Hari-katha Articles Feasting on Bliss - Govinda-lilamrta

Feasting on Bliss – Govinda-lilamrta

Kavirāja Gosvāmī was present on the bank of Rādhā-kuṇḍa. He watched as Śrīmatī Rādhārānī went to Nanda-bhavāna with the sakhīs and mañjarīs. There, Kṛṣṇa returned from milking the cows. Yaśodā Mātā arranged warm water for Kṛṣṇa to bathe.

Kṛṣṇa said, “This is only a little amount of water. I want to bathe in Pāvana-sarovara. All holy rivers are present inside this holy lake. I will go there and respect this tīrtha.”

The meaning is, “I will play and swim there, and meet with everyone, then I will come back.”

Yaśodā Mātā said, “This is a good idea. But I will lose my service and love.” How is the mother’s heart very soft and sweet? Kṛṣṇa also likes to taste that love.

But on the other side, all are waiting at Pāvana-sarovara. This lake is very holy. All tīrthas are there. What does this mean? Before Kṛṣṇa goes there, all are waiting in kuñja kuṭīras, hiding here and there. Why? Not only for Govinda darśana lālasā; they also have Govinda caraṇāmṛta lālasā. Not only the demigods — the ṛṣis and maharṣis, munis, and all sādhakas want to take Kṛṣṇa’s caraṇāmṛta.

Thus, Kṛṣṇa tells His mother, “I will go bathe in Pāvana-sarovara.”

Yaśodā Mātā wants to clean and bathe Kṛṣṇa nicely, and she has arranged many gold pots of water to bathe Kṛṣṇa. She takes towels, paste, ointments, oils, and so many things. She begins to bathe Kṛṣṇa like this.

But then, suddenly, Śrīdāma and Sudāma come and say, “Kṛṣṇa, this is not good. If your mother only takes care of You, but not us, this is not good.”

Then the sakhās all sit near Kṛṣṇa. When Yaśodā dispenses water, these small pots of water are not enough for bathing all the sakhās. So, Yaśodā Mātā sprinkles some water on the boys, like caraṇāmṛta sprinkled by a pūjārī on devotees after ārati.

How can Yaśodā Mātā stop the boys from going to bathe in Pavana Sarovara? The sakhās are Kṛṣṇa’s very close friends and are full of heartfelt love. They take Kṛṣṇa by force and run with Him to Pavana Sarovara. Many kadamba trees are there. They climb to the top of these trees and jump from them into Pavana Sarovara.

Yaśodā Mātā watches from the top of Nandīśvara in fear, thinking, “Lālā jumped from so high!”

She sees Kṛṣṇa dive into the water, but He doesn’t emerge.

She exclaims, “He is still under the water! When will He come up?”

It is as if her heart breaks, and she starts running to go down the hill. Rohiṇī Mātā stops her saying, “Don’t worry, Kanhaiyā will be fine.”

“No, He went down and has not come up!”

Rohiṇī and Kundalatā console Yaśodā Mātā, “He will come back soon, don’t worry. If children have no freedom, they will never be happy. If you bind and tie Him in your house, this is not the process of love. This is the process of slavery. No. Give Him freedom.”

Yaśodā Mātā was very worried, but Bhagavatī Paurṇamāsī also came and consoled her, “Come sit down, everything will be fine. Kṛṣṇa is okay.”

It was like Yaśodā Mātā saw a dream. Kṛṣṇa was not bathing in the lake, but near her, and He said, “Mum, I am very hungry. Give Me something to eat.”

She looked, “He is here with me? But I just saw Him jump in the lake.”

When His mother is very sad, Kṛṣṇa cannot tolerate this. So He comes to her. He doesn’t have only one form. With one form He went and stayed with His mother, and with another form He played in Pāvana-sarovara.

Thus He swam and played with the sakhās. Sometimes He goes underneath the water, swimming to the other side where all the Vraja-devīs are bathing, and plays with them.
How is this sweet? They are only small kids, three or four years old. The age of the body is not the age of the soul. The parents perceive Kṛṣṇa and the Vraja-devīs always as small kids; but actually Kṛṣṇa is kiśora, and the gopīs are all kiśorīs.

Yaśodā Mātā feels, “Kṛṣṇa came to me, and I am now giving Kṛṣṇa food.” She says, “Dress and, while You do so, I will cook something for You.”

How did she cook? She made the milk very thick. The wheat flour was not kneaded with water — with thick milk she kneaded chapatti flour, putting a powder of sweet spices inside, like a little cinnamon and cloves, and then waited for Kṛṣṇa to be ready to eat.

On the other side, she made thick rubri, mixing it with powdered dried fruits, and also made laddus. She made many preparations very quickly for Kṛṣṇa to eat. She was very busy.

Rādhārānī and all the mañjarīs and kiśorīs are also present. Yaśodā Mātā knows what Kṛṣṇa likes. On one side, she makes salty pakodis and many things. She knows that if she gives Kṛṣṇa one thing, then He will gobble it down and run off. Therefore, Yaśodā Mātā is restless, “No, I will make thousands of preparations and then give them to Kṛṣṇa.”

But Kṛṣṇa is not there; Kṛṣṇa is in Pāvana-sarovara. Yaśodā Mātā went inside the room and could not find Kṛṣṇa. Where did He go? He was very hungry. Then she sends Rohiṇī, “O Rohiṇī, He must have gone again to Pāvana-sarovara. Go bring Him back. Prasādam is getting cold.”

Rohiṇī went down the hill and called out, “Hey Kaluhā!” But He did not come. He was swimming and then climbing out onto the bank and quickly climbing high trees and jumping again into the lake. He was frolicking like a water bird with all His friends.

Seeing this, Rohiṇī was surprised. She called, “Dāū, come.” Then Baladeva came, and she dried him off with a dry soft towel. She said, “Dāū, call Kṛṣṇa. Nanda Bābā is coming. He is waiting for breakfast.”

Every morning, Nanda Bābā goes to Āślīśvara Mahādeva and Bhagavatī Paurṇamāsī, respects the different gods in Vraja-maṇḍala, and returns to the cowshed. He moves everywhere and then comes back.

Rohiṇī said, “Now Nandarāja has come back. Quickly bring Kaluhā to Nanda-bhavana.”

Then Kṛṣṇa came to Rohiṇī and she embraced Him, letting go of Baladeva. Then Baladeva ran and jumped back in Pavana Sarovara, and Rohiṇī exclaimed, “Aho!” Then Baladeva came back, and Kṛṣṇa escaped and jumped back in Pāvana-sarovara.

Rohiṇī shouted, “You will get sick! The body shouldn’t be in the water so long.” But she sees that Kṛṣṇa bathes, jumps and plays in the water, but then He comes back dry. Others go in the water, and the water clings to their bodies and makes them wet. But when Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva bathe in the water, the water doesn’t seep inside and make them wet.

For conditioned living beings, the air attacks us; water, fire and other elements attack us, meaning, they affect us and enter within us. But Prahlāda Mahārāja was not affected by fire or the other elements. His father tried to kill him by placing him in the ocean, burning oil, a windstorm, and in so many other ways, but Prahlāda Mahārāja was untouched.

Kṛṣṇa was inside the water, but the water was very happy and pleased by Kṛṣṇa’s touch and did not make Him wet. It was as if the water felt, “I won’t go inside You. You come inside me.” Meaning, “Play in my water.”

The gosvāmīs perceive these pastimes.

Rohiṇī Mātā becomes surprised, “How is this possible? When I go in the water, I become wet.”Pāvana-sarovara is very holy. Sanātana Gosvāmī stayed on the bank of this lake, and sometimes Rūpa Gosvāmī Prabhu stayed there. Our ācāryas do parikramā of this place, offer praṇāma, and reside here.

Kṛṣṇa did not want to come back. Then Rohiṇī Mātā thought, “I know one process. I will call Śrīdāma, Sudāma, Vasudama, Kinkini, Lavaṅga, Stoka Kṛṣṇa, Arjuna, Subhadrā, Bhadrasena, Sriranga, and the other boys.”

Then she calls the boys one by one. Then what will Kṛṣṇa do alone? He will come automatically.

Rohiṇī Mātā understood, “He is not controlled by me, He is controlled by the love of His friends.”

Rohiṇī Mātā then serves all the boys, and Kṛṣṇa becomes very pleased. Kṛṣṇa is most happy with anyone who serves His devotees and beloved companions, more so than if anyone worships Kṛṣṇa Himself. If anyone serves His followers, dāsa anu dāsa dāsa, Kṛṣṇa is extremely pleased with that person.

Rohiṇī Mātā gives new cloth to all the sakhās, nice turbans, dhotis, and chaddars, and then Kṛṣṇa runs and says, “Maiyā, give Me some nice new dress also.”

All the cows and calves come out of their pens. Kṛṣṇa says, “Choo, choo. Come.” They look at Kṛṣṇa as they come to the bank of Pāvana-sarovara and drink. They look at Kṛṣṇa and Rohiṇī Mātā. Kṛṣṇa understands their heart. Rohiṇī Mātā has decorated Kṛṣṇa and the sakhās with tilaka, peacock feathers and so forth. Then Kṛṣṇa takes candana, tilaka and peacock feathers and decorates the cows. He places cloth around their horns and places peacock feathers on them. Why? Kṛṣṇa says, “I will not wear these auspicious things alone. I shall give to everyone.”

Being touched by Kṛṣṇa, the cows become filled with bliss. With His own hand, Kṛṣṇa decorates the cows. He places necklaces of pearls on their necks and ankle bells on their hooves. The calves then dance joyfully.

Nanda Bābā thinks, “Kṛṣṇa will not come unless I go.” He comes down from the hill.
Rohiṇī says, “Nanda is coming. Now You will understand.”

Nanda Bābā comes and takes Kaluha on one shoulder and Baluha on the other. He carries Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva on his shoulders, carrying them up to Nanda-bhavana.

Yaśodā Mātā is waiting anxiously, “When are they coming?”

She makes bada, dosa, chutney, idlis, pakodis, chapattis, samosas, kachoris, and many other preparations. But she thinks, “When will that day come that I will feed Kṛṣṇa with my own hand?”

Kṛṣṇa comes and sits in line. But Nanda Bābā says, “Don’t sit there, come sit in my lap.”

Nanda Bābā is very large and powerful. Kṛṣṇa sits on one knee. He looks like a small sparrow on Nanda’s lap. Nanda Bābā is very tall and wide. Then Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva sit on either of Nanda Bābā’s knees, and Nanda embraces them each with one arm.

Kṛṣṇa takes something with His hand and says, “Bābā, you eat. Taste this.”

If things are not first offered to one’s seniors, then they will not be auspicious. Nanda Bābā has the desire to feed Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva, but Kṛṣṇa feeds Nanda Bābā with one dish and Baladeva takes another, feeding Nanda Bābā from the other side.

ṇa says, “Bābā, first take from Me.”

Baladeva says, “First take from me.”

Kṛṣṇa says, “Do you like him more than Me?”

Nanda Bābā thinks, “What to do?”

From both sides, Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva lovingly feed him.

Kṛṣṇa is very tricky. He goes behind Nanda’s back to Baladeva’s side and feeds Nanda from there. Nanda Bābā takes something from his own mouth and feeds Kṛṣṇa. Then Kṛṣṇa is very happy!

“Oh, this is very sweet, Bābā! Eat more.”

“No, first you take.”

How wonderful is this love and affection? The gosvāmīs’ remember Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes and have mercifully left us some indications.

The mañjarīs and kiśorīs watch from a distance. Rohiṇī, Yaśodā, and the other mothers also watch from a distance, and all their hearts melt and come out in the form of tears.
“How lucky is Nanda Bābā!” they exclaim.

Therefore, Śrīmad-bhāgavatam glorifies Nanda Bābā and his good fortune.

nandaḥ kim akarod brahman
śreya evaṁ mahodayam
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.8.46

Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Shiva and no others have such good fortune as Nanda Bābā! In your very lap, the Supreme Absolute Truth is sitting and saying, ‘Bābā!” and feeds him with His own hand. The Lord Himself takes something in His hand and feeds Nanda Bābā. The Lord waits to eat the remnants of Nanda Bābā.

Kṛṣṇa says, “Bābā, this one is very tasty.” Then He gives him something more.

Śrīdāma, Sudāma and all the sakhās are in line, eating as well. Kṛṣṇa takes a piece of laḍḍu from the mouth of Nanda and says, “Hey Sudāma, take this and see how wonderful it is! When Bābā tastes it, it becomes so sweet. When Bābā takes it, it becomes very nice.”

Upananda, Sunanda, Abhinanda, Parjanya and all the other elders are present there.

Sometimes, Nanda Bābā invites Vṛṣabhānu Mahārāja for a feast at his palace. Then Vṛṣabhānu Mahārāja watches Kṛṣṇa eating with His father and exclaims, “I have no good fortune. I shall also invite all the sakhās to my Varsānā.”

Kṛṣṇa takes something and goes to Parjanya, His grandfather, and says, “Bābā, first you take.” Then He goes to Upananda and says, “Uncle, take something. Why aren’t you eating?” With love and sweetness, He goes to one relative after the other, and feeding them with His hand.

When He gives them this, they forget all food, and the entire world, and only weep, feeling, “How sweet does Kṛṣṇa speak! How much love He has!”

This touches the heart. This can never be lost or forgotten. This is called rasamayī bhakti. This is called relationship.

Vṛṣabhānu Mahārāja, Subhānu, Bhānu and Brhadbhānu were invited, and they came.

Sometimes Vṛṣabhānu Mahārāja comes with gifts to Nanda-bhavana. He has a very sweet relation with Nanda Bābā. He came today from Varsānā with many fresh fruits and roots. He transports the produce by bullock carts, arriving at Nanda-bhavana in a grand procession.
Vṛṣabhānu Mahārāja remembers when the fruit seller lady came to Vraja and gave Kṛṣṇa fruit, and how much Kṛṣṇa liked the fruit. Therefore he brings many nice fruits as presentations for Kṛṣṇa. He brings nice, red pomegranates.

Vṛṣabhānu-rāja-nandinī has Her own parrot, Śuka. He eats pomegranate seeds and is always very happy.

Kīrtidā and Mukharā say, “Today is a very good time. We should go and distribute something.”

In Vraja-maṇḍala, the Vrajavāsīs have very soft and large hearts. They are very softhearted. Even if they have very little in their house, they will distribute freely to anyone who comes.
So Vṛṣabhānu Mahārāja watched as Kṛṣṇa fed Nanda Bābā.

Don’t think it is like feeding a cow, everything in one pile. When the Vrajavāsīs take prasādam, there are many leaf cups. Each preparation is placed in a leaf cup. Yaśodā Mātā has separate leaf cups placed for Nanda, Baladeva and Kṛṣṇa.

Now Kṛṣṇa takes something and then runs. Nanda Bābā shouts, “Where are You going? You have only eaten a little! Come, come!”

Kṛṣṇa ran to Vṛṣabhānu Mahārāja and said, “Why are you sitting there without eating anything?”Then Kṛṣṇa placed something in Vṛṣabhānu Mahārāja’s mouth. Vṛṣabhānu Mahararaja then lost his heart. He forgot who he was and where he was. Being touched by Kṛṣṇa, and given prasādam by Kṛṣṇa, he could only think, “How His hand is soft! How beautiful the fragrance of His body! Today my life is successful.” Then he experiences ecstatic transformations in his body.

Don’t think these pastimes are imagination or something slight. The ācāryas only give hints of these pastimes. If you touch those hints, turning the button on, then all pastimes will manifest in your heart. But you must go to the gosvāmīs and ācāryas. Then you can gain entrance into these pastimes. If you try to understand alone, you will turn on the TV and watch movies. How much does the TV have stored? This māyā is limited. But if you turn on the button of kṛṣṇa-līlā rasa by going to the feet of the gosvāmīs and touching their feet, and remain at their feet, then all Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes will come one after the other in an unlimited flow of nectar.

Like one early morning, Sannyāsī Ṭhākura sat near Paramahamsa Bābājī and received an indication of his service in vraja-līlā. The rāgānugā bhaktas are present in vraja-līlā serving eternally. By surrendering unto them, līlā-rasa will flow into the heart. This is the anurāgamayi-bhajana-rahasya. This is very secret and hidden. It is not possible to attain through vaidhī-bhakti. You cannot purchase this in the market.

tatra laulyam api mūlyam ekalaṁ
janma-koṭi-sukṛtair na labhyate

“Intelligence which is infused with taste for kṛṣṇa-bhakti cannot be had even by pious activity in hundreds and thousands of lives. It can be attained only by paying one price — intense greed to obtain it. If it is available, purchase it without delay at any cost!”

kṛṣṇa-bhakti-rasa-bhāvitā matiḥ
krīyatāṁ yadi kuto ‘pi labhyate

If anyone has this rasa-bhāvitā matiḥ, go close to them with greed for līlā-rasa, then all the flow will come from their hearts to yours. Then you will be surprised, “How are these pastimes? What is Kṛṣṇa doing?”

Yaśodā Mātā and Rohiṇī Mātā observe all the preparations with their beautiful eyes and become surprised. “How has this arrangement been made? When did Śrīmatī cook this all?”

When we had the massive annakūṭa festivals in Govardhana, Śrīla Gurudeva would ask at ten in the morning, “Is everything ready?”

“Why not?” I replied. “Everything is ready in Nanda-bhavana. Vṛṣabhānu-rāja-nandinī arranges everything for Kṛṣṇa. She also arranges everything here.”

Śrīla Gurudeva would ask, “How is everything ready so quickly?”

I said, “Come and see.”

Gurudeva would come and see the thousands of preparations and became so happy. Then he would say, “Chalo! Quickly arrange to send all these preparations for offering to Girirāja Govardhana.” Line by line, thousands of devotees took the preparations on their heads to Girirāja Govardhana with Śrīla Gurudeva.

Śrīla Gurudeva told me, “Come after. Stay here now. When I come back, then you can go.”

Śrīla Gurudeva would perform bhajana inside his room. From there, he performed everything. He arranged everything. Śrīla Gurudeva made all the preparations with his love. Simply by meditating, everything automatically manifested. Like when one plants seeds in the earth, when they grow, they have nice flowers and colors, and people become surprised, “How wonderful were these seeds! How wonderful is the smell of their flowers now?”

The guru-varga perform everything through mānasī-sevā, and then it all manifests in the world naturally, with no difficulty. If the guru-varga do not perform this mānasī-sevā, if one tries again and again to make anything happen, it will not be possible.

In a restaurant, a cook may make two or three preparations, but then he will become tired and weak and will have no more enthusiasm. A cook will say, “I have been cooking chapattis, paranthas, this and that, since morning. Now I won’t do anymore.” He says to another, “You make it.” Why? He has no taste, because he has no spiritual relation.

If you have this spiritual relation, then you will never become tired, hopeless or weak. Why? The transcendental flow will come and increase your desire to serve more and more. You will never be hopeless then. You will be very greedy. This is called sevonmukhe hi jivadau.

ataḥ śrī kṛṣṇa-nāmādi na bhaved grāhyam-indriyaiḥ
sevonmukhe hi jihvādau svayam eva sphuratyadaḥ
Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Pūrva Vibhāga 2.ñ

“The human material senses cannot perceive śrī harināma because it is a transcendental sound, but it will appear by itself on the pure senses of the sevon-mukha sādhaka, in whose heart the desire to serve Kṛṣṇa has arisen.”

Kṛṣṇa namadi means nāma, rūpa, guṇa and līlā. Not only this though, eternal service, internal service. This is not impossible. You must have desire to accept and serve. This is sevonmukhe hi jivadau. But how can you do anything if you are weak and don’t know the proper process? If you are close to the guru-varga and rūpānuga Vaiṣṇavas, then they do everything; and if you are present there, the flow of nectar will come. You can then accept this flow if you have greed, and then you will never be hopeless. And to help you, the entire world will come. The demigods themselves will come to help you in varied forms. All arrangements will be free from difficulties and anarthas. Nothing will be dirty, black and tasteless. Why? Because you are connected. Anything disconnected to Vraja, Kṛṣṇa and the Vrajavāsīs is poison! Anything that is connected to Kṛṣṇa is nectar! Service as well.

If one ordinary person serves all day, he will become tired, sick and hopeless. But if anyone is related to God and mahā-bhāgavata Vaiṣṇavas, everything will be nectarful. And one will be able to serve day and night, without ever becoming weak.

Some ask, “From where did you bring this nice new carpet, covering the temple floor? Who brought it?”

“I don’t know,” I said. “Who arranges everything for the devotees, where does it all come from? No ordinary person can arrange this. They have no ability or permission. Permission to serve God and His devotees comes from the higher realm.”

Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva eat and become restless. Nanda Bābā holds on to them tightly, “Take some more. You didn’t eat enough.”

But Kṛṣṇa says, “Bābā, if you hold My hand, how can I take anything?”

He is very clever. He takes some rasabali, kṣīra sagara, dudh pakodi, rasa tariya and anna rasabali. Each preparation is so tasteful. He takes and places some in Nanda Bābā’s mouth, who says, “Ah! This is very tasty. You take some.” Then Nanda Bābā releases Kṛṣṇa’s hand and He runs off, like babies run here and there very fast.

He says, “If you give everything to me, and my sakhās don’t taste, then this is not very sweet for Me.”

Madhumaṅgala is there waiting. Kṛṣṇa gives him four or five laddus and, taking these, Madhumaṅgala begins dancing and singing, “Today my life is successful. Now I am very happy.”

During prasadam time, Nanda-bhavana becomes filled with ānanda, bliss. Krsnanandaya dhimahi, sevanandaya dhimahi. Service is ānanda, bliss. How can Kṛṣṇa be given ānanda? Only through service, especially service of His devotees. Therefore, Guru-pāda-padma arranges this program. This is not ordinary.

Śrīla Gurudeva is present with Śrīmatī Rādhārānī and the sakhīs.

rādhā-sammukha-saṁsaktiṁ sakhī-saṅga-nivāsinīm
tvām ahaṁ satataṁ vande mādhavāśraya-vigrahām


“O Spiritual Master, I continually offer my obeisances unto you, who are always in the presence of Srīmatī Rādhārāṇī and very much devoted to Her. You always reside in the association of Her confidantes, the gopīs, and you are the abode of loving devotion to Śrī Mādhava.”

Where is he? He is very near and dear to Śrīmatī Rādhārānī and the sakhīs and mañjarīs. He gives us this tendency, line, protein, service and everything. If he doesn’t give us this chance, then we would all be serving māyā. Then māyā would take an axe and beat us again and again, smashing us and then throwing us into old homes.

But if we take this rasānanda, sevānanda, cid ānanda, then the body? Mind? No worm and germ will touch and disturb us. We will always be floating in ānandamayam, the bliss of service. Otherwise, life is — suskam kastam nirasya tarovara ­— dry, like a dead tree trunk, without any value. Therefore, go near līlā-śakti, and She will shower us with Her mercy and engage us in service.

Rādhārānī is in a faraway area, watching Kṛṣṇa taking prasādam from a hidden place. Kṛṣṇa is very clever. He says to Nanda Bābā, “If I eat too much, how will I go to the forest?”

He takes something from His plate and disappears off into the house. Kṛṣṇa runs through a hidden passage, coming up behind Rādhārānī, and smears the prasadama all over Her face, pushing some in Her mouth. She is very shy. She covers Her face and goes to wash Her mouth. Kṛṣṇa is very tricky. He doesn’t go to Rādhārānī alone. He doesn’t leave any of the sakhīs and mañjarīs without a vision of this pastime. He is very clever. What He will do? There is no guarantee.

Yaśodā Mātā murmurs, “Where did He go now? What is He doing?”

Kṛṣṇa reappears suddenly, and Yaśodā asks, “Where did You go? Don’t go here and there. Sit down and eat peacefully. Otherwise, You won’t digest properly.”

“No, My eating is finished.” Thus declaring, Kṛṣṇa runs off to His room.

Nanda Bābā is still seated and says, “Call Kṛṣṇa. He hasn’t taken any drink. If He doesn’t take this drink, He will not digest the meal.”

Yaśodā brings Kṛṣṇa, and Nanda says, “After eating, You must take some buttermilk with salt and cumin seeds. Then You will digest very well.”

Nanda Bābā next washes Kṛṣṇa’s face and mouth, gives Kṛṣṇa a drink and then chants raksa mantras for Kṛṣṇa’s protection. He touches Kṛṣṇa’s different limbs while chanting protective mantras to protect Him from the dangers of the forest. Many brahmansa and ṛṣis come daily to Nanda-bhavāna and take prasadam. They watch Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes and become astonished. On the order of Nanda Bābā, Kṛṣṇa touches their feet. Then they give blessings to Kṛṣṇa and chant mantras for His protection, give Him a mark of candana on the forehead and bind a kavaca on His arm.

Afterwards, Kṛṣṇa goes in His room, and Yaśodā Mātā, Rohiṇī Mātā and Kundalatā decorate Kṛṣṇa. Why? If it is very sunny, His head will become hot. They put a turban and peacock feather on Kṛṣṇa, so the sun won’t disturb Him. They give Him a garland with soft flowers and green leaves. They decorate Kṛṣṇa, and then Kṛṣṇa leaves Nanda-bhavāna.

The sakhās are outside playing many musical instruments, bugles, drums, buffalo horns and flutes, and dancing joyously. Don’t think they are sad, crazy boys, who wander around the cows in the forest by force, as if they are slaves.

The cows wait for Kṛṣṇa to give an indication for them to begin. All the Vrajavāsīs are happy watching Kṛṣṇa play with His friends, and they feel, “We will all go with Kṛṣṇa into the forest with the cows.”

. . .

Many sukas are there that are very talented. They sit and serve in the kuñja, sitting on branches of the trees. They have one tutor who is very qualified. They learn all of Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes from that teacher. That tutor is in Varsānā. She teaches all the parrots Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes. She is a very good teacher. All the parrots come to Her daily, and She gives them lessons.

Before Kṛṣṇa goes to the forest, brāhmaṇas chant Vedic mantras and give blessings. The cows moo from a distance, as if welcoming Kṛṣṇa, “Come, we will go first and clean the road.”

The mothers sniff the boys’ heads with tears in their eyes, place flowers in their hair, and give them blessings before going to the forest.

Then the perfectly trained parrots come and sit on branches of trees. All others become silent as the parrots begin singing of kṛṣṇa-līlā.

They can imitate anyone’s voice. There are two types of parrots: one is larger and the other small. If you teach them anything, they will be able to repeat what you say in a similar voice. They will be able to sing any song you teach them. As they sing, they dance, keeping one leg up and spinning in circles with their other foot. Some of the parrots clack their peaks together, like karatālas, as the others sing.

Rādhārānī and Vṛndā-devī teach them; therefore, they have immense power. Line by line, many Sukadevas are there singing kṛṣṇa-līlā. Hearing kṛṣṇa-līlā, the Vrajavāsīs think, “These parrots are great paṇḍits. They know such beautiful ornamental language.”

All people speak, but not all speech is sweet.

Kṛṣṇa says, “If any prasāda is left in Nanda-bhavāna, it should be given first to the parrots.”

Kṛṣṇa runs back to get prasādam, but Citraka, Patraka, Bhadraka and the other servants have already brought the prasādam, and Kṛṣṇa begins to feed the parrots with His own hands. They wait for this maha-prasadam after completing their service. Taking this, they become very happy. Then they fly in the sky, saying amongst themselves, “We will not eat alone. We will take this to Varsānā. Śrīmatī Rādhārānī is our tutor and guardian. We will give to Her first.”

A good disciple will first offer everything to his Guru, master and guardian. In this way, the parrots take a little amount of prasādam and fly with it to Varsānā.

Rādhārānī has already left Nanda-bhavāna and returned. When She is in Yāvata, the parrots go there to serve Her. Mādhurya-rasa has anugatya. Don’t think there are no rules and regulations or etiquette in mādhurya-rasa. Love has strong etiquette, strong principles, strong rules. Therefore the parrots show this dedication to their Guru, Śrīmatī Rādhārānī.
Kṛṣṇa says, “They are not eating anything? Where are they flying off to?”

One parrot says, “We are the disciples of one very qualified Guru. Everyone is waiting for Your prasādam. We will share this first with our guardian, and will then take ourselves.”

The servant ladies say to Yaśodā, “Your son is not healthy.” They have motherly affection for Kṛṣṇa, not mere dāsya-rasa. “After He eats, it would be good for Him to rest a while.”

Yaśodā Mātā says, “Yes! This is right. I did not think about this.”

Then Yaśodā Mātā took Kṛṣṇa in her lap and held Him under her shawl, shaking Him back and forth in her arms, saying, “Rest a while, and then go to the forest.”

Kṛṣṇa thinks, “This is a problem.” His mother’s love is so strong. Kṛṣṇa can never neglect her love.

Yaśodā Mātā took Him in her lap, but the sakhās are all waiting to go to the forest.

Kṛṣṇa says, “Mum, I feel okay now. You have massaged Me. Now I feel strong and will go.”

Yaśodā Mātā says, “No, drink some of my breast milk, then You can go. You will be gone all day and will need strength.”

Kṛṣṇa sucks on Yaśodā Mātā’s breast, taking some milk, as Yaśodā softly weeps. After a short time, Kṛṣṇa says, “Now can I go?”

This is the program of Vraja. Don’t think this is only written of or indicated in books. How many books can be written? Kṛṣṇa-līlā is unlimited. These pastimes are eternal and ever-fresh, happening every moment of every day. This is rasa-samudra, an ocean of rasa. It is not small.

A person in this world cannot remember all his activities from childhood to old age. He may remember something, but mostly he forgets. But once kṛṣṇa-līlā enters the heart, it cannot be forgotten. Therefore sādhakas do bhajana and chant harināma. Then they forget this world and enter that world. If one drowns in līlā-rasa, there will be no more relation with mundane rasa and people.

What is the cost for entering that līlā?

kṛṣṇa-bhakti-rasa-bhāvitā matiḥ
krīyatāṁ yadi kuto ‘pi labhyate
tatra laulyam api mūlyam ekalaṁ
janma-koṭi-sukṛtair na labhyate
Padyāvalī 14, quoted in Caitanya-caritamrta Mad. 8.70

“Intelligence which is infused with taste for kṛṣṇa-bhakti cannot be had even by pious activity in hundreds and thousands of lives. It can be attained only by paying one price — intense greed to obtain it. If it is available, purchase it without delay at any cost!”

Only greed. This is enough. This is respect. This is everything.

Mother Yaśodā calls Kṛṣṇa and says, “O Govinda, You run here and there throughout the day, sometimes bathing in the lakes and rivers, and wrestling with Your friends. Now stay here peacefully for awhile.”

But Kṛṣṇa hears the cows mooing as they anxiously wait for Him, as if they are calling Him, “Where are You hiding? Why haven’t You come?”

The cows were already milked in the morning but, because of their deep love for Kṛṣṇa, automatically more milk comes in their udders. Why? They will go into the forest with Kṛṣṇa, and Śrīmatī Rādhārānī and the Vraja-devīs are ready there to cook fresh things for Kṛṣṇa.

Yaśodā Mātā sends prasadam for lunch, but it will be cold by the time Kṛṣṇa sits down for to eat. Therefore, Śrīmatī Rādhārānī goes into the forest. The sakhās milk the cows again, and on one side the gopīs start their cooking.

They make battis, baked dough balls, having brought flour, ghee and other ingredients from their homes. They mix flour with ghee and spices and knead it into dough with milk. In the meantime, they have started fires with cow dung and wood from the forest. Then they give dough balls in the coals, and after half an hour they will be cooked. They take them out of the fire and dust them off, then dip each one in a pot of hot ghee — and the ball drinks up so much ghee. It will look dry from outside, but within it is very soft, tasty and healthy.

Also, the gopīs make kṣīra with milk. If you go to Bhojana Thālī or Sakhīgiri Parvata, you will see many bowls and plates in the stones. Rādhārānī Herself makes these bowls in the stone for Kṛṣṇa to eat from. Līlā-śakti arranges everything for Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes.

Offered in remembrance of Śrīla Gurudeva
Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja

[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]

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