The Killing of the Demon Pūtanā
While Nanda Mahārāja, the King of Vraja, was thinking about Vasudeva’s words concerning disturbances in Gokula, he was a little afraid and sought shelter at the lotus feet of Śrī Hari. Meanwhile, Kaṁsa sent to the village of Gokula a Rākṣasī named Pūtanā, who was wandering here and there killing small babies. Of course, wherever there is no Kṛṣṇa consciousness, there is the danger of such Rākṣasīs, but since the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself was in Gokula, Pūtanā could accept nothing there but her own death.
One day, Pūtanā arrived from outer space in Gokula, the home of Nanda Mahārāja, and by displaying her mystic power, she assumed the disguise of a very beautiful woman. Taking courage, she immediately entered Kṛṣṇa’s bedroom without anyone’s permission; by the grace of Kṛṣṇa, no one forbade her to enter the house or the room, because that was Kṛṣṇa’s desire. The baby Kṛṣṇa, who resembled a fire covered by ashes, looked upon Pūtanā and thought that He would have to kill this demon, the beautiful woman. Enchanted by the influence of yogamāyā and the Personality of Godhead, Pūtanā took Kṛṣṇa upon her lap, and neither Rohiṇī nor Yaśodā objected. The demon Pūtanā offered her breast for Kṛṣṇa to suck, but her breast was smeared with poison. The child Kṛṣṇa, therefore, squeezed Pūtanā’s breast so severely that in unbearable pain she had to assume her original body and fell to the ground. Then Kṛṣṇa began playing on her breast just like a small child. When Kṛṣṇa was playing, the gopīs were pacified and took the child away to their own laps. After this incident, the gopīs took precautions because of the attack of the Rākṣasī. Mother Yaśodā gave the child her breast to suck and then laid Him in bed.
Meanwhile, Nanda and his associates the cowherd men returned from Mathurā, and when they saw the great dead body of Pūtanā, they were struck with wonder. Everyone was astonished that Vasudeva had foretold this mishap, and they praised Vasudeva for his power of foresight. The inhabitants of Vraja cut the gigantic body of Pūtanā into pieces, but because Kṛṣṇa had sucked her breast, she had been freed from all sins, and therefore when the cowherd men burned the pieces of her body in a fire, the smoke filled the air with a very pleasing fragrance. Ultimately, although Pūtanā had desired to kill Kṛṣṇa, she attained the Lord’s abode. From this incident we gain the instruction that if one is attached to Kṛṣṇa somehow or other, even as an enemy, one ultimately attains success. What then is to be said of devotees who are naturally attached to Kṛṣṇa in love? When the inhabitants of Vraja heard about the killing of Pūtanā and the welfare of the child, they were very much satisfied. Nanda Mahārāja took the baby Kṛṣṇa on his lap and was filled with satisfaction.
nandaḥ pathi vacaḥ śaurer
na mṛṣeti vicintayan
hariṁ jagāma śaraṇam
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; nandaḥ—Nanda Mahārāja; pathi—on his way back home; vacaḥ—the words; śaureḥ—of Vasudeva; na—not; mṛṣā—without purpose or cause; iti—thus; vicintayan—while thinking about inauspiciousness for his little son, Kṛṣṇa; harim—unto the Supreme Lord, the controller; jagāma—took; śaraṇam—shelter; utpāta—of disturbances; āgama—with the expectation; śaṅkitaḥ—thus being afraid.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: My dear King, while Nanda Mahārāja was on the way home, he considered that what Vasudeva had said could not be false or useless. There must have been some danger of disturbances in Gokula. As Nanda Mahārāja thought about the danger for his beautiful son, Kṛṣṇa, he was afraid, and he took shelter at the lotus feet of the supreme controller.
Whenever there is danger, the pure devotee thinks of the protection and shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is also advised in Bhagavad-gītā (9.33): anityam asukhaṁ lokam imaṁ prāpya bhajasva mām. In this material world there is danger at every step (padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadām). Therefore a devotee has no other course than to take shelter of the Lord at every step.
kaṁsena prahitā ghorā
śiśūṁś cacāra nighnantī
kaṁsena—by King Kaṁsa; prahitā—engaged previously; ghorā—very fierce; pūtanā—by the name Pūtanā; bāla-ghātinī—a Rākṣasī who killed; śiśūn—small babies; cacāra—wandered; nighnantī—killing; pura-grāma-vraja-ādiṣu—in towns, cities and villages here and there.
While Nanda Mahārāja was returning to Gokula, the same fierce Pūtanā whom Kaṁsa had previously engaged to kill babies was wandering about in the towns, cities and villages, doing her nefarious duty.
na yatra śravaṇādīni
kurvanti sātvatāṁ bhartur
yātudhānyaś ca tatra hi
na—not; yatra—wherever; śravaṇa-ādīni—the activities of bhakti-yoga, beginning with hearing and chanting; rakṣaḥ-ghnāni—the sound vibration to kill all danger and bad elements; sva-karmasu—if one is engaged in his own occupational duty; kurvanti—such things are done; sātvatām bhartuḥ—of the protector of the devotees; yātudhānyaḥ—disturbing elements, bad elements; ca—also; tatra hi—there must be.
My dear King, wherever people in any position perform their occupational duties of devotional service by chanting and hearing [śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ SB 7.5.23], there cannot be any danger from bad elements. Therefore there was no need for anxiety about Gokula while the Supreme Personality of Godhead was personally present.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī spoke this verse to mitigate the anxiety of Mahārāja Parīkṣit. Mahārāja Parīkṣit was a devotee of Kṛṣṇa, and therefore when he understood that Pūtanā was causing disturbances in Gokula, he was somewhat perturbed. Śukadeva Gosvāmī therefore assured him that there was no danger in Gokula. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has sung: nāmāśraya kari’ yatane tumi, thākaha āpana kāje. Everyone is thus advised to seek shelter in the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra and remain engaged in his own occupational duty. There is no loss in this, and the gain is tremendous. Even from a material point of view, everyone should take to chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra to be saved from all kinds of danger. This world is full of danger (padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadām). Therefore we should be encouraged to chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra so that in our family, society, neighborhood and nation, everything will be smooth and free from danger.
sā khe-cary ekadotpatya
sā—that (Pūtanā); khe-carī—who traveled in outer space; ekadā—once upon a time; utpatya—was flying; pūtanā—the demon Pūtanā; nanda-gokulam—at the place of Nanda Mahārāja, Gokula; yoṣitvā—converting into a very beautiful woman; māyayā—by mystic power; ātmānam—herself; prāviśat—entered; kāma-cāriṇī—one who could move according to her own desire.
Once upon a time, Pūtanā Rākṣasī, who could move according to her desire and was wandering in outer space, converted herself by mystic power into a very beautiful woman and thus entered Gokula, the abode of Nanda Mahārāja.
Rākṣasīs learn mystic powers by which they can travel in outer space without machines. In some parts of India there are still such mystical witches, who can sit on a stick and use it to fly from one place to another in a very short time. This art was known to Pūtanā. Assuming the feature of a very beautiful woman, she entered Nanda Mahārāja’s abode, Gokula.
mano harantīṁ vanitāṁ vrajaukasām
gopyaḥ śriyaṁ draṣṭum ivāgatāṁ patim
tām—her; keśa-bandha-vyatiṣakta-mallikām—whose arrangement of hair was decorated with a garland of mallikā flowers; bṛhat—very, very big; nitamba-stana—by her hips and firm breasts; kṛcchra-madhyamām—whose slim waist was overburdened; su-vāsasam—nicely painted or very attractively dressed; kalpita-karṇa-bhūṣaṇa—of the earrings arranged on her ears; tviṣā—by the brilliance; ullasat—very attractive; kuntala-maṇḍita-ānanām—whose beautiful face was surrounded by black hair; valgu-smita-apāṅga-visarga-vīkṣitaiḥ—by her casting her smiling glance on everyone very attractively; manaḥ harantīm—everyone’s attention was attracted (by her); vanitām—an especially attractive woman; vraja-okasām—of the inhabitants of Gokula; amaṁsata—thought; ambhoja—holding a lotus flower; kareṇa—with her hand; rūpiṇīm—very beautiful; gopyaḥ—the gopī inhabitants of Gokula; śriyam—the goddess of fortune; draṣṭum—to see; iva—as if; āgatām—had come; patim—her husband.
Her hips were full, her breasts were large and firm, seeming to overburden her slim waist, and she was dressed very nicely. Her hair, adorned with a garland of mallikā flowers, was scattered about her beautiful face. Her earrings were brilliant, and as she smiled very attractively, glancing upon everyone, her beauty drew the attention of all the inhabitants of Vraja, especially the men. When the gopīs saw her, they thought that the beautiful goddess of fortune, holding a lotus flower in her hand, had come to see her husband, Kṛṣṇa.
bāla-grahas tatra vicinvatī śiśūn
yadṛcchayā nanda-gṛhe ’sad-antakam
dadarśa talpe ’gnim ivāhitaṁ bhasi
bāla-grahaḥ—the witch, whose business was to kill small babies; tatra—standing there; vicinvatī—thinking of, searching for; śiśūn—children; yadṛcchayā—independently; nanda-gṛhe—in the house of Nanda Mahārāja; asat-antakam—who could kill all demons; bālam—the child; praticchanna—covered; nija-uru-tejasam—whose unlimited power; dadarśa—she saw; talpe—(lying) on the bed; agnim—fire; iva—just like; āhitam—covered; bhasi—within ashes.
While searching for small children, Pūtanā, whose business was to kill them, entered the house of Nanda Mahārāja unobstructed, having been sent by the superior potency of the Lord. Without asking anyone’s permission, she entered Nanda Mahārāja’s room, where she saw the child sleeping in bed, His unlimited power covered like a powerful fire covered by ashes. She could understand that this child was not ordinary, but was meant to kill all demons.
Demons are always busy creating disturbances and killing. But the child lying on the bed in the house of Nanda Mahārāja was meant to kill many demons.
vibudhya tāṁ bālaka-mārikā-grahaṁ
carācarātmā sa nimīlitekṣaṇaḥ
anantam āropayad aṅkam antakaṁ
yathoragaṁ suptam abuddhi-rajju-dhīḥ
vibudhya—understanding; tām—her (Pūtanā); bālaka-mārikā-graham—a witch very expert in killing small babies; cara-acara-ātmā—Kṛṣṇa, the all-pervading Supersoul; saḥ—He; nimīlita-īkṣaṇaḥ—closed His eyes; anantam—the Unlimited; āropayat—she placed; aṅkam—on her lap; antakam—for her own annihilation; yathā—as; uragam—a snake; suptam—while sleeping; abuddhi—a person who has no intelligence; rajju-dhīḥ—one who thinks a snake to be a rope.
Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the all-pervading Supersoul, lying on the bed, understood that Pūtanā, a witch who was expert in killing small children, had come to kill Him. Therefore, as if afraid of her, Kṛṣṇa closed His eyes. Thus Pūtanā took upon her lap Him who was to be her own annihilation, just as an unintelligent person places a sleeping snake on his lap, thinking the snake to be a rope.
In this verse there are two perplexities. When Kṛṣṇa saw that Pūtanā had come to kill Him, He thought that since this woman was present with motherly affection, although artificial, He had to offer her a benediction. Therefore He looked at her with a little perplexity and then closed His eyes again. Pūtanā Rākṣasī also was perplexed. She was not intelligent enough to understand that she was taking a sleeping snake on her lap; she thought the snake to be an ordinary rope. The two words antakam and anantam are contradictory. Because of not being intelligent, Pūtanā thought that she could kill her antakam, the source of her annihilation; but because He is ananta, unlimited, no one can kill Him.
tāṁ tīkṣṇa-cittām ativāma-ceṣṭitāṁ
vara-striyaṁ tat-prabhayā ca dharṣite
nirīkṣyamāṇe jananī hy atiṣṭhatām
tām—that (Pūtanā Rākṣasī); tīkṣṇa-cittām—having a very fierce heart for killing the child; ati-vāma-ceṣṭitām—although she was trying to treat the child better than a mother; vīkṣya antarā—seeing her within the room; koṣa-paricchada-asi-vat—like a sharp sword within a soft sheath; vara-striyam—the very beautiful woman; tat-prabhayā—by her influence; ca—also; dharṣite—being overwhelmed; nirīkṣyamāṇe—were seeing; jananī—the two mothers; hi—indeed; atiṣṭhatām—they remained silent, without prohibiting.
Pūtanā Rākṣasī’s heart was fierce and cruel, but she looked like a very affectionate mother. Thus she resembled a sharp sword in a soft sheath. Although seeing her within the room, Yaśodā and Rohiṇī, overwhelmed by her beauty, did not stop her, but remained silent because she treated the child like a mother.
Although Pūtanā was an outsider and although she personified fierce death because the determination within her heart was to kill the child, when she directly came and placed the child on her lap to offer the child her breast to suck, the mothers were so captivated by her beauty that they did not prohibit her. Sometimes a beautiful woman is dangerous because everyone, being captivated by external beauty (māyā-mohita), is unable to understand what is in her mind. Those who are captivated by the beauty of the external energy are called māyā-mohita. Mohitaṁ nābhijānāti mām ebhyaḥ param avyayam (Bg. 7.13). Na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇuṁ durāśayā ye bahir-artha-māninaḥ (Bhāg. 7.5.31). Here, of course, the two mothers Rohiṇī and Yaśodā were not māyā-mohita, deluded by the external energy, but to develop the pastimes of the Lord, they were captivated by yogamāyā. Such māyā-moha is the action of yogamāyā.
tasmin stanaṁ durjara-vīryam ulbaṇaṁ
ghorāṅkam ādāya śiśor dadāv atha
gāḍhaṁ karābhyāṁ bhagavān prapīḍya tat-
prāṇaiḥ samaṁ roṣa-samanvito ’pibat
tasmin—in that very spot; stanam—the breast; durjara-vīryam—a very powerful weapon mixed with poison; ulbaṇam—which was fierce; ghorā—the most ferocious Pūtanā; aṅkam—on her lap; ādāya—placing; śiśoḥ—in the mouth of the child; dadau—pushed; atha—thereupon; gāḍham—very hard; karābhyām—with both hands; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; prapīḍya—giving her great pain; tat-prāṇaiḥ—her life; samam—along with; roṣa-samanvitaḥ—being very angry at her; apibat—sucked the breast.
On that very spot, the fiercely dangerous Rākṣasī took Kṛṣṇa on her lap and pushed her breast into His mouth. The nipple of her breast was smeared with a dangerous, immediately effective poison, but the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, becoming very angry at her, took hold of her breast, squeezed it very hard with both hands, and sucked out both the poison and her life.
Lord Kṛṣṇa was not angry at Pūtanā for His own sake. Rather, He was angry because the Rākṣasī had killed so many small children in Vrajabhūmi. Therefore He decided that she should be punished by having to forfeit her life.
sā muñca muñcālam iti prabhāṣiṇī
vivṛtya netre caraṇau bhujau muhuḥ
prasvinna-gātrā kṣipatī ruroda ha
sā—she (Pūtanā Rākṣasī); muñca—give up; muñca—give up; alam—suck my breast no longer; iti—thus; prabhāṣiṇī—crying; niṣpīḍyamānā—being pressed severely; akhila-jīva-marmaṇi—in every center of her vitality; vivṛtya—opening wide; netre—her two eyes; caraṇau—two legs; bhujau—two hands; muhuḥ—again and again; prasvinna-gātrā—with her body perspiring; kṣipatī—throwing; ruroda—cried severely; ha—indeed.
Unbearably pressed in every vital point, the demon Pūtanā began to cry, “Please leave me, leave me! Suck my breast no longer!” Perspiring, her eyes wide open and her arms and legs flailing, she cried very loudly again and again.
The Rākṣasī was severely punished by Kṛṣṇa. She threw her arms and legs about, and Kṛṣṇa also began to kick her with His legs to punish her properly for her mischievous activities.
sādrir mahī dyauś ca cacāla sa-grahā
rasā diśaś ca pratinedire janāḥ
petuḥ kṣitau vajra-nipāta-śaṅkayā
tasyāḥ—of the great Rākṣasī Pūtanā; svanena—by the vibration of the sound; ati—very; gabhīra—deep; raṁhasā—forceful; sa-adriḥ—with the mountains; mahī—the surface of the world; dyauḥ ca—and outer space; cacāla—trembled; sa-grahā—with the stars; rasā—below the planet earth; diśaḥ ca—and all directions; pratinedire—vibrated; janāḥ—people in general; petuḥ—fell down; kṣitau—on the surface of the world; vajra-nipāta-śaṅkayā—by suspecting that thunderbolts were falling.
As Pūtanā screamed loudly and forcefully, the earth with its mountains, and outer space with its planets, trembled. The lower planets and all directions vibrated, and people fell down, fearing that thunderbolts were falling upon them.
Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura remarks that in this verse the word rasā refers to the planetary systems below the earth, such as Rasātala, Atala, Vitala, Sutala and Talātala.
niśā-carītthaṁ vyathita-stanā vyasur
vyādāya keśāṁś caraṇau bhujāv api
prasārya goṣṭhe nija-rūpam āsthitā
vajrāhato vṛtra ivāpatan nṛpa
niśā-carī—the Rākṣasī; ittham—in this way; vyathita-stanā—being severely aggrieved because of pressure on her breast; vyasuḥ—lost her life; vyādāya—opening her mouth wide; keśān—bunch of hairs; caraṇau—her two legs; bhujau—her two hands; api—also; prasārya—expanding; goṣṭhe—in the pasturing ground; nija-rūpam āsthitā—remained in her original demoniac form; vajra-āhataḥ—killed by the thunderbolt of Indra; vṛtraḥ—Vṛtrāsura; iva—as if; apatat—fell down; nṛpa—O King.
In this way the demon Pūtanā, very much aggrieved because her breast was being attacked by Kṛṣṇa, lost her life. O King Parīkṣit, opening her mouth wide and spreading her arms, legs and hair, she fell down in the pasturing ground in her original form as a Rākṣasī, as Vṛtrāsura had fallen when killed by the thunderbolt of Indra.
Pūtanā was a great Rākṣasī who knew the art of covering her original form by mystic power, but when she was killed her mystic power could not hide her, and she appeared in her original form.
patamāno ’pi tad-dehas
cūrṇayām āsa rājendra
mahad āsīt tad adbhutam
patamānaḥ api—even while falling down; tat-dehaḥ—her gigantic body; tri-gavyūti-antara—within a limit of twelve miles; drumān—all kinds of trees; cūrṇayām āsa—smashed; rājendra—O King Parīkṣit; mahat āsīt—was quite gigantic; tat—that body; adbhutam—and very, very wonderful.
O King Parīkṣit, when the gigantic body of Pūtanā fell to the ground, it smashed all the trees within a limit of twelve miles. Appearing in a gigantic body, she was certainly extraordinary.
Because of the grievous hurt imposed upon her by Kṛṣṇa’s sucking her breast, Pūtanā, while dying, not only left the room but abandoned the village and fell down in the pasturing ground in her gigantic body.
santatrasuḥ sma tad vīkṣya
gopā gopyaḥ kalevaram
pūrvaṁ tu tan-niḥsvanita-
īṣā-mātra—like the front of a plow; ugra—fierce; daṁṣṭra—the teeth; āsyam—having a mouth in which; giri-kandara—like mountain caves; nāsikam—the nostrils of whom; gaṇḍa-śaila—like big slabs of stone; stanam—the breasts of whom; raudram—very fierce; prakīrṇa—scattered; aruṇa-mūrdha-jam—whose hair was the color of copper; andha-kūpa—like blind wells; gabhīra—deep; akṣam—eye sockets; pulina-āroha-bhīṣaṇam—whose thighs were fearful like the banks of a river; baddha-setu-bhuja-uru-aṅghri—whose arms, thighs and feet were strongly built bridges; śūnya-toya-hrada-udaram—whose abdomen was like a lake without water; santatrasuḥ sma—became frightened; tat—that; vīkṣya—seeing; gopāḥ—the cowherd men; gopyaḥ—and the cowherd women; kalevaram—such a gigantic body; pūrvam tu—before that; tat-niḥsvanita—because of her loud vibration; bhinna—were shocked; hṛt—whose hearts; karṇa—ears; mastakāḥ—and heads.
The Rākṣasī’s mouth was full of teeth, each resembling the front of a plow, her nostrils were deep like mountain caves, and her breasts resembled big slabs of stone fallen from a hill. Her scattered hair was the color of copper. The sockets of her eyes appeared like deep blind wells, her fearful thighs resembled the banks of a river, her arms, legs and feet seemed like big bridges, and her abdomen appeared like a dried-up lake. The hearts, ears and heads of the cowherd men and women were already shocked by the Rākṣasī’s screaming, and when they saw the fierce wonder of her body, they were even more frightened.
bālaṁ ca tasyā urasi
gopyas tūrṇaṁ samabhyetya
bālam ca—the child also; tasyāḥ—of that (Rākṣasī Pūtanā); urasi—on the upper portion of the breast; krīḍantam—engaged in playing; akutobhayam—without fear; gopyaḥ—all the cowherd women; tūrṇam—immediately; samabhyetya—coming near; jagṛhuḥ—picked up; jāta-sambhramāḥ—with the same affection and respect they always maintained.
Without fear, the child Kṛṣṇa was playing on the upper portion of Pūtanā Rākṣasī’s breast, and when the gopīs saw the child’s wonderful activities, they immediately came forward with great jubilation and picked Him up.
Here is the Supreme Personality of Godhead—Kṛṣṇa. Although the Rākṣasī Pūtanā could increase or decrease her bodily size by her mystic abilities and thus gain proportionate power, the Supreme Personality of Godhead is equally powerful in any transcendental form. Kṛṣṇa is the real Personality of Godhead because whether as a child or as a grown-up young man, He is the same person. He does not need to become powerful by meditation or any other external endeavor. Therefore when the greatly powerful Pūtanā expanded her body, Kṛṣṇa remained the same small child and fearlessly played on the upper portion of her breast. Ṣaḍaiśvarya-pūrṇa. Bhagavān, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is always full in all potencies, regardless of whether He is present in this form or that. His potencies are always full. Parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate. He can display all potencies under any circumstances.
samaṁ bālasya sarvataḥ
rakṣāṁ vidadhire samyag
yaśodā-rohiṇībhyām—with mother Yaśodā and mother Rohiṇī, who principally took charge of the child; tāḥ—the other gopīs; samam—equally as important as Yaśodā and Rohiṇī; bālasya—of the child; sarvataḥ—from all dangers; rakṣām—protection; vidadhire—executed; samyak—completely; go-puccha-bhramaṇa-ādibhiḥ—by waving around the switch of a cow.
Thereafter, mother Yaśodā and Rohiṇī, along with the other elderly gopīs, waved about the switch of a cow to give full protection to the child Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
When Kṛṣṇa was saved from such a great danger, mother Yaśodā and Rohiṇī were principally concerned, and the other elderly gopīs, who were almost equally concerned, followed the activities of mother Yaśodā and Rohiṇī. Here we find that in household affairs, ladies could take charge of protecting a child simply by taking help from the cow. As described here, they knew how to wave about the switch of a cow so as to protect the child from all types of danger. There are so many facilities afforded by cow protection, but people have forgotten these arts. The importance of protecting cows is therefore stressed by Kṛṣṇa in Bhagavad-gītā (kṛṣi-go-rakṣya-vāṇijyaṁ vaiśya-karma svabhāvajam [Bg. 18.44]). Even now in the Indian villages surrounding Vṛndāvana, the villagers live happily simply by giving protection to the cow. They keep cow dung very carefully and dry it to use as fuel. They keep a sufficient stock of grains, and because of giving protection to the cows, they have sufficient milk and milk products to solve all economic problems. Simply by giving protection to the cow, the villagers live so peacefully. Even the urine and stool of cows have medicinal value.
rakṣāṁ cakruś ca śakṛtā
go-mūtreṇa—with the urine of the cows; snāpayitvā—after thoroughly washing; punaḥ—again; go-rajasā—with the dust floating because of the movements of the cows; arbhakam—unto the child; rakṣām—protection; cakruḥ—executed; ca—also; śakṛtā—with the cow dung; dvādaśa-aṅgeṣu—in twelve places (dvādaśa-tilaka); nāmabhīḥ—by imprinting the holy names of the Lord.
The child was thoroughly washed with cow urine and then smeared with the dust raised by the movements of the cows. Then different names of the Lord were applied with cow dung on twelve different parts of His body, beginning with the forehead, as done in applying tilaka. In this way, the child was given protection.
aṅgeṣu karayoḥ pṛthak
nyasyātmany atha bālasya
gopyaḥ—the gopīs; saṁspṛṣṭa-salilāḥ—touching a cup of water and drinking; aṅgeṣu—on their bodies; karayoḥ—on their two hands; pṛthak—separately; nyasya—after placing the letters of the mantra; ātmani—on their own; atha—then; bālasya—of the child; bīja-nyāsam—the process of mantra-nyāsa; akurvata—executed.
The gopīs first executed the process of ācamana, drinking a sip of water from the right hand. They purified their bodies and hands with the nyāsa-mantra and then applied the same mantra upon the body of the child.
Nyāsa-mantra includes ācamana, or first drinking a sip of water kept in the right hand. There are different viṣṇu-mantras to purify the body. The gopīs, and in fact any householders, knew the process for being purified by chanting Vedic hymns. The gopīs executed this process first to purify themselves and then to purify the child Kṛṣṇa. One executes the process of aṅga-nyāsa and kara-nyāsa simply by drinking a little sip of water and chanting the mantra. The mantra is preceded with the first letter of the name, followed by anusvāra and the word namaḥ: oṁ namo ’jas tavāṅghrī avyāt, maṁ mano maṇimāṁs tava jānunī avyāt, and so on. By losing Indian culture, Indian householders have forgotten how to execute the aṅga-nyāsa and are simply busy in sense gratification, without any advanced knowledge of human civilization.
avyād ajo ’ṅghri maṇimāṁs tava jānv athorū
yajño ’cyutaḥ kaṭi-taṭaṁ jaṭharaṁ hayāsyaḥ
hṛt keśavas tvad-ura īśa inas tu kaṇṭhaṁ
viṣṇur bhujaṁ mukham urukrama īśvaraḥ kam
cakry agrataḥ saha-gado harir astu paścāt
tvat-pārśvayor dhanur-asī madhu-hājanaś ca
koṇeṣu śaṅkha urugāya upary upendras
tārkṣyaḥ kṣitau haladharaḥ puruṣaḥ samantāt
avyāt—may protect; ajaḥ—Lord Aja; aṅghri—legs; maṇimān—Lord Maṇimān; tava—Your; jānu—knees; atha—thereafter; urū—thighs; yajñaḥ—Lord Yajña; acyutaḥ—Lord Acyuta; kaṭi-taṭam—the upper part of the waist; jaṭharam—abdomen; hayāsyaḥ—Lord Hayagrīva; hṛt—the heart; keśavaḥ—Lord Keśava; tvat—Your; uraḥ—chest; īśaḥ—the supreme controller, Lord Īśa; inaḥ—Sūrya, the sun-god; tu—but; kaṇṭham—neck; viṣṇuḥ—Lord Viṣṇu; bhujam—arms; mukham—the mouth; urukramaḥ—Lord Urukrama; īśvaraḥ—Lord Īśvara; kam—head; cakrī—the carrier of the disc; agrataḥ—in front; saha-gadaḥ—the carrier of the club; hariḥ—Lord Hari; astu—may He remain; paścāt—on the back; tvat-pārśvayoḥ—on both sides; dhanuḥ-asī—the carrier of the bow and the sword; madhu-hā—the killer of the demon Madhu; ajanaḥ—Lord Viṣṇu; ca—and; koṇeṣu—in the corners; śaṅkhaḥ—the carrier of the conchshell; urugāyaḥ—who is well worshiped; upari—above; upendraḥ—Lord Upendra; tārkṣyaḥ—Garuḍa; kṣitau—on the surface; haladharaḥ—Lord Haladhara; puruṣaḥ—the Supreme Person; samantāt—on all sides.
[Śukadeva Gosvāmī informed Mahārāja Parīkṣit that the gopīs, following the proper system, protected Kṛṣṇa, their child, with this mantra.] May Aja protect Your legs, may Maṇimān protect Your knees, Yajña Your thighs, Acyuta the upper part of Your waist, and Hayagrīva Your abdomen. May Keśava protect Your heart, Īśa Your chest, the sun-god Your neck, Viṣṇu Your arms, Urukrama Your face, and Īśvara Your head. May Cakrī protect You from the front; may Śrī Hari, Gadādharī, the carrier of the club, protect You from the back; and may the carrier of the bow, who is known as the enemy of Madhu, and Lord Ajana, the carrier of the sword, protect Your two sides. May Lord Urugāya, the carrier of the conchshell, protect You from all corners; may Upendra protect You from above; may Garuḍa protect You on the ground; and may Lord Haladhara, the Supreme Person, protect You on all sides.
Even in the houses of the cultivators, who were not very advanced in the modern ways of civilization, the ladies used to know how to chant mantras to give protection to children with the help of cow dung and cow urine. This was a simple and practical way to give the greatest protection from the greatest dangers. People should know how to do this, for this is a part of Vedic civilization.
prāṇān nārāyaṇo ’vatu
mano yogeśvaro ’vatu
indriyāṇi—all the senses; hṛṣīkeśaḥ—Lord Hṛṣīkeśa, the proprietor of all the senses; prāṇān—all kinds of life air; nārāyaṇaḥ—Lord Nārāyaṇa; avatu—may He give protection; śvetadvīpa-patiḥ—the master of Śvetadvīpa, Viṣṇu; cittam—the core of the heart; manaḥ—the mind; yogeśvaraḥ—Lord Yogeśvara; avatu—may He give protection.
May Hṛṣīkeśa protect Your senses, and Nārāyaṇa Your life air. May the master of Śvetadvīpa protect the core of Your heart, and may Lord Yogeśvara protect Your mind.
pṛśnigarbhas tu te buddhim
ātmānaṁ bhagavān paraḥ
krīḍantaṁ pātu govindaḥ
śayānaṁ pātu mādhavaḥ
vrajantam avyād vaikuṇṭha
āsīnaṁ tvāṁ śriyaḥ patiḥ
bhuñjānaṁ yajñabhuk pātu
pṛśnigarbhaḥ—Lord Pṛśnigarbha; tu—indeed; te—Your; buddhim—intelligence; ātmānam—Your soul; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; paraḥ—transcendental; krīḍantam—while playing; pātu—may He protect; govindaḥ—Lord Govinda; śayānam—while sleeping; pātu—may He protect; mādhavaḥ—Lord Mādhava; vrajantam—while walking; avyāt—may He protect; vaikuṇṭhaḥ—Lord Vaikuṇṭha; āsīnam—while sitting down; tvām—unto You; śriyaḥ patiḥ—Nārāyaṇa, the husband of the goddess of fortune (may protect); bhuñjānam—while enjoying life; yajñabhuk—Yajñabhuk; pātu—may He protect; sarva-graha-bhayam-karaḥ—who is fearful to all evil planets.
May Lord Pṛśnigarbha protect Your intelligence, and the Supreme Personality of Godhead Your soul. While You are playing, may Govinda protect You, and while You are sleeping may Mādhava protect You. May Lord Vaikuṇṭha protect You while You are walking, and may Lord Nārāyaṇa, the husband of the goddess of fortune, protect You while You are sitting. Similarly, may Lord Yajñabhuk, the fearful enemy of all evil planets, always protect You while You enjoy life.
ḍākinyo yātudhānyaś ca
kuṣmāṇḍā ye ’rbhaka-grahāḥ
koṭarā revatī jyeṣṭhā
unmādā ye hy apasmārā
vṛddhā bāla-grahāś ca ye
sarve naśyantu te viṣṇor
ḍākinyaḥ yātudhānyaḥ ca kuṣmāṇḍāḥ—witches and devils, enemies of children; ye—those who are; arbhaka-grahāḥ—like evil stars for children; bhūta—evil spirits; preta—evil hobgoblins; piśācāḥ—similar bad spirits; ca—also; yakṣa—the living entities known as Yakṣas; rakṣaḥ—those known as Rākṣasas; vināyakāḥ—those by the name Vināyaka; koṭarā—by the name Koṭarā; revatī—by the name Revatī; jyeṣṭhā—by the name Jyeṣṭhā; pūtanā—by the name Pūtanā; mātṛkā-ādayaḥ—and evil women like Mātṛkā; unmādāḥ—those who cause madness; ye—which others; hi—indeed; apasmārāḥ—causing loss of memory; deha-prāṇa-indriya—to the body, life air and senses; druhaḥ—give trouble; svapna-dṛṣṭāḥ—the evil spirits that cause bad dreams; mahā-utpātāḥ—those causing great disturbances; vṛddhāḥ—the most experienced; bāla-grahāḥ ca—and those attacking children; ye—who; sarve—all of them; naśyantu—let be vanquished; te—those; viṣṇoḥ—of Lord Viṣṇu; nāma-grahaṇa—by the chanting of the name; bhīravaḥ—become afraid.
The evil witches known as Ḍākinīs, Yātudhānīs and Kuṣmāṇḍas are the greatest enemies of children, and the evil spirits like Bhūtas, Pretas, Piśācas, Yakṣas, Rākṣasas and Vināyakas, as well as witches like Koṭarā, Revatī, Jyeṣṭhā, Pūtanā and Mātṛkā, are always ready to give trouble to the body, the life air and the senses, causing loss of memory, madness and bad dreams. Like the most experienced evil stars, they all create great disturbances, especially for children, but one can vanquish them simply by uttering Lord Viṣṇu’s name, for when Lord Viṣṇu’s name resounds, all of them become afraid and go away.
“I worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda, who is the original person—nondual, infallible, and without beginning. Although He expands into unlimited forms, He is still the original, and although He is the oldest person, He always appears as a fresh youth. Such eternal, blissful and all-knowing forms of the Lord cannot be understood by the academic wisdom of the Vedas, but they are always manifest to pure, unalloyed devotees.”
While decorating the body with tilaka, we give protection to the body by chanting twelve names of Viṣṇu. Although Govinda, or Lord Viṣṇu, is one, He has different names and forms with which to act differently. But if one cannot remember all the names at one time, one may simply chant, “Lord Viṣṇu, Lord Viṣṇu, Lord Viṣṇu,” and always think of Lord Viṣṇu. Viṣṇor ārādhanaṁ param: this is the highest form of worship. If one remembers Viṣṇu always, even though one is disturbed by many bad elements, one can be protected without a doubt. The Āyurveda-śāstra recommends, auṣadhi cintayet viṣṇum: even while taking medicine, one should remember Viṣṇu, because the medicine is not all and all and Lord Viṣṇu is the real protector. The material world is full of danger (padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadām). Therefore one must become a Vaiṣṇava and think of Viṣṇu constantly. This is made easier by the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. Therefore Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has recommended, kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ [Cc. adi 17.31] paraṁ vijayate śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtanam, and kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya mukta-saṅgaḥ paraṁ vrajet.
pāyayitvā stanaṁ mātā
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; iti—in this way; praṇaya-baddhābhiḥ—who were bound with maternal affection; gopībhiḥ—by the elderly gopīs, headed by mother Yaśodā; kṛta-rakṣaṇam—all measures were taken to protect the child; pāyayitvā—and after that, feeding the child; stanam—the nipple; mātā—mother Yaśodā; sannyaveśayat—made to lie down on the bed; ātmajam—her son.
Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: All the gopīs, headed by mother Yaśodā, were bound by maternal affection. After they thus chanted mantras to protect the child, mother Yaśodā gave the child the nipple of her breast to suck and then got Him to lie down on His bed.
When a baby drinks milk from the breast of his mother, this is a good sign of health. So the elderly gopīs were not satisfied with chanting mantras to give protection to Kṛṣṇa; they also tested whether their child’s health was in order. When the child sucked the breast, this confirmed that He was healthy, and when the gopīs were fully satisfied, they had the child lie down on His bed.
tāvan nandādayo gopā
mathurāyā vrajaṁ gatāḥ
tāvat—in the meantime; nanda-ādayaḥ—headed by Nanda Mahārāja; gopāḥ—all the cowherd men; mathurāyāḥ—from Mathurā; vrajam—to Vṛndāvana; gatāḥ—came back; vilokya—when they saw; pūtanā-deham—the gigantic body of Pūtanā lying dead; babhūvuḥ—became; ati—very much; vismitāḥ—struck with wonder.
Meanwhile, all the cowherd men, headed by Nanda Mahārāja, returned from Mathurā, and when they saw on the way the gigantic body of Pūtanā lying dead, they were struck with great wonder.
Nanda Mahārāja’s wonder may be understood in various ways. First of all, the cowherd men had never before seen such a gigantic body in Vṛndāvana, and therefore they were struck with wonder. Then they began to consider where such a body had come from, whether it had dropped from the sky, or whether, by some mistake or by the power of some mystic yoginī, they had come to some place other than Vṛndāvana. They could not actually guess what had happened, and therefore they were struck with wonder.
nūnaṁ batarṣiḥ sañjāto
yogeśo vā samāsa saḥ
sa eva dṛṣṭo hy utpāto
nūnam—certainly; bata—O my friends; ṛṣiḥ—a great saintly person; sañjātaḥ—has become; yoga-īśaḥ—a master of mystic power; vā—or; samāsa—has become; saḥ—he (Vasudeva); saḥ—that; eva—indeed; dṛṣṭaḥ—has been seen (by us); hi—because; utpātaḥ—kind of disturbance; yat—that which; āha—predicted; ānakadundubhiḥ—Ānakadundubhi (another name of Vasudeva).
Nanda Mahārāja and the other gopas exclaimed: My dear friends, you must know that Ānakadundubhi, Vasudeva, has become a great saint or a master of mystic power. Otherwise how could he have foreseen this calamity and predicted it to us?
This verse illustrates the difference between kṣatriyas and innocent vaiśyas. By studying the political situation, Vasudeva could see what would happen, whereas Nanda Mahārāja, the king of the agriculturalists, could only guess that Vasudeva was a great saintly person and had developed mystic powers. Vasudeva actually had all mystic powers under his control; otherwise he could not have become the father of Kṛṣṇa. But in fact he foresaw the calamities in Vraja by studying Kaṁsa’s political activities and thus warned Nanda Mahārāja to take precautions, although Nanda Mahārāja thought that Vasudeva had predicted this incident through wonderful mystic powers. By mystic powers gained through the practice of haṭha-yoga, one can study and understand the future.
chittvā tat te vrajaukasaḥ
kalevaram—the gigantic body of Pūtanā; paraśubhiḥ—with the aid of axes; chittvā—after cutting to pieces; tat—that (body); te—all of those; vraja-okasaḥ—inhabitants of Vraja; dūre—far, far away; kṣiptvā—after throwing; avayavaśaḥ—different parts of the body, piece by piece; nyadahan—burned to ashes; kāṣṭha-veṣṭitam—covered by wood.
The inhabitants of Vraja cut the gigantic body of Pūtanā into pieces with the help of axes. Then they threw the pieces far away, covered them with wood and burned them to ashes.
It is the practice that after a snake has been killed, its body is cut into various pieces for fear that it may come to life again simply by interacting with air. Merely killing a serpent is not sufficient; after it is killed, it must be cut to pieces and burned, and then the danger will be over. Pūtanā resembled a great serpent, and therefore the cowherd men took the same precautions by burning her body to ashes.
dahyamānasya—while being burnt to ashes; dehasya—of the body of Pūtanā; dhūmaḥ—the smoke; ca—and; aguru-saurabhaḥ—turned into saintly scented smoke of the aguru herb; utthitaḥ—emanating from her body; kṛṣṇa-nirbhukta—because of Kṛṣṇa’s having sucked her breast; sapadi—immediately; āhata-pāpmanaḥ—her material body became spiritualized or relieved of all material conditions.
Because of Kṛṣṇa’s having sucked the breast of the Rākṣasī Pūtanā, when Kṛṣṇa killed her she was immediately freed of all material contamination. Her sinful reactions automatically vanished, and therefore when her gigantic body was being burnt, the smoke emanating from her body was fragrant like aguru incense.
Such are the effects of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. If one somehow or other becomes Kṛṣṇa conscious by applying his senses in the service of the Lord, one is immediately freed from material contamination. Śṛṇvatāṁ sva-kathāḥ kṛṣṇaḥ puṇya-śravaṇa-kīrtanaḥ (Bhāg. 1.2.17). Hearing about the activities of Kṛṣṇa is the beginning of purified life. Puṇya-śravaṇa-kīrtanaḥ: simply by hearing and chanting, one becomes purified. Therefore, in discharging devotional service, śravaṇa-kīrtana (hearing and chanting) is most important. Then, with purified senses, one begins to render service to the Lord (hṛṣīkeṇa hṛṣīkeśa-sevanam [Cc. Madhya 19.170]). Bhaktir ucyate: this is called bhakti. When Pūtanā was somehow or other, directly or indirectly, induced to render some service to the Lord by feeding Him with her breast, she was immediately purified, so much so that when her nasty material body was burnt to ashes, it gave off the fragrance of aguru, the most agreeably scented herb.
stanaṁ dattvāpa sad-gatim
kiṁ punaḥ śraddhayā bhaktyā
yacchan priyatamaṁ kiṁ nu
raktās tan-mātaro yathā
pūtanā—Pūtanā, the professional Rākṣasī; loka-bāla-ghnī—who used to kill human children; rākṣasī—the she-demon; rudhira-aśanā—simply hankering for blood; jighāṁsayā—with the desire to kill Kṛṣṇa (being envious of Kṛṣṇa and having been instructed by Kaṁsa); api—still; haraye—unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead; stanam—her breast; dattvā—after offering; āpa—obtained; sat-gatim—the most elevated position of spiritual existence; kim—what to speak of; punaḥ—again; śraddhayā—with faith; bhaktyā—by devotion; kṛṣṇāya—unto Lord Kṛṣṇa; paramātmane—who is the Supreme Person; yacchan—offering; priya-tamam—the dearmost; kim—something; nu—indeed; raktāḥ—those who have an affinity; tat-mātaraḥ—Kṛṣṇa’s affectionate mothers (offering the beloved child their breasts); yathā—exactly like.
Pūtanā was always hankering for the blood of human children, and with that desire she came to kill Kṛṣṇa; but because she offered her breast to the Lord, she attained the greatest achievement. What then is to be said of those who had natural devotion and affection for Kṛṣṇa as mothers and who offered Him their breasts to suck or offered something very dear, as a mother offers something to a child?
Pūtanā had no affection for Kṛṣṇa; rather, she was envious and wanted to kill Him. Nonetheless, because with or without knowledge she offered her breast, she attained the highest achievement in life. But the offerings of devotees attracted to Kṛṣṇa in parental love are always sincere. A mother likes to offer something to her child with affection and love; there is no question of envy. So here we can make a comparative study. If Pūtanā could attain such an exalted position in spiritual life by neglectfully, enviously making an offering to Kṛṣṇa, what is to be said of mother Yaśodā and the other gopīs, who served Kṛṣṇa with such great affection and love, offering everything for Kṛṣṇa’s satisfaction? The gopīs automatically achieved the highest perfection. Therefore Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu recommended the affection of the gopīs, either in maternal affection or in conjugal love, as the highest perfection in life (ramyā kācid upāsanā vrajavadhū-vargeṇa yā kalpitā).
aṅgaṁ yasyāḥ samākramya
bhagavān api tat-stanam
yātudhāny api sā svargam
kim u gāvo ’numātaraḥ
padbhyām—by the two lotus feet; bhakta-hṛdi-sthābhyām—which are always thought of by pure devotees, in whose heart the Lord is therefore situated constantly; vandyābhyām—which are always to be praised; loka-vanditaiḥ—by Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva, who are praised by all the inhabitants of the three worlds; aṅgam—the body; yasyāḥ—of whom (Pūtanā); samākramya—embracing; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; api—also; tat-stanam—that breast; yātudhānī api—although she was a witch (whose only business was to kill small children and who had tried to kill Kṛṣṇa also); sā—she; svargam—the transcendental abode; avāpa—achieved; jananī-gatim—the position of a mother; kṛṣṇa-bhukta-stana-kṣīrāḥ—therefore, because their breasts were sucked by Kṛṣṇa, who drank the milk flowing from their bodies; kim u—what to speak of; gāvaḥ—the cows; anumātaraḥ—exactly like mothers (who allowed their nipples to be sucked by Kṛṣṇa).
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, is always situated within the core of the heart of the pure devotee, and He is always offered prayers by such worshipable personalities as Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva. Because Kṛṣṇa embraced Pūtanā’s body with great pleasure and sucked her breast, although she was a great witch, she attained the position of a mother in the transcendental world and thus achieved the highest perfection. What then is to be said of the cows whose nipples Kṛṣṇa sucked with great pleasure and who offered their milk very jubilantly with affection exactly like that of a mother?
These verses explain how devotional service rendered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whether directly or indirectly, knowingly or unknowingly, becomes successful. Pūtanā was neither a devotee nor a nondevotee; she was actually a demoniac witch instructed by Kaṁsa to kill Kṛṣṇa. Nonetheless, in the beginning she assumed the form of a very beautiful woman and approached Kṛṣṇa exactly like an affectionate mother, so that mother Yaśodā and Rohiṇī did not doubt her sincerity. The Lord took all this into consideration, and thus she was automatically promoted to a position like that of mother Yaśodā. As explained by Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, there are various roles one may play in such a position. Pūtanā was immediately promoted to Vaikuṇṭhaloka, which is also sometimes described as Svarga. The Svarga mentioned in this verse is not the material heavenly planet, but the transcendental world. In Vaikuṇṭhaloka, Pūtanā attained the position of a nurse (dhātry-ucitām), as described by Uddhava. Pūtanā was elevated to the position of a nurse and maidservant in Goloka Vṛndāvana to assist mother Yaśodā.
payāṁsi yāsām apibat
tāsām avirataṁ kṛṣṇe
na punaḥ kalpate rājan
payāṁsi—milk (coming from the body); yāsām—of all of whom; apibat—Lord Kṛṣṇa drank; putra-sneha-snutāni—that milk coming from the bodies of the gopīs, not artificially but because of maternal affection; alam—sufficiently; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; devakī-putraḥ—who appeared as the son of Devakī; kaivalya-ādi—like liberation or merging into the Brahman effulgence; akhila-pradaḥ—the bestower of all similar blessings; tāsām—of all of them (of all the gopīs); aviratam—constantly; kṛṣṇe—unto Lord Kṛṣṇa; kurvatīnām—making; suta-īkṣaṇam—as a mother looks upon her child; na—never; punaḥ—again; kalpate—can be imagined; rājan—O King Parīkṣit; saṁsāraḥ—the material bondage of birth and death; ajñāna-sambhavaḥ—which is to be accepted by foolish persons ignorantly trying to become happy.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, is the bestower of many benedictions, including liberation [kaivalya], or oneness with the Brahman effulgence. For that Personality of Godhead, the gopīs always felt maternal love, and Kṛṣṇa sucked their breasts with full satisfaction. Therefore, because of their relationship as mother and son, although the gopīs were engaged in various family activities, one should never think that they returned to this material world after leaving their bodies.
The advantage of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is described herein. Kṛṣṇa consciousness gradually develops on the transcendental platform. One may think of Kṛṣṇa as the supreme personality, one may think of Kṛṣṇa as the supreme master, one may think of Kṛṣṇa as the supreme friend, one may think of Kṛṣṇa as the supreme son, or one may think of Kṛṣṇa as the supreme conjugal lover. If one is connected with Kṛṣṇa in any of these transcendental relationships, the course of one’s material life is understood to have already ended. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (4.9), tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti: for such devotees, going back home, back to Godhead, is guaranteed. Na punaḥ kalpate rājan saṁsāro jñāna-sambhavaḥ. This verse also guarantees that devotees who constantly think of Kṛṣṇa in a particular relationship will never return to this material world. In this material world of saṁsāra, there are the same relationships. One thinks, “Here is my son,” “Here is my wife,” “Here is my lover,” or “Here is my friend.” But these relationships are temporary illusions. Ajñāna-sambhavaḥ: such a consciousness awakens in ignorance. But when the same relationships awaken in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one’s spiritual life is revived, and one is guaranteed to return home, back to Godhead. Even though the gopīs who were friends of Rohiṇī and mother Yaśodā and who allowed their breasts to be sucked by Kṛṣṇa were not directly Kṛṣṇa’s mothers, they all had the same chance as Rohiṇī and Yaśodā to go back to Godhead and act as Kṛṣṇa’s mothers-in-law, servants and so on. The word saṁsāra refers to attachment for one’s body, home, husband or wife, and children, but although the gopīs and all the other inhabitants of Vṛndāvana had the same affection and attachment for husband and home, their central affection was for Kṛṣṇa in some transcendental relationship, and therefore they were guaranteed to be promoted to Goloka Vṛndāvana in the next life, to live with Kṛṣṇa eternally in spiritual happiness. The easiest way to attain spiritual elevation, to be liberated from this material world, and to go back home, back to Godhead, is recommended by Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura: kṛṣṇera saṁsāra kara chāḍi’ anācāra. One should give up all sinful activities and remain in the family of Kṛṣṇa. Then one’s liberation is guaranteed.
kim idaṁ kuta eveti
vadanto vrajam āyayuḥ
kaṭa-dhūmasya—of the smoke emanating from the fire burning the different parts of Pūtanā’s body; saurabhyam—the fragrance; avaghrāya—when they smelled through their nostrils; vraja-okasaḥ—the inhabitants of Vrajabhūmi in distant places; kim idam—what is this fragrance; kutaḥ—where does it come from; eva—indeed; iti—in this way; vadantaḥ—speaking; vrajam—the place of Nanda Mahārāja, Vrajabhūmi; āyayuḥ—reached.
Upon smelling the fragrance of the smoke emanating from Pūtanā’s burning body, many inhabitants of Vrajabhūmi in distant places were astonished. “Where is this fragrance coming from?” they asked. Thus they went to the spot where Pūtanā’s body was being burnt.
The aroma of the smoke emanating from a burning fire is not always very favorable. Therefore upon smelling such a wonderful fragrance, the inhabitants of Vraja were astonished.
te tatra varṇitaṁ gopaiḥ
śrutvā tan-nidhanaṁ svasti
śiśoś cāsan suvismitāḥ
te—all those persons who arrived; tatra—there (in the vicinity of Nanda Mahārāja’s estate); varṇitam—described; gopaiḥ—by the cowherd men; pūtanā-āgamana-ādikam—everything about how Pūtanā the witch had come there and played havoc; śrutvā—after hearing; tat-nidhanam—and about how Pūtanā had died; svasti—all auspiciousness; śiśoḥ—for the baby; ca—and; āsan—offered; su-vismitāḥ—being struck with great wonder because of what had happened.
When the inhabitants of Vraja who had come from distant places heard the whole story of how Pūtanā had come and then been killed by Kṛṣṇa, they were certainly astonished, and they offered their blessings to the child for His wonderful deed of killing Pūtanā. Nanda Mahārāja, of course, was very much obliged to Vasudeva, who had foreseen the incident, and simply thanked him, thinking how wonderful Vasudeva was.
nandaḥ sva-putram ādāya
mūrdhny upāghrāya paramāṁ
mudaṁ lebhe kurūdvaha
nandaḥ—Mahārāja Nanda; sva-putram ādāya—taking his son Kṛṣṇa on his lap; pretya-āgatam—as if Kṛṣṇa had returned from death (no one could even imagine that from such danger a child could be saved); udāra-dhīḥ—because he was always liberal and simple; mūrdhni—on the head of Kṛṣṇa; upāghrāya—formally smelling; paramām—highest; mudam—peace; lebhe—achieved; kuru-udvaha—O Mahārāja Parīkṣit.
O Mahārāja Parīkṣit, best of the Kurus, Nanda Mahārāja was very liberal and simple. He immediately took his son Kṛṣṇa on his lap as if Kṛṣṇa had returned from death, and by formally smelling his son’s head, Nanda Mahārāja undoubtedly enjoyed transcendental bliss.
Nanda Mahārāja could not understand how the inhabitants of his house had allowed Pūtanā to enter the house, nor could he imagine the gravity of the situation. He did not understand that Kṛṣṇa had wanted to kill Pūtanā and that His pastimes were performed by yogamāyā. Nanda Mahārāja simply thought that someone had entered his house and created havoc. This was Nanda Mahārāja’s simplicity.
ya etat pūtanā-mokṣaṁ
śṛṇuyāc chraddhayā martyo
govinde labhate ratim
yaḥ—anyone who; etat—this; pūtanā-mokṣam—salvation of Pūtanā; kṛṣṇasya—of Kṛṣṇa; ārbhakam—the childhood pastimes; adbhutam—wonderful; śṛṇuyāt—should hear; śraddhayā—with faith and devotion; martyaḥ—any person within this material world; govinde—for the Supreme Person, Govinda, Ādi-puruṣa; labhate—gains; ratim—attachment.
Any person who hears with faith and devotion about how Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, killed Pūtanā, and who thus invests his hearing in such childhood pastimes of Kṛṣṇa, certainly attains attachment for Govinda, the supreme, original person.
The incident in which the great witch attempted to kill the child but was killed herself is certainly wonderful. Therefore this verse uses the word adbhutam, meaning “specifically wonderful.” Kṛṣṇa has left us many wonderful narrations about Him. Simply by reading these narrations, as they are described in Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one gains salvation from this material world and gradually develops attachment to and devotion for Govinda, Ādi-puruṣa.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Tenth Canto, Sixth Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “The Killing of the Demon Pūtanā.”
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