Chapter Five
The Meeting of Nanda Mahārāja and Vasudeva
As described in this chapter, Nanda Mahārāja very gorgeously performed the birth ceremony for his newborn child. Then he went to Kaṁsa to pay taxes due and met his intimate friend Vasudeva.
There was great jubilation all over Vṛndāvana due to Kṛṣṇa’s birth. Everyone was overwhelmed with joy. Therefore the King of Vraja, Mahārāja Nanda, wanted to perform the birth ceremony for his child, and this he did. During this great festival, Nanda Mahārāja gave in charity to all present whatever they desired. After the festival, Nanda Mahārāja put the cowherd men in charge of protecting Gokula, and then he went to Mathurā to pay official taxes to Kaṁsa. In Mathurā, Nanda Mahārāja met Vasudeva. Nanda Mahārāja and Vasudeva were brothers, and Vasudeva praised Nanda Mahārāja’s good fortune because he knew that Kṛṣṇa had accepted Nanda Mahārāja as His father. When Vasudeva inquired from Nanda Mahārāja about the welfare of the child, Nanda Mahārāja informed him all about Vṛndāvana, and Vasudeva was very much satisfied by this, although he expressed his grief because Devakī’s many children had been killed by Kaṁsa. Nanda Mahārāja consoled Vasudeva by saying that everything happens according to destiny and that one who knows this is not aggrieved. Expecting many disturbances in Gokula, Vasudeva then advised Nanda Mahārāja not to wait in Mathurā, but to return to Vṛndāvana as soon as possible. Thus Nanda Mahārāja took leave of Vasudeva and returned to Vṛndāvana with the other cowherd men on their bullock carts.
śrī-śuka uvāca
nandas tv ātmaja utpanne
jātāhlādo mahā-manāḥ
āhūya viprān veda-jñān
snātaḥ śucir alaṅkṛtaḥ
vācayitvā svastyayanaṁ
jāta-karmātmajasya vai
kārayām āsa vidhivat
pitṛ-devārcanaṁ tathā
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; nandaḥMahārāja Nanda; tu—indeed; ātmaje—his son; utpanne—having been born; jāta—overwhelmed; āhlādaḥ—in great jubilation; mahā-manāḥ—who was great minded; āhūya—invited; viprān—the brāhmaṇas; veda-jñān—who were fully conversant in Vedic knowledge; snātaḥ—taking a full bath; śuciḥ—purifying himself; alaṅkṛtaḥ—being dressed very nicely with ornaments and fresh garments; vācayitvā—after causing to be recited; svasti-ayanam—Vedic mantras (by the brāhmaṇas); jāta-karma—the festival for the birth of the child; ātmajasya—of his own son; vai—indeed; kārayām āsa—caused to be performed; vidhi-vat—according to the Vedic regulations; pitṛ-deva-arcanam—the worship of the forefathers and the demigods; tathā—as well as.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: Nanda Mahārāja was naturally very magnanimous, and when Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa appeared as his son, he was overwhelmed by jubilation. Therefore, after bathing and purifying himself and dressing himself properly, he invited brāhmaṇas who knew how to recite Vedic mantras. After having these qualified brāhmaṇas recite auspicious Vedic hymns, he arranged to have the Vedic birth ceremony celebrated for his newborn child according to the rules and regulations, and he also arranged for worship of the demigods and forefathers.
Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has discussed the significance of the words nandas tu. The word tu, he says, is not used to fulfill the sentence, because without tu the sentence is complete. Therefore the word tu is used for a different purpose. Although Kṛṣṇa appeared as the son of Devakī, Devakī and Vasudeva did not enjoy the jāta-karma, the festival of the birth ceremony. Instead, this ceremony was enjoyed by Nanda Mahārāja, as stated here (nandas tv ātmaja utpanne jātāhlādo mahā-manāḥ). When Nanda Mahārāja met Vasudeva, Vasudeva could not disclose, “Your son Kṛṣṇa is actually my son. You are His father in a different way, spiritually.” Because of fear of Kaṁsa, Vasudeva could not observe the festival for Kṛṣṇa’s birth, Nanda Mahārāja, however, took full advantage of this opportunity.
The jāta-karma ceremony can take place when the umbilical cord, connecting the child and the placenta, is cut. However, since Kṛṣṇa was brought by Vasudeva to the house of Nanda Mahārāja, where was the chance for this to happen? In this regard, Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura desires to prove with evidence from many śāstras that Kṛṣṇa actually took birth as the son of Yaśodā before the birth of Yogamāyā, who is therefore described as the Lord’s younger sister. Even though there may be doubts about the cutting of the umbilical cord, and even though it is possible that this was not done, when the Supreme Personality of Godhead appears, such events are regarded as factual. Kṛṣṇa appeared as Varāhadeva from the nostril of Brahmā, and therefore Brahmā is described as the father of Varāhadeva. Also significant are the words kārayām āsa vidhivat. Being overwhelmed with jubilation over the birth of his son, Nanda Mahārāja did not see whether the cord was cut or not. Thus he performed the ceremony very gorgeously. According to the opinion of some authorities, Kṛṣṇa was actually born as the son of Yaśodā. In any case, without regard for material understandings, we can accept that Nanda Mahārāja’s celebration for the ceremony of Kṛṣṇa’s birth was proper. This ceremony is therefore well known everywhere as Nandotsava.
dhenūnāṁ niyute prādād
viprebhyaḥ samalaṅkṛte
tilādrīn sapta ratnaugha-
dhenūnām—of milk-giving cows; niyute—two million; prādāt—gave in charity; viprebhyaḥ—unto the brāhmaṇas; samalaṅkṛte—completely decorated; tila-adrīn—hills of grain; sapta—seven; ratna-ogha-śāta-kaumbha-ambara-āvṛtān—covered with jewels and cloth embroidered with gold.
Nanda Mahārāja gave two million cows, completely decorated with cloth and jewels, in charity to the brāhmaṇas. He also gave them seven hills of grain, covered with jewels and with cloth decorated with golden embroidery.
kālena snāna-śaucābhyāṁ
saṁskārais tapasejyayā
śudhyanti dānaiḥ santuṣṭyā
dravyāṇy ātmātma-vidyayā
kālena—by due course of time (the land and other material things become purified); snāna-śaucābhyām—by bathing (the body becomes purified) and by cleansing (unclean things become purified); saṁskāraiḥ—by purificatory processes (birth becomes purified); tapasā—by austerity (the senses become purified); ijyayā—by worship (the brāhmaṇas become purified); śudhyanti—become purified; dānaiḥ—by charity (wealth becomes purified); santuṣṭyā—by satisfaction (the mind becomes purified); dravyāṇi—all material possessions, such as cows, land and gold; ātmā—the soul (becomes purified); ātma-vidyayā—by self-realization.
O King, by the passing of time, land and other material possessions are purified; by bathing, the body is purified; and by being cleansed, unclean things are purified. By purificatory ceremonies, birth is purified; by austerity, the senses are purified; and by worship and charity offered to the brāhmaṇas, material possessions are purified. By satisfaction, the mind is purified; and by self-realization, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the soul is purified.
These are śāstric injunctions concerning how one can purify everything according to Vedic civilization. Unless purified, anything we use will infect us with contamination. In India five thousand years ago, even in the villages such as that of Nanda Mahārāja, people knew know to purify things, and thus they enjoyed even material life without contamination.
saumaṅgalya-giro viprāḥ
gāyakāś ca jagur nedur
bheryo dundubhayo muhuḥ
saumaṅgalya-giraḥ—whose chanting of mantras and hymns purified the environment by their vibration; viprāḥ—the brāhmaṇas; sūta—experts in reciting all the histories; māgadha—experts in reciting the histories of special royal families; vandinaḥ—general professional reciters; gāyakāḥ—singers; ca—as well as; jaguḥ—chanted; neduḥ—vibrated; bheryaḥ—a kind of musical instrument; dundubhayaḥ—a kind of musical instrument; muhuḥ—constantly.
The brāhmaṇas recited auspicious Vedic hymns, which purified the environment by their vibration. The experts in reciting old histories like the Purāṇas, the experts in reciting the histories of royal families, and general reciters all chanted, while singers sang and many kinds of musical instruments, like bherīs and dundubhis, played in accompaniment.
vrajaḥ sammṛṣṭa-saṁsikta-
vrajaḥ—the land occupied by Nanda Mahārāja; sammṛṣṭa—very nicely cleaned; saṁsikta—very nicely washed; dvāra—all the doors or entrances; ajira—courtyards; gṛha-antaraḥ—everything within the house; citra—variegated; dhvaja—of festoons; patākā—of flags; srak—of flower garlands; caila—of pieces of cloth; pallava—of the leaves of mango trees; toraṇaiḥ—(decorated) by gates in different places.
Vrajapura, the residence of Nanda Mahārāja, was fully decorated with varieties of festoons and flags, and in different places, gates were made with varieties of flower garlands, pieces of cloth, and mango leaves. The courtyards, the gates near the roads, and everything within the rooms of the houses were perfectly swept and washed with water.
gāvo vṛṣā vatsatarā
gāvaḥ—the cows; vṛṣāḥ—the bulls; vatsatarāḥ—the calves; haridrā—with a mixture of turmeric; taila—and oil; rūṣitāḥ—their entire bodies smeared; vicitra—decorated varieties of; dhātu—colored minerals; barha-srak—peacock-feather garlands; vastra—cloths; kāñcana—golden ornaments; mālinaḥ—being decorated with garlands.
The cows, the bulls and the calves were thoroughly smeared with a mixture of turmeric and oil, mixed with varieties of minerals. Their heads were bedecked with peacock feathers, and they were garlanded and covered with cloth and golden ornaments.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead has instructed in Bhagavad-gītā (18.44), kṛṣi-go-rakṣya-vāṇijyaṁ vaiśya-karma-svabhāvajam: “Farming, cow protection and trade are the qualities of work for the vaiśyas.Nanda Mahārāja belonged to the vaiśya community, the agriculturalist community. How to protect the cows and how rich this community was are explained in these verses. We can hardly imagine that cows, bulls and calves could be cared for so nicely and decorated so well with cloths and valuable golden ornaments. How happy they were. As described elsewhere in the Bhāgavatam, during Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira’s time the cows were so happy that they used to muddy the pasturing ground with milk. This is Indian civilization. Yet in the same place, India, Bhārata-varṣa, how much people are suffering by giving up the Vedic way of life and not understanding the teachings of Bhagavad-gītā.
gopāḥ samāyayū rājan
mahā-arha—extremely valuable; vastra-ābharaṇa—with garments and ornaments; kañcuka—by a particular type of garment used in Vṛndāvana; uṣṇīṣa—with turbans; bhūṣitāḥ—being nicely dressed; gopāḥ—all the cowherd men; samāyayuḥ—came there; rājan—O King (Mahārāja Parīkṣit); nānā—various; upāyana—presentations; pāṇayaḥ—holding in their hands.
O King Parīkṣit, the cowherd men dressed very opulently with valuable ornaments and garments such as coats and turbans. Decorated in this way and carrying various presentations in their hands, they approached the house of Nanda Mahārāja.
When we consider the past condition of the agriculturalist in the village, we can see how opulent he was, simply because of agricultural produce and protection of cows. At the present, however, agriculture having been neglected and cow protection given up, the agriculturalist is suffering pitiably and is dressed in a niggardly torn cloth. This is the distinction between the India of history and the India of the present day. By the atrocious activities of ugra-karma, how we are killing the opportunity of human civilization!
gopyaś cākarṇya muditā
yaśodāyāḥ sutodbhavam
ātmānaṁ bhūṣayāṁ cakrur
gopyaḥ—the feminine community, the wives of the cowherd men; ca—also; ākarṇya—after hearing; muditāḥ—became very glad; yaśodāyāḥ—of mother Yaśodā; suta-udbhavam—the birth of a male child; ātmānam—personally; bhūṣayām cakruḥ—dressed very nicely to attend the festival; vastra-ākalpa-añjana-ādibhiḥ—with proper dress, ornaments, black ointment, and so on.
The gopī wives of the cowherd men were very pleased to hear that mother Yaśodā had given birth to a son, and they began to decorate themselves very nicely with proper dresses, ornaments, black ointment for the eyes, and so on.
balibhis tvaritaṁ jagmuḥ
pṛthu-śroṇyaś calat-kucāḥ
nava-kuṅkuma-kiñjalka—with saffron and newly grown kuṅkuma flower; mukha-paṅkaja-bhūtayaḥ—exhibiting an extraordinary beauty in their lotuslike faces; balibhiḥ—with presentations in their hands; tvaritam—very quickly; jagmuḥ—went (to the house of mother Yaśodā); pṛthu-śroṇyaḥ—bearing full hips, fulfilling womanly beauty; calat-kucāḥ—their developed breasts were moving.
Their lotuslike faces extraordinarily beautiful, being decorated with saffron and newly grown kuṅkuma, the wives of the cowherd men hurried to the house of mother Yaśodā with presentations in their hands. Because of natural beauty, the wives had full hips and full breasts, which moved as they hurried along.
The cowherd men and women in the villages lived a very natural life, and the women developed a natural feminine beauty, with full hips and breasts. Because women in modern civilization do not live naturally, their hips and breasts do not develop this natural fullness. Because of artificial living, women have lost their natural beauty, although they claim to be independent and advanced in material civilization. This description of the village women gives a clear example of the contrast between natural life and the artificial life of a condemned society, such as that of the Western countries, where topless, bottomless beauty may be easily purchased in clubs and shops and for public advertisements. The word balibhiḥ indicates that the women were carrying gold coins, jeweled necklaces, nice cloths, newly grown grass, sandalwood pulp, flower garlands and similar offerings on plates made of gold. Such offerings are called bali. The words tvaritaṁ jagmuḥ indicate how happy the village women were to understand that mother Yaśodā had given birth to a wonderful child known as Kṛṣṇa.
gopyaḥ sumṛṣṭa-maṇi-kuṇḍala-niṣka-kaṇṭhyaś
citrāmbarāḥ pathi śikhā-cyuta-mālya-varṣāḥ
nandālayaṁ sa-valayā vrajatīr virejur
gopyaḥ—the gopīs; su-mṛṣṭa—very dazzling; maṇi—made of jewels; kuṇḍala—wearing earrings; niṣka-kaṇṭhyaḥ—and having little keys and lockets hanging from their necks; citra-ambarāḥ—dressed with varieties of colored embroidery; pathi—on their way to Yaśodāmayī’s house; śikhā-cyuta—fell from their hair; mālya-varṣāḥ—a shower of flower garlands; nanda-ālayam—to the house of Mahārāja Nanda; sa-valayāḥ—with bangles on their hands; vrajatīḥ—while going (in that costume); virejuḥ—they looked very, very beautiful; vyālola—moving; kuṇḍala—with earrings; payodhara—with breasts; hāra—with flower garlands; śobhāḥ—who appeared so beautiful.
In the ears of the gopīs were brilliantly polished jeweled earrings, and from their necks hung metal lockets. Their hands were decorated with bangles, their dresses were of varied colors, and from their hair, flowers fell onto the street like showers. Thus while going to the house of Mahārāja Nanda, the gopīs, their earrings, breasts and garlands moving, were brilliantly beautiful.
The description of the gopīs, who were going to the house of Mahārāja Nanda to welcome Kṛṣṇa, is especially significant. The gopīs were not ordinary women, but expansions of Kṛṣṇa’s pleasure potency, as described in the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.37,29):
tābhir ya eva nija-rūpatayā kalābhiḥ
goloka eva nivasaty akhilātma-bhūto
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
Kṛṣṇa is always worshiped by the gopīs wherever He goes. Therefore Kṛṣṇa is so vividly described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has also described Kṛṣṇa in this way: ramyā kācid upāsanā vrajavadhū-vargeṇa kalpitā. All these gopīs were going to offer Kṛṣṇa their presentations because the gopīs are eternal associates of the Lord. Now the gopīs were more jubilant because of the news of Kṛṣṇa’s appearance in Vṛndāvana.
tā āśiṣaḥ prayuñjānāś
ciraṁ pāhīti bālake
siñcantyo ’janam ujjaguḥ
tāḥ—all the women, the wives and daughters of the cowherd men; āśiṣaḥ—blessings; prayuñjānāḥ—offering; ciram—for a long time; pāhi—may You become the King of Vraja and maintain all its inhabitants; iti—thus; bālake—unto the newborn child; haridrā-cūrṇa—powder of turmeric; taila-adbhiḥ—mixed with oil; siñcantyaḥ—sprinkling; ajanam—the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is unborn; ujjaguḥ—offered prayers.
Offering blessings to the newborn child, Kṛṣṇa, the wives and daughters of the cowherd men said, “May You become the King of Vraja and long maintain all its inhabitants.” They sprinkled a mixture of turmeric powder, oil and water upon the birthless Supreme Lord and offered their prayers.
avādyanta vicitrāṇi
vāditrāṇi mahotsave
kṛṣṇe viśveśvare ’nante
nandasya vrajam āgate
avādyanta—vibrated in celebration of Vasudeva’s son; vicitrāṇi—various; vāditrāṇi—musical instruments; mahā-utsave—in the great festival; kṛṣṇe—when Lord Kṛṣṇa; viśva-īśvare—the master of the entire cosmic manifestation; anante—unlimitedly; nandasya—of Mahārāja Nanda; vrajam—at the pasturing place; āgate—had so arrived.
Now that the all-pervading, unlimited Lord Kṛṣṇa, the master of the cosmic manifestation, had arrived within the estate of Mahārāja Nanda, various types of musical instruments resounded to celebrate the great festival.
The Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā (4.7):
yadā yadā hi dharmasya
glānir bhavati bhārata
abhyutthānam adharmasya
tadātmānaṁ sṛjāmy aham
“Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion—at that time I descend Myself.” Whenever Kṛṣṇa comes, once in a day of Brahmā, He comes to the house of Nanda Mahārāja in Vṛndāvana. Kṛṣṇa is the master of all creation (sarva-loka-maheśvaram). Therefore, not only in the neighborhood of Nanda Mahārāja’s estate, but all over the universe—and in all the other universes—musical sounds celebrated the auspicious arrival of the Lord.
gopāḥ parasparaṁ hṛṣṭā
āsiñcanto vilimpanto
navanītaiś ca cikṣipuḥ
gopāḥ—the cowherd men; parasparam—on one another; hṛṣṭāḥ—being so pleased; dadhi—with curd; kṣīra—with condensed milk; ghṛta-ambubhiḥ—with water mixed with butter; āsiñcantaḥ—sprinkling; vilimpantaḥ—smearing; navanītaiḥ ca—and with butter; cikṣipuḥ—they threw on one another.
In gladness, the cowherd men enjoyed the great festival by splashing one another’s bodies with a mixture of curd, condensed milk, butter and water. They threw butter on one another and smeared it on one another’s bodies.
From this statement we can understand that five thousand years ago not only was there enough milk, butter and curd to eat, drink and cook with, but when there was a festival it would be thrown about without restriction. There was no limit to how extensively milk, butter, curd and other such products were used in human society. Everyone had an ample stock of milk, and by using it in many varied milk preparations, people would keep good health in natural ways and thus enjoy life in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
TEXTS 15–16
nando mahā-manās tebhyo
vāso ’laṅkāra-go-dhanam
ye ’nye vidyopajīvinaḥ
tais taiḥ kāmair adīnātmā
yathocitam apūjayat
viṣṇor ārādhanārthāya
sva-putrasyodayāya ca
nandaḥMahārāja Nanda; mahā-manāḥ—who among the cowherd men was the greatest of all upright persons; tebhyaḥ—unto the cowherd men; vāsaḥ—clothing; alaṅkāra—ornaments; go-dhanam—and cows; sūta-māgadha-vandibhyaḥ—unto the sūtas (the professional reciters of the old histories), the māgadhas (the professional reciters of the histories of royal dynasties) and the vandīs (general singers of prayers); ye anye—as well as others; vidyā-upajīvinaḥ—who were continuing their livelihood on the basis of educational qualifications; taiḥ taiḥ—with whatever; kāmaiḥ—improvements of desire; adīna-ātmāMahārāja Nanda, who was so magnanimous; yathā-ucitam—as was suitable; apūjayat—worshiped them or satisfied them; viṣṇoḥ ārādhana-arthāya—for the purpose of satisfying Lord Viṣṇu; sva-putrasya—of his own child; udayāya—for the improvement in all respects; ca—and.
The great-minded Mahārāja Nanda gave clothing, ornaments and cows in charity to the cowherd men in order to please Lord Viṣṇu, and thus he improved the condition of his own son in all respects. He distributed charity to the sūtas, the māgadhas, the vandīs, and men of all other professions, according to their educational qualifications, and satisfied everyone’s desires.
Although it has become fashionable to speak of daridra-nārāyaṇa, the words viṣṇor ārādhanārthāya do not mean that all the people satisfied by Nanda Mahārāja in this great ceremony were Viṣṇus. They were not daridra, nor were they Nārāyaṇa. Rather, they were devotees of Nārāyaṇa, and by their educational qualifications they would satisfy Nārāyaṇa. Therefore, satisfying them was an indirect way of satisfying Lord Viṣṇu. Mad-bhakta-pūjābhyadhikā (Bhāg. 11.19.21). The Lord says, “Worshiping My devotees is better than worshiping Me directly.” The varṇāśrama system is entirely meant for viṣṇu-ārādhana, worship of Lord Viṣṇu. Varṇāśramācāravatā puruṣeṇa paraḥ pumān/ viṣṇur ārādhyate (Viṣṇu Purāṇa 3.8.9). The ultimate goal of life is to please Lord Viṣṇu, the Supreme Lord. The uncivilized man or materialistic person, however, does not know this aim of life. Na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇum (Bhāg. 7.5.31). One’s real self-interest lies in satisfying Lord Viṣṇu. Not satisfying Lord Viṣṇu but instead attempting to become happy through material adjustments (bahir-artha-māninaḥ) is the wrong way for happiness. Because Viṣṇu is the root of everything, if Viṣṇu is pleased, everyone is pleased; in particular, one’s children and family members become happy in all respects. Nanda Mahārāja wanted to see his newborn child happy. That was his purpose. Therefore he wanted to satisfy Lord Viṣṇu, and to satisfy Lord Viṣṇu it was necessary to satisfy His devotees, such as the learned brāhmaṇas, māgadhas and sūtas. Thus, in a roundabout way, ultimately it was Lord Viṣṇu who was to be satisfied.
rohiṇī ca mahā-bhāgā
vyacarad divya-vāsa-srak-
rohiṇīRohiṇī, the mother of Baladeva; ca—also; mahā-bhāgā—the most fortunate mother of Baladeva (greatly fortunate because of having the opportunity to raise Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma together); nanda-gopā-abhinanditā—being honored by Mahārāja Nanda and mother Yaśodā; vyacarat—was busy wandering here and there; divya—beautiful; vāsa—with a dress; srak—with a garland; kaṇṭha-ābharaṇa—and with an ornament covering the neck; bhūṣitā—decorated.
The most fortunate Rohiṇī, the mother of Baladeva, was honored by Nanda Mahārāja and Yaśodā, and thus she also dressed gorgeously and decorated herself with a necklace, a garland and other ornaments. She was busy wandering here and there to receive the women who were guests at the festival.
Rohiṇī, another wife of Vasudeva’s, was also kept under the care of Nanda Mahārāja with her son Baladeva. Because her husband was imprisoned by Kaṁsa, she was not very happy, but on the occasion of Kṛṣṇa-janmāṣṭamī, Nandotsava, when Nanda Mahārāja gave dresses and ornaments to others, he also gave gorgeous garments and ornaments to Rohiṇī so that she could take part in the festival. Thus she also was busy receiving the women who were guests. Because of her good fortune in being able to raise Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma together, she is described as mahā-bhāgā, greatly fortunate.
tata ārabhya nandasya
vrajaḥ sarva-samṛddhimān
harer nivāsātma-guṇai
ramākrīḍam abhūn nṛpa
tataḥ ārabhya—beginning from that time; nandasya—of Mahārāja Nanda; vrajaḥ—Vrajabhūmi, the land for protecting and breeding cows; sarva-samṛddhimān—became opulent with all kinds of riches; hareḥ nivāsa—of the residence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; ātma-guṇaiḥ—by the transcendental qualities; ramā-ākrīḍam—the place of pastimes for the goddess of fortune; abhūt—became; nṛpa—O King (Mahārāja Parīkṣit).
O Mahārāja Parīkṣit, the home of Nanda Mahārāja is eternally the abode of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His transcendental qualities and is therefore always naturally endowed with the opulence of all wealth. Yet beginning from Lord Kṛṣṇa’s appearance there, it became the place for the pastimes of the goddess of fortune.
As stated in the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.29), lakṣmī-sahasra-śata-sambhrama-sevyamānaṁ govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi. The abode of Kṛṣṇa is always served by hundreds and thousands of goddesses of fortune. Wherever Kṛṣṇa goes, the goddess of fortune naturally resides with Him. The chief of the goddesses of fortune is Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Therefore, Kṛṣṇa’s appearance in the land of Vraja indicated that the chief goddess of fortune, Rādhārāṇī, would also appear there very soon. Nanda Mahārāja’s abode was already opulent, and since Kṛṣṇa had appeared, it would be opulent in all respects.
gopān gokula-rakṣāyāṁ
nirūpya mathurāṁ gataḥ
nandaḥ kaṁsasya vārṣikyaṁ
karaṁ dātuṁ kurūdvaha
gopān—the cowherd men; gokula-rakṣāyām—in giving protection to the state of Gokula; nirūpya—after appointing; mathurām—to Mathurā; gataḥ—went; nandaḥNanda Mahārāja; kaṁsasya—of Kaṁsa; vārṣikyam—yearly taxes; karam—the share of profit; dātum—to pay; kuru-udvaha—O Mahārāja Parīkṣit, best protector of the Kuru dynasty.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: Thereafter, my dear King Parīkṣit, O best protector of the Kuru dynasty, Nanda Mahārāja appointed the local cowherd men to protect Gokula and then went to Mathurā to pay the yearly taxes to King Kaṁsa.
Because the killing of babies was going on and had already become known, Nanda Mahārāja was very much afraid for his newborn child. Thus he appointed the local cowherd men to protect his home and child. He wanted to go immediately to Mathurā to pay the taxes due and also to offer some presentation for the sake of his newborn son. For the protection of the child, he had worshiped various demigods and forefathers and given charity to everyone’s satisfaction. Similarly, Nanda Mahārāja wanted not only to pay Kaṁsa the yearly taxes but also to offer some presentation so that Kaṁsa too would be satisfied. His only concern was how to protect his transcendental child, Kṛṣṇa.
vasudeva upaśrutya
bhrātaraṁ nandam āgatam
jñātvā datta-karaṁ rājñe
yayau tad-avamocanam
vasudevaḥVasudeva; upaśrutya—when he heard; bhrātaram—that his dear friend and brother; nandamNanda Mahārāja; āgatam—had come to Mathurā; jñātvā—when he learned; datta-karam—and had already paid the taxes; rājñe—unto the King; yayau—he went; tat-avamocanam—to the residential quarters of Nanda Mahārāja.
When Vasudeva heard that Nanda Mahārāja, his very dear friend and brother, had come to Mathurā and already paid the taxes to Kaṁsa, he went to Nanda Mahārāja’s residence.
Vasudeva and Nanda Mahārāja were so intimately connected that they lived like brothers. Furthermore, it is learned from the notes of Śrīpāda Madhvācārya that Vasudeva and Nanda Mahārāja were stepbrothers. Vasudeva’s father, Śūrasena, married a vaiśya girl, and from her Nanda Mahārāja was born. Later, Nanda Mahārāja himself married a vaiśya girl, Yaśodā. Therefore his family is celebrated as a vaiśya family, and Kṛṣṇa, identifying Himself as their son, took charge of vaiśya activities (kṛṣi-go-rakṣya-vāṇijyam [Bg. 18.44]). Balarāma represents plowing the land for agriculture and therefore always carries in His hand a plow, whereas Kṛṣṇa tends cows and therefore carries a flute in His hand. Thus the two brothers represent kṛṣi-rakṣya and go-rakṣya.
taṁ dṛṣṭvā sahasotthāya
dehaḥ prāṇam ivāgatam
prītaḥ priyatamaṁ dorbhyāṁ
sasvaje prema-vihvalaḥ
tam—him (Vasudeva); dṛṣṭvā—seeing; sahasā—suddenly; utthāya—getting up; dehaḥ—the same body; prāṇam—life; iva—as if; āgatam—had returned; prītaḥ—so pleased; priya-tamam—his dear friend and brother; dorbhyām—by his two arms; sasvaje—embraced; prema-vihvalaḥ—overwhelmed with love and affection.
When Nanda Mahārāja heard that Vasudeva had come, he was overwhelmed with love and affection, being as pleased as if his body had regained its life. Seeing Vasudeva suddenly present, he got up and embraced him with both arms.
Nanda Mahārāja was older than Vasudeva. Therefore Nanda Mahārāja embraced him, and Vasudeva offered him namaskāra.
pūjitaḥ sukham āsīnaḥ
pṛṣṭvānāmayam ādṛtaḥ
prasakta-dhīḥ svātmajayor
idam āha viśāmpate
pūjitaḥVasudeva having been so dearly welcomed; sukham āsīnaḥ—having been given a place to sit comfortably; pṛṣṭvā—asking; anāmayam—all-auspicious inquiries; ādṛtaḥ—being honored and respectfully received; prasakta-dhīḥ—because of his being very much attached; sva-ātmajayoḥ—to his own two sons, Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma; idam—the following; āha—inquired; viśām-pate—O Mahārāja Parīkṣit.
O Mahārāja Parīkṣit, having thus been received and welcomed by Nanda Mahārāja with honor, Vasudeva sat down very peacefully and inquired about his own two sons because of intense love for them.
diṣṭyā bhrātaḥ pravayasa
idānīm aprajasya te
prajāśāyā nivṛttasya
prajā yat samapadyata
diṣṭyā—it is by great fortune; bhrātaḥ—O my dear brother; pravayasaḥ—of you whose age is now quite advanced; idānīm—at the present moment; aprajasya—of one who did not have a son before; te—of you; prajā-āśāyāḥ nivṛttasya—of one who was almost hopeless of getting a son at this age; prajā—a son; yat—whatever; samapadyata—has been gotten by chance.
My dear brother Nanda Mahārāja, at an advanced age you had no son at all and were hopeless of having one. Therefore, that you now have a son is a sign of great fortune.
At an advanced age one generally cannot beget a male child. If by chance one does beget a child at this age, the child is generally female. Thus Vasudeva indirectly asked Nanda Mahārāja whether he had actually begotten a male child or a female child. Vasudeva knew that Yaśodā had given birth to a female child, whom he had stolen and replaced with a male child. This was a great mystery, and Vasudeva wanted to determine whether this mystery was already known to Nanda Mahārāja. On inquiring, however, he was confident that the mystery of Kṛṣṇa’s birth and His being placed in the care of Yaśodā was still hidden. There was no danger, since Kaṁsa at least could not learn what had already happened.
diṣṭyā saṁsāra-cakre ’smin
vartamānaḥ punar-bhavaḥ
upalabdho bhavān adya
durlabhaṁ priya-darśanam
diṣṭyā—it is also by great fortune; saṁsāra-cakre asmin—in this world of birth and death; vartamānaḥ—although I was existing; punaḥ-bhavaḥ—my meeting with you is just like another birth; upalabdhaḥ—being obtained by me; bhavān—you; adya—today; durlabham—although it was never to happen; priya-darśanam—to see you again, my very dear friend and brother.
It is also by good fortune that I am seeing you. Having obtained this opportunity, I feel as if I have taken birth again. Even though one is present in this world, to meet with intimate friends and dear relatives in this material world is extremely difficult.
Vasudeva had been imprisoned by Kaṁsa, and therefore, although present in Mathurā, he was unable to see Nanda Mahārāja for many years. Therefore when they met again, Vasudeva considered this meeting to be another birth.
naikatra priya-saṁvāsaḥ
suhṛdāṁ citra-karmaṇām
oghena vyūhyamānānāṁ
plavānāṁ srotaso yathā
na—not; ekatra—in one place; priya-saṁvāsaḥ—living together with dear friends and relatives; suhṛdām—of friends; citra-karmaṇām—of all of us who have had varieties of reactions to our past karma; oghena—by the force; vyūhyamānānām—carried away; plavānām—of sticks and other objects floating in the water; srotasaḥ—of the waves; yathā—as.
Many planks and sticks, unable to stay together, are carried away by the force of a river’s waves. Similarly, although we are intimately related with friends and family members, we are unable to stay together because of our varied past deeds and the waves of time.
Vasudeva was lamenting because he and Nanda Mahārāja could not live together. Yet how could they live together? Vasudeva warns that all of us, even if intimately related, are carried away by the waves of time according to the results of past karma.
kaccit paśavyaṁ nirujaṁ
bṛhad vanaṁ tad adhunā
yatrāsse tvaṁ suhṛd-vṛtaḥ
kaccit—whether; paśavyam—protection of the cows; nirujam—without difficulties or disease; bhūri—sufficient; ambu—water; tṛṇa—grass; vīrudham—plants; bṛhat vanam—the great forest; tat—all these arrangements are there; adhunā—now; yatra—where; āsse—are living; tvam—you; suhṛt-vṛtaḥ—surrounded by friends.
My dear friend Nanda Mahārāja, in the place where you are living with your friends, is the forest favorable for the animals, the cows? I hope there is no disease or inconvenience. The place must be full of water, grass and other plants.
For human happiness, one must care for the animals, especially the cows. Vasudeva therefore inquired whether there was a good arrangement for the animals where Nanda Mahārāja lived. For the proper pursuit of human happiness, there must be arrangements for the protection of cows. This means that there must be forests and adequate pasturing grounds full of grass and water. If the animals are happy, there will be an ample supply of milk, from which human beings will benefit by deriving many milk products with which to live happily. As enjoined in Bhagavad-gītā (18.44), kṛṣi-go-rakṣya-vāṇijyaṁ vaiśya-karma-svabhāvajam. Without giving proper facilities to the animals, how can human society be happy? That people are raising cattle to send to the slaughterhouse is a great sin. By this demoniac enterprise, people are ruining their chance for a truly human life. Because they are not giving any importance to the instructions of Kṛṣṇa, the advancement of their so-called civilization resembles the crazy efforts of men in a lunatic asylum.
bhrātar mama sutaḥ kaccin
mātrā saha bhavad-vraje
tātaṁ bhavantaṁ manvāno
bhavadbhyām upalālitaḥ
bhrātaḥ—my dear brother; mama—my; sutaḥ—son (Baladeva, born of Rohiṇī); kaccit—whether; mātrā saha—with His mother, Rohiṇī; bhavat-vraje—in your house; tātam—as father; bhavantam—unto you; manvānaḥ—thinking; bhavadbhyām—by you and your wife, Yaśodā; upalālitaḥ—properly being raised.
My son Baladeva, being raised by you and your wife, Yaśodādevī, considers you His father and mother. Is he living very peacefully in your home with His real mother, Rohiṇī?
puṁsas tri-vargo vihitaḥ
suhṛdo hy anubhāvitaḥ
na teṣu kliśyamāneṣu
tri-vargo ’rthāya kalpate
puṁsaḥ—of a person; tri-vargaḥ—the three aims of life (religion, economic development and sense gratification); vihitaḥ—enjoined according to Vedic ritualistic ceremonies; suhṛdaḥ—toward relatives and friends; hi—indeed; anubhāvitaḥ—when they are properly in line; na—not; teṣu—in them; kliśyamāneṣu—if they are actually in any difficulty; tri-vargaḥ—these three aims of life; arthāya—for any purpose; kalpate—does become so.
When one’s friends and relatives are properly situated, one’s religion, economic development and sense gratification, as described in the Vedic literatures, are beneficial. Otherwise, if one’s friends and relatives are in distress, these three cannot offer any happiness.
Vasudeva regretfully informed Nanda Mahārāja that although he had his wife and children, he could not properly discharge his duty of maintaining them and was therefore unhappy.
śrī-nanda uvāca
aho te devakī-putrāḥ
kaṁsena bahavo hatāḥ
kanyā sāpi divaṁ gatā
śrī-nandaḥ uvācaNanda Mahārāja said; aho—alas; te—your; devakī-putrāḥ—all the sons of your wife Devakī; kaṁsena—by King Kaṁsa; bahavaḥ—many; hatāḥ—have been killed; ekā—one; avaśiṣṭā—remaining child; avarajā—the youngest of all; kanyā—a daughter also; api—she also; divam gatā—gone to the heavenly planets.
Nanda Mahārāja said: Alas, King Kaṁsa killed so many of your children, born of Devakī. And your one daughter, the youngest child of all, entered the heavenly planets.
When Vasudeva understood from Nanda Mahārāja that the mystery of Kṛṣṇa’s birth and His having been exchanged with Yaśodā’s daughter was yet undisclosed, he was happy that things were going on nicely. By saying that Vasudeva’s daughter, his youngest child, had gone to the heavenly planets, Nanda Mahārāja indicated that he did not know that this daughter was born of Yaśodā and that Vasudeva had exchanged her with Kṛṣṇa. Thus the doubts of Vasudeva were dispelled.
nūnaṁ hy adṛṣṭa-niṣṭho ’yam
adṛṣṭa-paramo janaḥ
adṛṣṭam ātmanas tattvaṁ
yo veda na sa muhyati
nūnam—certainly; hi—indeed; adṛṣṭa—unseen; niṣṭhaḥ ayam—something ends there; adṛṣṭa—the unseen destiny; paramaḥ—ultimate; janaḥ—every living entity within this material world; adṛṣṭam—that destiny; ātmanaḥ—of oneself; tattvam—ultimate truth; yaḥ—anyone who; veda—knows; na—not; saḥ—he; muhyati—becomes bewildered.
Every man is certainly controlled by destiny, which determines the results of one’s fruitive activities. In other words, one has a son or daughter because of unseen destiny, and when the son or daughter is no longer present, this also is due to unseen destiny. Destiny is the ultimate controller of everyone. One who knows this is never bewildered.
Nanda Mahārāja consoled his younger brother Vasudeva by saying that destiny is ultimately responsible for everything. Vasudeva should not be unhappy that his many children had been killed by Kaṁsa or that the last child, the daughter, had gone to the heavenly planets.
śrī-vasudeva uvāca
karo vai vārṣiko datto
rājñe dṛṣṭā vayaṁ ca vaḥ
neha stheyaṁ bahu-tithaṁ
santy utpātāś ca gokule
śrī-vasudevaḥ uvāca—Śrī Vasudeva replied; karaḥ—the taxes; vai—indeed; vārṣikaḥ—yearly; dattaḥ—have already been paid by you; rājñe—to the King; dṛṣṭāḥ—have been seen; vayam ca—both of us; vaḥ—of you; na—not; iha—in this place; stheyam—should be staying; bahu-titham—for many days; santi—may be; utpātāḥ ca—many disturbances; gokule—in your home, Gokula.
Vasudeva said to Nanda Mahārāja: Now, my dear brother, since you have paid the annual taxes to Kaṁsa and have also seen me, do not stay in this place for many days. It is better to return to Gokula, since I know that there may be some disturbances there.
śrī-śuka uvāca
iti nandādayo gopāḥ
proktās te śauriṇā yayuḥ
anobhir anaḍud-yuktais
tam anujñāpya gokulam
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; iti—thus; nanda-ādayaḥNanda Mahārāja and his companions; gopāḥ—the cowherd men; proktāḥ—being advised; te—they; śauriṇā—by Vasudeva; yayuḥ—started from that place; anobhiḥ—by the bullock carts; anaḍut-yuktaiḥ—yoked with oxen; tam anujñāpya—taking permission from Vasudeva; gokulam—for Gokula.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: After Vasudeva advised Nanda Mahārāja in this way, Nanda Mahārāja and his associates, the cowherd men, took permission from Vasudeva, yoked their bulls to the bullock carts, and started riding for Gokula.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports to the Tenth Canto, Fifth Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “The Meeting of Nanda Mahārāja and Vasudeva.”

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