Cow tending pastimes of Gopal Krishna
evam viharaih kaumaraih
kaumaram jahatur vraje
tatas ca pauganda-vayah-sritau vraje
babhuvatus tau pasu-pala-sammatau
gas carayantau sakhibhih samam padair
vrindavanam punyam ativa cakratuh (
Sukdev Goswamipad says, Rajan attaining the age of Pauganda (6th year)
Krishna and Balaram becomes competent to tend cows in Braja and thus grazing cows with others and by wandering in the makes the land extremely auspicious. forest of Vrindavan
Krishna says to mother Yashoda, mother let us permit to graze the cows, uptill now we graced the calves but now we are grown up, please let us serve the cows. In the month of Kartika, asthami tithi (8th lunar day), sukla pakha (bright fortnight) Gopasthami is held and from that day onwards Krishna-Balaram alongwith their companions begins to graze the cows. On that day all the vaishnava devotees should bathe and worship mother cow and give offering to the poor and the needy. The Lord has given you wealth and by it you serve the poor and mother cow. In all the homes cows are to be preserved.
From the night of saptami (7th) Krishna Chandra became very busy. Early in the morning He worships mother cow, circumbulates and pays obeisance engaging eight limbs and feeds her with sweet balls,. Mother cow blesses Him from her heart so that He always becomes successful. Sri Krishna also worships His mother Yashoda and take blessings from her. Mother says, my dear son now You are grown up and going to serve the cows, serving cows always accrue great piety and one never becomes unsuccessful by the blessing of mother cow.
Mother Yashoda and mother Rohini both feeds Krishna-Balarama. They are very lucky because their one hand is
Krishna and their other hand is Balarama. Sabda-brahma (Supreme Being consisting of sound) and Para-brahma (Absolute Being) are their two hands.
While going through the forest the cowherd children alongwith Krishna use to play various games, different types of happiness they use to enjoy. Sometimes they use to make sounds like birds, sometimes dances with the dancing parrots in this way with utmost pleasure they performed the pastimes of cow herding.
In this way, one day Sri Krishna with His companions while grazing comes near a talban (palm forest). His friends says –
rama rama maha-baho krishna dusta-nibarhana
ito vidure su-mahad vanam talali-sankulam (
Hey Rama hey Rama, hey strongest of the strong, hey
Krishna hey restrainer of the mischievous, very near there is forest filled with very nice and sweet smelling palm fruits. Sri Krishna says, then friends let us all go there and feed ourselves with those palm fruits, but His friends says, nobody could enter into that forest, because an asura resides there alongwith his family, his name is Denukasura and he looks like an ass. This palm forest belongs to the society - one who abducts and enjoys the property of a community, he is similar to an ass.
All the cowherd children were very eager because they knew that when Krishna-Balarama is there, there is no need to fear of any demon-giant-monster-animal-birds etc.
Balaramji says let you all enjoy the palm fruits and I am considering how that asura can be welcomed. As the sound of falling palm fruits reaches Denukasura, he powered with his group comes there running, Balarama was also ready – with His one hand He catches the hind legs of Denukasura, whirls him for sometime and throws him upon the palm trees.
Due to the death of Denukasura this palm forest in being freed from danger and the Brajabashis with great pleasure starts to feed themselves with the sweet palm fruits triumphing Lord Baladev.
Denukasura represents bodily pride, he is killed by Balaramji. The bodily pride of many births becomes such that a jiva believes – this body is mine. One who thinks the pains and pleasure of his body as his pains and pleasure, means one who wrongly believes the body as the self, he is an asura. Balaramji is the real form of Sabda-brahma (the Vedas) so one who worships Sabda-brahma he can be freed from bodily pride or else, he can kill Denukasura.
In the days of yore this Denukasura was the son of Birochana’s son
Bali and his name of Sahashik. One he was having a pleasure trip in the Gandhamadham mountain alongwith his ten thousand wives. At that time rishi Durvasaha was performing tapasya there. As the noise of so many ladies breaks the ongoing tapasya of rishi Durvasa, the rishi gets angry and curses Sahashik by saying, you become a donkey because you are a donkey like enjoyer. Hearing this the king falls at the feet of the rishi and prays some means of liberation, the rishi then became merciful and says, you go to palm forest at Vrindavan and reside there. One days as Krishna-Balarama alongwith their companions enters there, you while attacking them will get killed in the hands of Balaram and at that time you will attain liberation. Hearing this Sahasik pays obeisance at the feet of the rishi and goes to Vrindavan.
The pastimes of subduing Kaliya
vilokya dusitam krishnam krishna krishnahina vibhuh
tasya visuddhim anvicchan sarpam tam udavasayat (
Acharya Sukdev Goswami says, All powerful Sri Krishna seeing Kalindi (river Jamuna) to be contaminated by the poison of snake Kaliya wishes to purify it and thus expel venomous Kaliya.
Today elder brother Balaram did not come; Sri Nandanandana has come alone to graze with His all other cowherd companions. Today Bhagavan Krishna wishes to perform an especial pastime and so with all mother cows, calves and cowherd children He arrives at the banks of river Jamuna near
where snake Kaliya alongwith his entire family resides. lake Kaliya
There everybody starts playing with a ball. Today in this play there is a specific condition that from whose hand the ball falls into river Jamuna, he had to go and bring back the ball. Sri Krishna intentionally throws the ball and says to everybody that see the ball has fallen from my hand and therefore I will get down and bring it back.
All His friends warns Him, Krishna don’t enter this lake, if anybody goes there he does not remain alive, mother Yashoda had given us the responsibility, we will anyhow not allow You to go there.
At that time snake Kaliya was asleep, his wives seeing
Krishna surprisingly say, child what are you doing here, out husband is endowed with terrible poison, You run away from here. Krishna says, see dear mothers I am not afraid of anybody, I punish the sinful and saying this He forcefully strikes the water of Jamuna resulting to the awakening of Kaliya. Kaliya rushes there, but the strange thing is as his eyes falls upon the Lord, he becomes enchanted and says, till today I have not forgiven anyone, but hey fearless child, I am captivated seeing Your beauty, so I warn You, if you wish Your welfare than return back, go back from here itself or else come let us both warm our hands. After that starts the terrible fight between Sri Krishna and snake Kaliya, all the devatas of the entire universe witnesses the strange battle skill and gets surprised. Krishna gets bonded by the naagpaas (snake trap) and the snake stings so severely at His heart that even-though He is ownself Bhagavan yet He becomes motionless. Seeing this the Brajabashis begins to bewail, all of them starts rolling in the ground, mother Yashoda hearing that Krishna had entered Kaliya lake immediately faints, only Balaram tries to console everyone and make them peaceful because He is the only one who knows about the endless strength of Sri Krishna. Thinking of all others Sri Krishna starts expanding His body and very easily gets release from the naagpaas and ascending upon the hundred thousand hoods of snake Kaliya He begins tandava nritya (frantic dance). To witness this dance the devatas, gandharva, apsara all arrives there. Sri Sukdev Goswami describes –
raktam mukhair uru vaman nripa bhagna-gatrah
smritva caracara-gurum purusam puranam
narayanam tam aranam manasa jagama (
Parikhit, Bhagavan Sri Krishna climbing upon the hood of Kaliya performed such an astonishing frantic dance that by the stroke of his feet the hood of Kaliya becomes torn off, all the parts of his body gets covered with wounds and from his mouth he starts to disgorge blood. At that time the remembrance of snake Kaliya awakens and in his mind he takes shelter unto God.
After that the wives of Kaliya comes and starts glorifying Bhagavan Sri Krishna and they glorifies the Lord in a wonderful way. They says, Prabhu you have punished our husband and this is your extraordinary mercy because the lotus feet of Yours is unable even by performing great tapasya. Our husband is an offender, to him You had shown such mercy, don’t know the result of how many life’s tapasya he had thus received.
After that as Sri Krishna comes down from the hood of Kaliya, Kaliya’s gets back to senses and than he prays to Lord and says, Prabhu whether You grace or persecute, whether You give punishment for become merciful, whatever You do, this entire living universe, all this are Your creation and the cause of this creation is also non-different from You. Various caste, forms, nature, all kind of qualities and faults everything is created by You, You have made me a snake and in my teeth you have given poison, therefore I have not done anything new, now whatever You want You can do to me I am Your refugee.
Bhagavan Krishna says to Kaliya, you are staying here due to fear from my servitor Garuda, but now I will perform my pleasant pastimes here so you alongwith your family go back to your pervious habitat in the Ramanak island. You don’t have to fear about Garuda as seeing my foot marks in your head Garuda Maharaj will pay obeisance to you from a distance.
Kaliya glorifies the Lord and says, Prabhu You are cause of every causes so I will obey all Your orders, You are the Antaryami (indwelling), Parampurusha (supreme person), all obeisance unto You Bhagavan Sri Krishna.
As Parikhit Maharaj wishes to know about the cause of enmity between Kaliya and Garuda, Maharaj Sukdevji says, once upon a time Kudru’s son Kaliya consumes the eatable gift of Garuda. There was a bad feeling between Garudaji’s mother Binita and Kaliya’s mother Kudru and as a result of this Garudaji devours whenever is sees a snake. As the snakes approaches Brahmaji for a solution, he makes a rule that from every snake family one snake is to be offered to Garuda on the Amabasya (on the day of new moon) day. This snake Kaliya conducts against this rule, so Garudaji runs to kill him and fearing this Kaliya arrives and starts residing in this pond. Kaliya knew that due to curse of Sauvari muni Garudaji could not come here and except him no other snake knew about this secret.
After showing mercy to snake Kaliya as the night was extremely hot all the Brajabashis slept at the banks of Jamuna. Due to severe heat as all the jungles got dried up suddenly a forest fire blazes up and spreads everywhere. The Brajabashis gets frightened and takes shelter of
Krishna and Balarama. Bhagavan Sri Krishna immediately orders everybody to close their eyes and effortlessly drinks the forest fire and saves the Brajabashis from imminent danger.
From the day snake Kaliya has entered Jamunaji from that day the water of Jamuna became poisoned. Jamunaji represents real from of bhakti. From the day the luxurious persons have started entering in the community of bhakti from that day this community begins to spoil. Unless one is dispassionate towards material properties his prema-bhakti for Prabhu can never be awakened. One who is filled with desires and longings how can he carry out bhakti, one who had attained bhakti his life will be definitely different. Deprived of knowledge and detachment bhakti cries, in the community of bhakti those who became acharyas – Sri Madhvacharya Swami, Sri Ramanujacharya, Sri Ballavacharya, Sri Nimbarkacharya, in all of them knowledge and detachment were in its fullest form.
Bhagavan Krishnachandra did not kill Kaliya but extracted out his poison, so to extract the poison of desire to enjoy material property from all the senses is Kaliya daman (subdue) and then only the Jamuna of nectarous bhakti will flow in the life of a devotee.
Prabhu orders snake Kaliya to go to Ramanak island. The enjoyment (raman) of senses can be achieved only by the flavour of bhakti. Enjoyment of material objects makes the senses weak and diseased, so each of the senses, making it drink the juice of bhakti should be driven towards serving the feet of the Lord. One should serve the saints and persons who enjoy bhajan, he should associate with them, bhakti is the only bliss, bhakti can never be discussed with persons who are luxurious and enjoyer of senses. By truthful association the senses attain real pleasure.
The forest fire of samsara burns the jivas in various ways – poverty, want of child, various diseases and disputes etc, whenever all these arrives, close your eyes, relinquish your relation with the world and connect it with Paramatma. Ability to make relationship with Paramatma makes the forest fire of samsara calm and quite and one who believes that Lord is his and he is Lord’s, he can perform bhakti.to be continued
(A part of the Summary of Srimad Bhagavattam translated from the diary of Sri Gurudeb)