8. Vision of the Universal Form
8 / Vision of the Universal Form
After this incident, Vasudeva asked his family priest Gargamuni to visit the place of Nanda Mahäräja in order to astrologically calculate the future life of Kåñëa. Gargamuni was a great saintly sage who underwent many austerities and penances and was appointed priest of the Yadu dynasty. When Gargamuni arrived at the home of Nanda Mahäräja, Nanda Mahäräja was very pleased to see him and immediately stood up with folded hands and offered his respectful obeisances. He received Gargamuni with the feeling of one who is worshiping God or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He offered him a nice sitting place, and when he sat down, Nanda Mahäräja offered him a warm reception. Addressing him very politely, he said: "My dear brähmaëa, your appearance in a householder's place is only to enlighten. We are always engaged in household duties and are forgetting our real duty of self-realization. Your coming to our house is to give us some enlightenment about spiritual life. You have no other purpose to visit householders." Actually a saintly person or a brähmaëa has no business visiting householders who are always busy in the matter of dollars and cents. If it is asked, "Why don't the householders go to a saintly person or a brähmaëa for enlightenment?" the answer is that householders are very poor-hearted. Generally householders think that their engagement in family affairs is their prime duty and that self-realization or enlightenment in spiritual knowledge is secondary. Out of compassion only, saintly persons and brähmaëas go to householders' homes.
Nanda Mahäräja addressed Gargamuni as one of the great authorities in astrological science. The foretellings of astrological science, such as the occurrence of solar or lunar eclipses, are wonderful calculations, and by this particular science, a person can understand the future very clearly. Gargamuni was proficient in this knowledge. By this knowledge one can understand what his previous activities were, and by the result of such activities one may enjoy or suffer in this life.
Nanda Mahäräja also addressed Gargamuni as the "best of the brähmaëas." A brähmaëa is one who is expert in the knowledge of the Supreme. Without knowledge of the Supreme Absolute, one cannot be recognized as a brähmaëa. The exact word used in this connection is brahmavidäm, which means those who know the Supreme very well. An expert brähmaëa is able to give reformatory facilities to the sub-castes--namely the kñatriyas and vaiçyas. The çüdras observe no reformatory performances. The brähmaëa is considered to be the spiritual master or priest for the kñatriya and vaiçya. Nanda Mahäräja happened to be a vaiçya, and he accepted Gargamuni as a first class brähmaëa. He therefore offered his two foster sons--namely Kåñëa and Balaräma--to Him to purify. He agreed that not only these boys, but all human beings just after birth should accept a qualified brähmaëa as spiritual master.
Upon this request, Gargamuni replied, "Vasudeva has sent me to see to the reformatory performances of these boys, especially Kåñëa's. I am their family priest, and incidentally, it appears to me that Kåñëa is the son of Devaké." By his astrological calculation, Gargamuni could understand that Kåñëa was the son of Devaké but that He was being kept under the care of Nanda Mahäräja, which Nanda did not know. Indirectly he said that Kåñëa, as well as Balaräma, were both sons of Vasudeva. Balaräma was known as the son of Vasudeva because His mother Rohiëé was present there, but Nanda Mahäräja did not know about Kåñëa. Gargamuni indirectly disclosed the fact that Kåñëa was the son of Devaké. Gargamuni also warned Nanda Mahäräja that if he would perform the reformatory ceremony, then Kaàsa, who was naturally very sinful, would understand that Kåñëa was the son of Devaké and Vasudeva. According to astrological calculation, Devaké could not have a female child, although everyone thought that the eighth child of Devaké was female. In this way Gargamuni intimated to Nanda Mahäräja that the female child was born of Yaçodä and that Kåñëa was born of Devaké, and they were exchanged. The female child, or Durgä, also informed Kaàsa that the child who would kill him was already born somewhere else. Gargamuni stated, "If I give your child a name and if He fulfills the prophecy of the female child to Kaàsa, then it may be that the sinful demon will come and kill this child also after the name-giving ceremony. But I do not want to become responsible for all these future calamities."
On hearing the words of Gargamuni, Nanda Mahäräja said, "If there is such danger, then it is better not to plan any gorgeous name-giving ceremony. It would be better for you to simply chant the Vedic hymns and perform the purificatory process. We belong to the twice-born caste, and I am taking this opportunity of your presence. So please perform the name-giving ceremony without external pomp." Nanda Mahäräja wanted to keep the name-giving ceremony a secret and yet take advantage of Gargamuni's performing the ceremony.
When Gargamuni was so eagerly requested by Nanda Mahäräja, he performed the name-giving ceremony as secretly as possible in the cowshed of Nanda Mahäräja. He informed Nanda Mahäräja that Balaräma, the son of Rohiëé, would be very pleasing to His family members and relatives and therefore would be called Räma. In the future He would be extraordinarily strong and therefore would be called Balaräma. Gargamuni said further, "Because your family and the family of the Yadus are so intimately connected and attracted, therefore His name will also be Saìkarñaëa." This means that Gargamuni awarded three names to the son of Rohiëé--namely Balaräma, Saìkarñaëa, and Baladeva. But he carefully did not disclose the fact that Balaräma also appeared in the womb of Devaké and was subsequently transferred to the womb of Rohiëé. Kåñëa and Balaräma are real brothers, being originally sons of Devaké.
Gargamuni then informed Nanda Mahäräja, "As far as the other boy is concerned, this child has taken different bodily complexions in different yugas [millennia]. First of all He assumed the color white, then He assumed the color red, then the color yellow and now He has assumed the color black. Besides that, He was formerly the son of Vasudeva; therefore His name should be Väsudeva as well as Kåñëa. Some people will call Him Kåñëa, and some will call Him Väsudeva. But one thing you must know: This son has had many, many other names and activities due to His different pastimes."
Gargamuni gave Nanda Mahäräja a further hint that his son will also be called Giridharé because of His uncommon pastimes of lifting Govardhana Hill. Since he could understand everything past and future, he said, "I know everything about His activities and name, but others do not know. This child will be very pleasing to all the cowherd men and cows. Being very popular in Våndävana, He will be the cause of all good fortune for you. Because of His presence, you will overcome all kinds of material calamities, despite opposing elements."
Gargamuni continued to say, "My dear King of Vraja, in His previous births, this child many times protected righteous persons from the hands of rogues and thieves whenever there was political disruption. Your child is so powerful that anyone who will become a devotee of your boy will never be troubled by enemies. Just as demigods are always protected by Lord Viñëu, so the devotees of your child will always be protected by Näräyaëa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This child will grow in power, beauty, opulence--in everything--on the level of Näräyaëa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore I would advise that you protect Him very carefully so that He may grow without disturbance."
Gargamuni further informed Nanda Mahäräja that because he was a great devotee of Näräyaëa, Lord Näräyaëa gave a son who is equal to Him. At the same time he indicated, “Your son will be disturbed by so many demons, so be careful and protect Him.” In this way Gargamuni convinced Nanda Mahäräja that Näräyaëa Himself had become his son. After giving this information, Gargamuni returned to his home. Nanda Mahäräja began to think of himself as the most fortunate person, and he was very satisfied to be benedicted in this way.
A short time after this incident, both Balaräma and Kåñëa began to crawl on Their hands and knees. When They were crawling like that, They pleased Their mothers. The bells tied to Their waist and ankles sounded fascinating, and They would move around very pleasingly. Sometimes, just like ordinary children, They would be frightened by others and would immediately hurry to Their mothers for protection. Sometimes They would fall into the clay and mud of Våndävana and would approach Their mothers smeared with clay and saffron. They were actually smeared with saffron and sandalwood pulp by Their mothers, but due to crawling over muddy clay, They would simultaneously smear Their bodies with clay. As soon as They would come crawling to Their mothers, Yaçodä and Rohiëé would take Them on their laps and, covering the lower portion of their saris, allow Them to suck their breasts. When the babies were sucking their breasts, the mothers would see small teeth coming in. Thus their joy would be intensified to see their children grow. Sometimes the naughty babies would crawl up to the cowshed, catch the tail of a calf and stand up. The calves, being disturbed, would immediately begin running here and there, and the children would be dragged over clay and cow dung. To see this fun, Yaçodä and Rohiëé would call all their neighboring friends, the gopés. Upon seeing these childhood pastimes of Lord Kåñëa, the gopés would be merged in transcendental bliss. In their enjoyment they would laugh very loudly.
Both Kåñëa and Balaräma were so restless that Their mothers Yaçodä and Rohiëé would try to protect Them from cows, bulls, monkeys, water, fire and birds while they were executing their household duties. Always being anxious to protect the children and to execute their duties, they were not very tranquil. In a very short time, both Kåñëa and Balaräma began to stand up and slightly move on Their legs. When Kåñëa and Balaräma began to walk, other friends of the same age joined Them, and together they began to give the highest transcendental pleasure to the gopés, specifically to mother Yaçodä and Rohiëé.
All the gopé friends of Yaçodä and Rohiëé enjoyed the naughty childish activities of Kåñëa and Balaräma in Våndävana. In order to enjoy further transcendental bliss, they all assembled and went to mother Yaçodä to lodge complaints against the restless boys. When Kåñëa was sitting before mother Yaçodä, all the elderly gopés began to lodge complaints against Him so that Kåñëa could hear. They said, "Dear Yaçodä, why don't you restrict your naughty Kåñëa? He comes to our houses along with Balaräma every morning and evening, and before the milking of the cows They let loose the calves, and the calves drink all the milk of the cows. So when we go to milk the cows, we find no milk, and we have to return with empty pots. If we warn Kåñëa and Balaräma about doing this, They simply smile charmingly. We cannot do anything. Also, your Kåñëa and Balaräma find great pleasure in stealing our stock of yogurt and butter from wherever we keep it. When Kåñëa and Balaräma are caught stealing the yogurt and butter, They say, 'Why do you charge us with stealing? Do you think that butter and yogurt are in scarcity in our house?' Sometimes They steal butter, yogurt and milk and distribute them to the monkeys. When the monkeys are well fed and do not take any more, then your boys chide, 'This milk and butter and yogurt are useless--even the monkeys won't take it.' And They break the pots and throw them hither and thither. If we keep our stock of yogurt, butter and milk in a solitary dark place, your Kåñëa and Balaräma find it in the darkness by the glaring effulgence of the ornaments and jewels on Their bodies. If by chance They cannot find the hidden butter and yogurt, They go to our little babies and pinch their bodies so that they cry, and then They go away. If we keep our stock of butter and yogurt high on the ceiling, hanging on a swing, although it is beyond Their reach, They arrange to reach it by piling all kinds of wooden crates over the grinding machine. And if They cannot reach, They make a hole in the pot. We think therefore that you better take all the jeweled ornaments from the bodies of your children."
On hearing this, Yaçodä would say, "All right, I will take all the jewels from Kåñëa so that He can not see the butter hidden in the darkness." Then the gopés would say, "No, no, don't do this. What good will you do by taking away the jewels? We do not know what kind of boys these are, but even without ornaments They spread some kind of effulgence so that even in darkness They can see everything." Then mother Yaçodä would inform them, "All right, keep your butter and yogurt carefully so that They may not reach it." In reply to this, the gopés said, "Yes, actually we do so, but because we are sometimes engaged in our household duties, these naughty boys enter our house somehow or other and spoil everything. Sometimes being unable to steal our butter and yogurt, out of anger They pass urine on the clean floor and sometimes spit on it. Just see your boy now--He is hearing this complaint. All day They simply makes arrangements to steal our butter and yogurt, and now They are sitting just like very silent good boys. Just see His face." When mother Yaçodä thought to chastise her boy after hearing all the complaints, she saw His pitiable face, and smiling, she did not chastise Him.
Another day, when Kåñëa and Balaräma were playing with Their friends, all the boys joined Balaräma and told mother Yaçodä that Kåñëa had eaten clay. On hearing this, mother Yaçodä caught hold of Kåñëa's hand and said, "My dear Kåñëa, why have You eaten earth in a solitary place? Just see, all Your friends including Balaräma are complaining about You." Being afraid of His mother, Kåñëa replied, "My dear mother, all these boys, including My elder brother Balaräma, are speaking lies against Me. I have never eaten clay. My elder brother Balaräma, while playing with Me today, became angry, and therefore He has joined with the other boys to complain against Me. They have all combined together to complain so you will be angry and chastise Me. If you think they are truthful, then you can look within My mouth to see whether I have taken clay or not." His mother replied, "All right, if You have actually not taken any clay, then just open Your mouth. I shall see."
When the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kåñëa was so ordered by His mother, He immediately opened His mouth just like an ordinary boy. Then mother Yaçodä saw within that mouth the complete opulence of creation. She saw the entire outer space in all directions, mountains, islands, oceans, seas, planets, air, fire, moon and stars. Along with the moon and the stars she also saw the entire elements, water, sky, the extensive ethereal existence along with the total ego and the products of the senses and the controller of the senses, all the demigods, the objects of the senses like sound, smell, etc., and the three qualities of material nature. She also could perceive that within His mouth were all living entities, eternal time, material nature, spiritual nature, activity, consciousness and different forms of the whole creation. Yaçodä could find within the mouth of her child everything necessary for cosmic manifestation. She also saw, within His mouth, herself taking Kåñëa on her lap and having Him sucking her breast. Upon seeing all this, she became struck with awe and began to wonder whether she were dreaming or actually seeing something extraordinary. She concluded that she was either dreaming or seeing the play of the illusory energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. She thought that she had become mad, mentally deranged, to see all those wonderful things. Then she thought, "It may be cosmic mystic power attained by my child, and therefore I am perplexed by such visions within His mouth. Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead under whose energy bodily self and bodily possessions are conceived." She then said, "Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto Him, under whose illusory energy I am thinking that Nanda Mahäräja is my husband and Kåñëa is my son, that all the properties of Nanda Mahäräja belong to me and that all the cowherd men and women are my subjects. All this misconception is due to the illusory energy of the Supreme Lord. So let me pray to Him that He may protect me always."
While mother Yaçodä was thinking in this high philosophical way, Lord Kåñëa again expanded His internal energy just to bewilder her with maternal affection. Immediately mother Yaçodä forgot all philosophical speculation and accepted Kåñëa as her own child. She took Him on her lap and became overwhelmed with maternal affection. She thus began to think, "Kåñëa is not understandable to the masses through the gross process of knowledge, but He can be received through the Upaniñads and the Vedänta or mystic Yoga system and Saìkhya philosophy." Then she began to think of the Supreme Personality of Godhead as her own begotten child.
Certainly mother Yaçodä had executed many, many pious activities as a result of which she got the Absolute Truth, Supreme Personality of Godhead, as her son who sucked milk from her breast. Similarly, Nanda Mahäräja also must have performed many great sacrifices and pious activities for Lord Kåñëa to become his son and address him as father. But it is surprising that Vasudeva and Devaké did not enjoy the transcendental bliss of Kåñëa's childhood pastimes, although Kåñëa was their real son. The childhood pastimes of Kåñëa are glorified even today by many sages and saintly persons, but Vasudeva and Devaké could not enjoy such childhood pastimes personally. The reason for this was explained by Çukadeva Gosvämé to Mahäräja Parékñit as follows.
When the best of the Vasus of the name Droëa along with his wife Dharä were ordered to increase progeny by Lord Brahmä, they said unto him, "Dear father, we are seeking your benediction." Droëa and Dharä then took benediction from Brahmä that in the future--when they would take birth again within the universe--the Supreme Lord Kåñëa in His most attractive feature of childhood would absorb their whole attention. Their dealings with Kåñëa would be so powerful that simply by hearing of Kåñëa's childhood activities with them, anyone could very easily cross over the nescience of birth and death." Lord Brahmä agreed to give them the benediction, and as a result the same Droëa appeared as Nanda Mahäräja in Våndävana, and the same Dharä appeared as mother Yaçodä, the wife of Nanda Mahäräja.
In this way, Nanda Mahäräja and his wife, mother Yaçodä, developed their unalloyed devotion for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, having gotten Him as their son. And all the gopés and cowherd men who were associates of Kåñëa naturally developed their own different feelings of love for Kåñëa.
Therefore, just to fulfill the benediction of Lord Brahmä, Lord Kåñëa appeared along with His plenary expansion, Balaräma, and performed all kinds of childhood pastimes in order to increase the transcendental pleasure of all residents of Våndävana.
Thus ends the Bhaktivedanta purport of the Eighth Chapter of Kåñëa, "Vision of the Universal Form."