Gopal's Pastimes

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Sri Krishna Janmastami, evening, Tarakeswar
23 August 2019, part 3, translated from Bengali

 

You have all heard how Gopal Krishna appeared in the prison of Kamsa. When Vasudev was taking Devaki in a chariot together with Kamsa, Kamsa heard a message from the sky. What did he hear? "You will be destroyed by the hand of your sister's eighth son!" Getting this news, he decided not to wait for the eighth son—he killed all Devaki's children. He was so cruel. At first, he wanted to kill Devaki, but Vasudev fell at his feet and begged him not to kill her, "You are a king, it does not befit you. Your duty is to respect and protect women, and she is your sister. Why do you want to kill her? Better you lock us up in prison and we will give you every child we get." Cruel Kamsa did that—he locked them in prison.

If you go to Mathura, you can get the darshan of that prison. When we go to Vrindavan, we stop in Mathura and go there. Mahaprabhu also went there. Krishna's great-grandson Vajranabh also established the temple of Adi-Keshav, we go there to pay our obeisance too. The prison cell where Kamsa kept Devaki and Vasudev is such a small place, but by the will of the Lord everything can be possible. Where were the guards? Where were the locked doors? Where were the locks, the gates, etc.? Everything was open—and nothing impeded Vasudev when he carried Lord Krishna out.

When Kamsa got the news of the child's birth, he was astonished that it was a girl, Maya. When he killed her, she rose in the air and said, "He who will kill you already lives in Gokula." After that, Kamsa began his atrocities. Who did he send first? Putana. Gopal was just three days old at that time. Krishna gave her His mercy—because she came to Krishna as a mother and gave Him motherly affection, Krishna drank her poisoned breast milk. However, Krishna did not die—instead, when Krishna began drinking Putana's milk, her true demoniac form was exposed and when she died her soul came to the Lord. Nothing happened to her—only her demoniac form fell off, but her soul left for Goloka Vrindavan.

After that, many other demons came there—Aghasur, Bakasur, Vatsasur., etc. Kamsa tried so hard to kill Krishna.

During Vrindavan parikrama, we also go to Brahmanda ghat. What pastime did Krishna show there? One day, boys came to Mother Yasoda and complained, "Ma, do you know what Gopal did today? He has been eating soil!" Gopal thought, "This body is made of soil (the body is made of five elements—earth, water, fire, air, and ether), so why cannot I eat soil?" Having got the news, Mother Yasoda anxiously ran to Gopal—she put her finger into His mouth to take the soil out, but when Gopal opened His mouth wide, she saw the entire universe and all the thirty-three million demigods in it! She was startled for a moment, "Who is He?" but then, because of the vatsalya-rasa, she could not see Krishna as anyone other than her son. She could beat Him, she could scold Him, she tied Him, what she did not do out of her motherly love! She raised Him, she cleaned His stool, she nurtured Him, etc.

Sometimes, when a mother takes a child on her lap and feeds him, the child passes stool on his mother—does mother hate the child for that? Does she stop feeding the child because of that? She does not. She finishes feeding the child, cleans the child and again takes him on her lap. Is it not so, tell me? Mothers do not reject their children because they pass stool on them. Mother Yasoda and Nanda Maharaj too cleaned Krishna's mess.

Some time later, Gopal learnt to crawl. You know, when babies learn to crawl, they can crawl far, so Mother Yasoda always worried what Gopal was doing and if he had not crawl away somewhere. Also, I do not know if you have ever seen it, but in old days when they made butter, they would use a big mortar and churn it inside a pot of milk. So, one day, Mother Yasoda put some milk to boil on the stove and began to churn butter in the meantime. At that time, Krishna came to her and asked her for milk. Mother Yasoda told Him, "Wait a little, I have milk boiling on the stove." Krishna wanted milk right away and kept insisting, so Mother Yasoda pushed Him aside. Gopal got angry and decided, "I will spoil all your butter, curd, etc.!" Then, Gopal called Balai and other friends. The butter was kept high above the ground, near the ceiling, so to reach it (they were all little children), each boy climbed on top of another boy's shoulders and, reaching the pots with butter, Krishna started feeding the butter to monkeys. Whatever butter, curd, etc. was in the room, Krishna fed everything to monkeys! Then, Yasoda suddenly remembered about Gopal, "Where has Gopal gone? He went away crying, where is He?" When she came to the storeroom, she was shocked, "Oh no, everything is spoilt! Gopal has become so naughty!"

We sing in the kirtan during the Damodar month,

namamisvaram sach-chid-ananda rupam
lasat-kundalam gokule bhrajamanam
yasoda-bhiyolukhalad dhavamanam
paramrstam atyantato drutya gopya [1]

"To the Supreme Lord, whose form is the embodiment of eternal existence, knowledge, and bliss, whose shark-shaped earrings are swinging to and fro, who is beautifully shining in the divine realm of Gokula, who [due to the offence of breaking the pot of yogurt that his mother was churning into butter and then stealing the butter that was kept hanging from a swing] is quickly running from the wooden grinding mortar in fear of Mother Yasoda, but who has been caught from behind by her who ran after Him with greater speed—to that Supreme Lord, Sri Damodara, I offer my humble obeisances."

rudantam muhur netra-yugmam mrjantam
karambhoja-yugmena satanka-netram
muhuh svasa-kampa-trirekhanka-kanthasthita-
graivam damodaram bhakti-baddham [2]

"[Seeing the whipping stick in His mother's hand,] He is crying and rubbing His eyes again and again with His two lotus hands. His eyes are filled with fear, and the necklace of pearls around His neck, which is marked with three lines like a conchshell, is shaking because of His quick breathing due to crying. To this Supreme Lord, Sri Damodara, whose belly is bound not with ropes but with His mother's pure love, I offer my humble obeisances."

Mother Yasoda became very angry, and Gopal got scared and started crying—tears came from His eyes, "Mother is going to beat Me!" Mother Yasoda called all the servants and maidservants who were at the house and asked them to bring all rope they could find. She decided to tie Gopal, but no matter how much rope she used, she could not bind Him—the rope was always too short! All the rope had been used, but still it was too short. Mother Yasoda was surprised, "What is this? There is a mountain of rope here, but still I cannot bind Gopal!"

Can you bind Him who possesses the whole world, who is the owner of all the fourteen worlds? Can you bind Him even with 900,000 cows' rope? Unless He Himself lets you bind Him, can you ever bind the Lord? Never. Every time Mother Yasoda tried to bind Him, the rope was always two fingers too short. What do these two fingers mean? One finger is effort, desire. Mother Yasoda thought, "This is my Gopal, and I will bind Him! He is My Gopal, and I will serve Him!" We must have such desire—"I must serve the Vaishnavs! I must serve my Guru! I will serve the Lord, Gopal, Krishna! Whatever problem may come, whatever my family may say, whatever illusion comes, I will serve the Lord!" This is called desire. If you have such desire, you will have the mercy. The second finger is mercy. The Lord Himself will let you bind Him. Always remember this. Those two fingers are desire and mercy. If you make one step towards Krishna, Krishna will make ten steps towards you, and if you do not make any step forward, then keep listening about the Lord and the dirt will be removed from your heart, then the Lord, Bhakti Devi will come to stay in it. Always remember this.

In olden days, peopled used to use mortars. Sometimes, women would husk and grind rice with it also. We do not get such rice now anymore—now we get rice from rice mills. Before, women would make patisapta, rasapuri, sarpuri, so many other cakes. They made so many nice things at home. The taste was also different. Even rice taste is different. You can see muri also—the home-made muri does not taste the same as muri from a rice mill. There is such a big difference! That taste is now rare to get.

So, seeing that Mother Yasoda had become so tired trying to bind Him, Gopal let her tie Him to the mortar, but then He began to cry and tell everyone that Mother had beaten and bound Him. Mother Yasoda, however, tied Him to the mortar, and, confident that He could not go anywhere now as the mortar was heavy, went away. But when Krishna wants something, anything is possible. So, Krishna, crying that His mother had bound Him to the mortar, crawled outside. He crossed the street and came to two big trees standing nearby.

Those were two Yamalarjuna trees. Many years before that, in Satya-yuga, there were two brothers, Nalakuvar and Manigriv, two sinful sons of Kuver. Kuver is the treasurer of heaven, so being very proud of and intoxicated by their wealth, the two sons were always unconscious and great sinners. There are such people even among us also—those who have much wealth, money, etc. become very proud thinking, "This is my money, my house, my car, etc." The Lord does everything, but we say, "I do everything," "I know everything," etc.

So, one day, when those two brothers, Nalakuvar and Manigriv, were in a river, playing and doing nonsense with girls, suddenly they saw Narad Muni passing by. The brothers were naked, and so were the girls, but when the girls Narad Muni, they got shy and tried to cover themselves with some clothes, but the brothers did not bother. Seeing their pride, Narad Muni cursed them, "You are so intoxicated with your pride! I curse you to be born as trees next life!" This is how they became those two Yamalarjuna trees. There are so many trees in this world, and who can say who they are—who knows what sins they have committed to become like this! None of us can say it, none of us knows it...

So, when Gopal was outside, He crawled to those two trees and wanted to go between them, but because He was tied to a mortar, the mortar got stuck between the trees. Gopal pulled harder and the two enormous trees fell down. There was no rain, no thunder in the sky, so everybody became astonished, "What has happened?! Two trees have just fallen down!" Everybody came running to the place and saw that Gopal was sitting there, unharmed, and two brothers came out from the Yamalarjuna trees. When Narad Muni cursed them to be born as trees, the brothers started arguing and tried to convince Narad Muni not to curse them. Narad Muni said he had already cursed them and could not take it back, but he told them, "When Krishna appears in Dvapar-yuga and comes here, you will be liberated. Only He will be able to liberate you."

 

 

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Sanatan-siksa: The Cry of a Surrendered Soul
'They gave me nonsense orders and without any shame I follow them all. They had no mercy on me, nor were they ever satisfied. Somehow, I have surrendered at Your fearless lotus feet, please engage me now as Your servant.'

 

Sri Sri Damodarastakam
'[Seeing the whipping stick in His mother's hand,] He is crying and rubbing His eyes again and again with His two lotus hands. His eyes are filled with fear, and the necklace of pearls around His neck, which is marked with three lines like a conchshell, is shaking because of His quick breathing due to crying. To this Supreme Lord, Sri Damodara, whose belly is bound not with ropes but with His mother's pure love, I offer my humble obeisances.'
শ্রীশ্রীদামোদরাষ্টকম্

If you do something wrong for your Guru's service, no problem; but we are doing
wrong, we are doing offence for our own enjoyment!

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