activities
gopy adade tvayi krtagasi dama tavad
ya te dasasru-kalilanjana-sambhramaksam
vaktram niniya bhaya-bhavanaya sthitasya
sa mam vimohayati bhir api yad bibheti
My dear Krsna, Yasoda took up a rope to bind You when You committed an offense, and Your perturbed eyes overflooded with tears, which washed the mascara from Your eyes. And You were afraid, though fear personified is afraid of You. This sight is bewildering to me.
—Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.31
Here is another explanation of the bewilderment created by the pastimes of the Supreme Lord. The Supreme Lord is the Supreme in all circumstances, as already explained. Here is a specific example of the Lord’s being the Supreme and at the same time a plaything in the presence of His pure devotee. The Lord’s pure devotee renders service unto the Lord out of unalloyed love only, and while discharging such devotional service the pure devotee forgets the position of the Supreme Lord. The Supreme Lord also accepts the loving service of His devotees more relishably when the service is rendered spontaneously out of pure affection, without anything of reverential admiration. Generally the Lord is worshiped by the devotees in a reverential attitude, but the Lord is meticulously pleased when the devotee, out of pure affection and love, considers the Lord to be less important than himself. The Lord’s pastimes in the original abode, Goloka Vrndavana, are exchanged in that spirit. The friends of Krsna consider Him one of them. They do not consider Him to be of reverential importance. The parents of the Lord (who are all pure devotees) consider Him a child only. The Lord accepts the chastisements of the parents more cheerfully than the prayers of the Vedic hymns. Similarly, He accepts the reproaches of His fiancees more palatably than the Vedic hymns. When Lord Krsna was present in this material world to manifest His eternal pastimes of the transcendental realm Goloka Vrndavana as an attraction for the people in general, He displayed a unique picture of subordination before His foster mother, Yasoda. The Lord, in His naturally childish playful activities, used to spoil the stocked butter of mother Yasoda by breaking the pots and distributing the contents to His friends and playmates, including the celebrated monkeys of Vrndavana, who took advantage of the Lord’s munificence. Mother Yasoda saw this, and out of her pure love she wanted to make a show of punishment for her transcendental child. She took a rope and threatened the Lord that she would tie Him up, as is generally done in the ordinary household. Seeing the rope in the hands of mother Yasoda, the Lord bowed down His head and began to weep just like a child, and tears rolled down His cheeks, washing off the black ointment smeared about His beautiful eyes. This picture of the Lord is adored by Kuntidevi because she is conscious of the Lord’s supreme position. He is feared often by fear personified, yet He is afraid of His mother, who wanted to punish Him just in an ordinary manner. Kunti was conscious of the exalted position of Krsna, whereas Yasoda was not. Therefore Yasoda’s position was more exalted than Kunti’s. Mother Yasoda got the Lord as her child, and the Lord made her forget altogether that her child was the Lord Himself. If mother Yasoda had been conscious of the exalted position of the Lord, she would certainly have hesitated to punish the Lord. But she was made to forget this situation because the Lord wanted to make a complete gesture of childishness before the affectionate Yasoda. This exchange of love between the mother and the son was performed in a natural way, and Kunti, remembering the scene, was bewildered, and she could do nothing but praise the transcendental filial love. Indirectly mother Yasoda is praised for her unique position of love, for she could control even the all-powerful Lord as her beloved child.
This pastime presents another opulence of Krsna—His opulence of beauty. Krsna has six opulences: all wealth, all strength, all influence, all knowledge, all renunciation, and all beauty. The nature of Krsna is that He is greater than the greatest and smaller than the smallest (anor aniyan mahato mahiyan). We offer obeisances to Krsna with awe and veneration, but no one comes to Krsna with a rope, saying, “Krsna, You have committed an offense, and now I shall bind You.” Yet that is the prerogative of the most perfect devotee, and Krsna wants to be approached in that way.
Thinking of Krsna’s opulence, Kuntidevi did not dare take the part of Yasoda, for although Kuntidevi was Krsna’s aunt, she did not have the privilege to approach Krsna the way He was approached by Yasodamayi, who was such an advanced devotee that she had the right to chastise the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That was Yasodamayi’s special prerogative. Kuntidevi was simply thinking of how fortunate was Yasodamayi that she could threaten the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is feared even by fear personified (bhir api yad bibheti). Who is not afraid of Krsna? No one. But Krsna is afraid of Yasodamayi. This is the superexcellence of Krsna.
To give another example of such opulence, Krsna is known as Madana-mohana. Madana means Cupid. Cupid enchants everyone, but Krsna is known as Madana-mohana because He is so beautiful that He enchants even Cupid. Nonetheless, Krsna Himself is enchanted by Srimati Radharani, and therefore Srimati Radharani is known as Madana-mohana-mohini, “the enchanter of the enchanter of Cupid.” Krsna is the enchanter of Cupid, and Radharani is the enchanter of that enchanter.
These are very exalted spiritual understandings in Krsna consciousness. They are not fictional, imaginary, or concocted. They are facts, and every devotee can have the privilege to understand and indeed take part in Krsna’s pastimes if he is actually advanced. We should not think that the privilege given to mother Yasoda is not available to us. Everyone can have a similar privilege. If one loves Krsna as one’s child, then one will have such a privilege, because the mother has the most love for the child. Even in this material world, there is no comparison to a mother’s love, for a mother loves her child without any expectation of return. Of course, although that is generally true, this material world is so polluted that a mother sometimes thinks, “My child will grow up and become a man, and when he earns money, I shall get it.” Thus there is still some desire to get something in exchange. But while loving Krsna there are no selfish feelings, for that love is unalloyed, free from all material gain (anyabhilasita-sunyam [Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.1.11]).
We should not love Krsna for some material gain. It is not that we should say, “Krsna, give us our daily bread, and then I shall love You. Krsna, give me this or that, and then I shall love You.” There should be no such mercantile exchanges, for Krsna wants unalloyed love.
When Krsna saw mother Yasoda coming with a rope to bind Him, He immediately became very much afraid, thinking, “Oh, Mother is going to bind Me.” He began to cry, and the tears washed the mascara from His eyes. Looking at His mother with great respect, He appealed to her with feeling, “Yes, Mother, I have offended you. Kindly excuse Me.” Then He immediately bowed His head. Kuntidevi appreciated this scene, for this was another of Krsna’s perfections. Although He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He puts Himself under the control of mother Yasoda. In Bhagavad-gita (7.7) the Lord says, mattah parataram nanyat kincid asti dhananjaya: “My dear Arjuna, there is no one superior to Me.” Yet that Supreme Personality of Godhead, to whom no one is superior, bows down to mother Yasoda, accepting, “My dear Mother, yes, I am an offender.”
When mother Yasoda saw that Krsna had become too much afraid of her, she also became disturbed. She did not actually want Krsna to suffer by her punishment. That was not her purpose. But it is a system, still current in India, that when a child creates too much of a disturbance, his mother may bind him up in one place. That is a very common system, so mother Yasoda adopted it.
This scene is very much appreciated by pure devotees, for it shows how much greatness there is in the Supreme Person, who plays exactly like a perfect child. When Krsna plays like a child, He plays perfectly, when He plays as the husband of sixteen thousand wives He plays perfectly, when He plays as the lover of the gopis He plays perfectly, and as the friend of the cowherd boys He also plays perfectly.
The cowherd boys all depend on Krsna. Once they wanted to take fruit from a forest of palm trees, but there was a demon named Gardabhasura who would not allow anyone to enter that forest. Therefore Krsna’s cowherd boyfriends said to Krsna, “Krsna, we want to taste that fruit, if You can arrange for it.” Krsna immediately said yes, and He and Balarama went to the forest where that demon was living with other demons, who had all taken the shape of asses. When the ass demons came to kick Krsna and Balarama with their hind legs, Balarama caught one of them and threw him into the top of a tree, and the demon died. Then Krsna and Balarama killed the other demons the same way. Thus Their cowherd friends were very much obliged to Them.
On another occasion, the cowherd boys were surrounded by fire. Not knowing anyone else but Krsna, they immediately called for Him, and Krsna was ready: “Yes.” Thus Krsna immediately swallowed the whole fire. There were many demons that attacked the boys, and every day the boys would return to their mothers and say, “Mother, Krsna is so wonderful,” and they would explain what had happened that day. And the mothers would say, “Yes, our Krsna is wonderful.” They did not know that Krsna is God, the Supreme Person. They only knew that Krsna is wonderful, that’s all. And the more they perceived Krsna’s wonderful activities, the more their love increased. “Perhaps He may be a demigod,” they thought. When Nanda Maharaja, Krsna’s father, talked among his friends, the friends would talk about Krsna and say, “Oh, Nanda Maharaja, your child Krsna is wonderful.” And Nanda Maharaja would respond, “Yes, I see that. Maybe He is some demigod.” And even that was not certain—“maybe.”
Thus the inhabitants of Vrndavana do not care who is God and who is not. They love Krsna, that’s all. Those who think of first analyzing Krsna to determine whether He is God are not first-class devotees. The first-class devotees are those who have spontaneous love for Krsna. How can we analyze Krsna? He is unlimited, and therefore it is impossible. We have limited perception, and our senses have limited potency, so how can we study Krsna? It is not possible at all. Krsna reveals Himself to a certain extent, and that much is sufficient.
We should not be like the Mayavadi philosophers, who try to find God by speculative deduction. “Neti neti,” they say. “God is not this, and God is not that.” But what God is they do not know. Materialistic scientists also try to find the ultimate cause, but their process is the same: “Not this, not that.” As much as they advance, they will always find “Not this, not that.” But what the ultimate cause is, they will never find. That is not possible.
What to speak of finding Krsna, materialistic scientists cannot properly understand even material objects. They are trying to go to the moon, but actually they do not know what it is. If they understand what the moon is, why do they come back here? If they knew perfectly what the moon is, they would have resided there by now. They have been trying for the last twenty years to go there and stay, but they are simply seeing, “Not this, not that. There are no living entities, and there is no possibility of our living here.” Thus they can report on what is not on the moon, but do they know what is there? No, they do not know. And this is only one planet or one star.
According to the Vedic literature, the moon is regarded as a star. The scientists say that the stars are all suns, but according to Bhagavad-gita the stars are of the same nature as the moon. In Bhagavad-gita (10.21) Lord Krsna says, naksatranam aham sasi: “Of stars I am the moon.” Thus the moon is just like the many stars. What is the nature of the moon? It is bright because it reflects light from the sun. Therefore although the scientists say that the stars are many suns, we do not agree. According to the Vedic calculation, there are innumerable suns, but in every universe there is only one.
What we see in this universe we are seeing imperfectly, and our knowledge is not perfect. We cannot count how many stars or planets there are. We cannot fully understand the material things existing all around us, and therefore how can we understand the Supreme Lord who created this universe? That is not possible. Therefore in the Brahma-samhita (5.34) it is said:
panthas tu koti-sata-vatsara-sampragamyo
vayor athapi manaso muni-pungavanam
so ’py asti yat-prapada-simny avicintya-tattve
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
Space is unlimited, and the Brahma-samhita suggests: Suppose one travels by spacecraft for millions of years at the velocity of the wind or even the speed of mind. Everyone knows that the mind is so swift that in even one ten-thousandth of a second it can take us millions of miles. If we have seen something millions of miles away, the mind can go there immediately. But even if we can travel at that speed on a spacecraft manufactured by muni-pungavanam, the greatest scientists and most thoughtful men, will that be perfection? No. The Brahma-samhita says, so ’py asti yat-prapada-simny avicintya-tattve: still this creation will remain inconceivable to our understanding. And Krsna has created all these things, so how can we study Krsna? If we cannot understand the things Krsna has created, how can we understand Krsna? It is not possible at all.
Therefore the mentality of Vrndavana is the perfect status of mind for devotees. The inhabitants of Vrndavana have no concern with understanding Krsna. Rather, they want to love Krsna unconditionally. It is not that they think, “Krsna is God, and therefore I love Him.” In Vrndavana Krsna does not play as God; He plays there as an ordinary cowherd boy, and although at times He proves that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the devotees there do not care to know it.
Kuntidevi, however, was not an inhabitant of Vrndavana. She was an inhabitant of Hastinapura, which is outside Vrndavana. The devotees outside Vrndavana study how great the inhabitants of Vrndavana are, but the inhabitants of Vrndavana don’t care to know how great Krsna is. That is the difference between them. So our concern should be simply to love Krsna. The more we love Krsna, the more we shall become perfect. It is not necessary to understand Krsna and how He creates. Krsna explains Himself in Bhagavad-gita, and we should not try to understand much more. We should not bother very much to know Krsna. That is not possible. We should simply increase our unalloyed love for Krsna. That is the perfection of life.

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