Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevay
sädhu påñöaà mahä-bhäga
çåëvann api kathäà muhuù
Çréla Çukadeva Gosvämé said: O best of devotees, most fortunate Parékñit, you have inquired very nicely, for although constantly hearing the pastimes of the Lord, you are perceiving His activities to be newer and newer.
satäm ayaà sära-bhåtäà nisargo
prati-kñaëaà navya-vad acyutasya yat
striyä viöänäm iva sädhu värtä
Paramahaàsas, devotees who have accepted the essence of life, are attached to Kåñëa in the core of their hearts, and He is the aim of their lives. It is their nature to talk only of Kåñëa at every moment, as if such topics were newer and newer. They are attached to such topics, just as materialists are attached to topics of women and sex.
api guhyaà vadämi te
brüyuù snigdhasya çiñyasya
guravo guhyam apy uta
O King, kindly hear me with great attention. Although the activities of the Supreme Lord are very confidential, no ordinary man being able to understand them, I shall speak about them to you, for spiritual masters explain to a submissive disciple even subject matters that are very confidential and difficult to understand.
sädhu påñöaà mahä-bhäga
çåëvann api kathäà muhuù
satäm ayaà sära-bhåtäà nisargo
prati-kñaëaà navya-vad acyutasya yat
striyä viöänäm iva sädhu värtä
api guhyaà vadämi te
brüyuù snigdhasya çiñyasya
guravo guhyam apy uta
Srila Sukadeva Goswami, is addressing Maharaja Pariksit as most fortunate, because he has a great urge for hearing the glories of the Lord. He is perceiving that the names and the pastimes of the Lord they are growing newer and newer. In material life everything we do, has the nature of progressively leading towards satiation. We can enjoy something for some time but then we need something else. We search for something else. But in spiritual life we find great devotees of the Lord for 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 100s of years, they are chanting the same mantra, hours and hours and hours every day – Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.
And if they are chanting the Holy names with a proper spirit of servitude then those names get sweeter and sweeter, more and more relishable. Similarly the topics of Sri Krishna, they are spiritual and they are eternal. And we can hear again and again and again and again these wonderful pastimes. And each time we hear them our heart is enriched with more and more understanding. And we are been given a glimpse by the grace of Krishna of how wonderful and how absolutely ecstatic it is to unite with the Lord through the sound vibrations.
Sukadev Goswami is also explaining to Maharaj Pariksit that he is about to speak as the previous spiritual masters have explained to him, subject matters that are very very difficult to understand. But because Pariksit Maharaj is submissive, it will not be very difficult for him to be able to understand these subjects. This is also a very very important principle that Sukadeva Goswami is explaining. That it is not by academic scholarship that we can understand anything about Krishna. It is not by scrutinizingly learning the Sanskrit language, and studying mass of volumes of the various puranas, srutis, smrutis and so forth. Krishna will always remain hidden, save and except for one who submissively hears from his spiritual master. That is the only qualification required. If one is utterly illiterate, if one simply submissively hears from the proper source imparted within his knowledge within his heart, proper knowledge of GodHead can be transmitted. But if one does not have this humility and this submissiveness, no matter what attempts one make, even by fasting, by performing tremendous tapasya, austerities, by emaciating ones body, by meditating and by performing the various yogic processes for births and births and births, by reading all of the scriptures thoroughly time and time and time again, Krishna will never reveal himself, one will never understand the true.
tad viddhi praëipätena
upadekñyanti te jïänaà
(Bhagavad Gita, 4.34)
If you want to know the truth, you must approach the authorized representative of Krishna, the Guru and you must enquire submissively. Submissively means, I do not know please tell me. Anxious to hear, eager to hear and ready and willing to perform whatever service is given. That is the qualification. And Sukadeva Goswami is explaining this principle just before he tells a wonderful explanation, one of the most beautiful and glorious pastimes of Bhagavatam. How no matter what your position is, whoever you are, if you don’t submit yourself before God in this way, you will be bewildered by His external energy or by His internal energy, according to your particular capacity.
Killing of Aghasura:
Sukadeva Goswami goes on and describes that after Lord Sri Krishna had killed Aghasura, Aghasura came in the form of a very very immense serpent, black snake. But he was so big, you could imagine how fearful, that when he opened his mouth, the bottom section of his mouth was on the ground and the top section was in the clouds. Now everyone is to some extent is scared of serpents/snakes I believe. Snakes in fact in every culture of the world, represents death. And if there’s even a little snake, it comes in our room, we become very fearful. Even if a little snake comes crawling by us, we run away, or we stand still, so he thinks we are a tree and he does not bite us. How many people are afraid of snake? (Maharaj laughs).
According to Chankya Pandit, an envious person is worst than a snake. Because an snake can only kill your body, but an envious person, he can fill you with some much blasphemy; it will kill your spiritual propensity. So you should be more afraid of a person who is criticizing vaishnavas than you are of a snake. But, anyways getting back to snakes. Everyone here is afraid of snakes. Can you imagine if you came across Aghasura, this is not one of the little snakes you run away from. He was a big snake, so big, he was so big that he disguised himself as a cave. His mouth, the cowherd boys will think I am a big cave, they will all come, Kamsa has sent me and then Krishna will also come and then I will swallow them and eat them. And they will all be dead and all the rest of the Brajvasis will die out of separation of Krishna and their children. And then we have conquered over God and His devotees. But of course, we know the story, Krishna just saw His friends, they were not fooled by the serpent, they said, hey look at this serpent, he’s so big, disguising himself as a big cave, let’s go in and Krishna will save us.
They were not afraid of snakes, you are all afraid of these little snakes. But the cowherd boys, they were not slightest of afraid of this massive snake. And they all playfully danced into the mouth of Aghasura. With complete faith that Krishna will protect us. Krishna is our friend, what do we have to worry about. And they smiling and they were looking back at Krishna as they advancing into the mouth. Fearsome mouth with huge gigantic teeths, fangs. And all terrible odours coming out from his intestine. Krishna was watching, my God look, they have all gone in. Now I have to go also to make sure they are alright. And when Krishna entered after all His friends, Aghasura closed His mouth. And when this took place, even the demigods in the heavens were very fearful. Now Krishna is dead, now all the boys are dead. Krishna loves to put His devotees in situations where it appears that they are hopelessly defeated. And at the last minute, He shows His supreme opulence and protects them. So in this way, it was very dark and all the cowherd boys were very much afraid, ok Krishna we only came in here because we knew you will save us, so, its very dark. Krishna began to expand His body so big that the serpent Aghasura could not breath in or out, and then the spirit soul of his life departed from his body and went into the air and he died. And then his mouth came open and they all danced out. And Krishna let everyone else out first and after He came, the spirit soul of Aghasura entered His body. He attained liberation. Because at the time of death, he was in contact with Krishna, so merciful is the Lord. So powerful is the purifying effect of being in contact with the Supreme Personality of God Head.
Krishna and cowherd boys honor prasadam:
So Sukadeva Goswami, explained that one year later, this news of the killing of Aghasura was brought to the attention of the Brajvasis. And Maharaj Pariksit was wondering, why one year. And then Sukhadeva Goswami explained. That after killing Aghasura, it was becoming somewhat late in the day and all the boys they were very hungry for Prasad. So He said, let us go to the bank of Yamuna, there is very nice soft grass there, and we will sit and let us enjoy Prasad. I know a nice place where so many cuckoos and so many cranes and so many peacocks are singing and dancing. And beautiful trees and beautiful fruit, let us go to enjoy. So Krishna and His friends they sat on the bank of Yamuna and Krishna said there are so many nice grasses here. At this time Krishna was very young, He was taking care of the calves. So He said, while we are taking Prasad, let all these calves just wander as they like and eat nice fresh grass. So they sat, and each one had their own little bag of Prasad. And each cowherd boy was very proud of what their mother had cooked for them. Very proud, that my Prasad tastes very good. Krishna, this tastes very good. And they all were showing their preparations to each other. And Krishna was tasting each of them and Krishna was praising how, so nice, oh you have got such nice Prasad, nice laddus, nice sandesh, nice rasagoolas, nice samosas. They were all just playing and joking and they were all laughing and laughing and laughing and taking prasad. And everyone’s attention was simply meditating on the beauty and the love of Sri Krishna towards them. But then they noticed that the calves had disappeared. Krishna loves to take the role of the servant of His devotees. Although, the Supreme Personality of God Head in His expansion of Narayan, He is accepting all offerings. One name of Krishna is Yagna-Bhook, which means he is the one who takes all offerings. When the Brahmanas perform the big big Agni-hotras, fire sacrifices, Krishna through that fire He tastes all of those offerings that are presented to Him with very very sophisticated Sanskrit mantras. And even the demigods in the heavenly planets, they regularly perform great great sacrifices, for Krishna’s satisfaction, and He tastes the offerings. And here they were sitting with that same Supreme Lord Vishnu, just sitting on the banks of the river, just sitting on the grass with His friends and they are eating His prasadam and He is eating their prasadam, they are laughing, such a wonderful thing.
Brahma steals the calves and cowherd boys:
So Krishna told His friends, that let me go and look for the calves, you stay here and enjoy taking Prasad. So He went, and He went deeper and deeper and deeper into the forest. And He could not find them anywhere. So the reason is this, that Lord Brahma who is the original personality of this entire universe, who’s the father of everyone of us today, who’s the father of all living species of life, who’s the original spiritual master of all spiritual masters within this universe. It is explained, that when Brahma did his tapasya at the beginning of the creation, he was given darshan of the spiritual world, Goloka Vrindavan. And there he heard the beautiful sweet sound of Krishna’s flute in his ear. And from that sound he repeated what he heard, and it came out as the Gayatri mantra which all Brahmins to this day are chanting. So what an exalted position Lord Brahma has. He supervises and creates all the planets and all the species of life. So exalted. But Lord Brahma was thinking, that this child, Krishna who is he? I am the master of creation and He’s killing big big serpents like Aghasura. But, He really never shows me any respect. He never worships me, never teaches people to worship me. I want to find out exactly who is this Krishna. So Brahma stole all the boys and all the calves and he put them into mystic slumber. And in this state of sleep he hid them in a cave. Now, everyone will know who is the supreme? He was right, but he didn’t understand what the outcome would be.
Krishna expands Himself as calves and gopas:
So Krishna could not find the calves anywhere. And then He came back to the river bank and He could not find His friends anywhere. So He was thinking, what to do, the cows will be very much feeling, lonely without their calves and the gopis, how will they live, without their gopas, their children. So right then and there, by His supreme mystic power, He expanded Himself to look exactly in identical form to every calf and every cowherd boy that was stolen. And then they sat together and again started finishing their Prasad. Joking together, eating together, playing together, throwing food at each other and everything like that. And then it was time to go home. When they went home, the gopis, the elderly gopis were just waiting for their children, the cows were just waiting for their calves, they were fixed in this meditation, when will our beloved children return? And when they saw them, each one, looked so much that they could not tell it was not them. They embraced them. And when they embraced their children, something wonderful took place. Never did they experienced so much love and affection before in their entire lives. When you see the gopis, the mother gopis, they were always thinking that I love my children, but I love Krishna even more. They were always thinking like this. That Krishna completely captures my mind. Krishna completely captured my heart and He is the son of Yashoda and Nanda and I love my children, but they were all thinking, if only Krishna was my son, then I would be able to serve Him, just like mother Yashoda would. They were always thinking like this.
So Krishna fulfills everyone’s desire. Just to fulfill their desire, He bewildered Brahma. And the parents, when they began to embrace their children, even though they were somewhat grown up, their breasts filled with milk and their children started to drink that milk and they were simply in the ambrosial ecstasy of love. And they were thinking , this child of mine, I love him as much as I love Krishna. And not only that, when they would see other children’s, from other parents, that same ecstatic parental love would awaken in their heart. The same as for their own children. You see all the children were Krishna in disguise. So when the elderly gopis, every child they saw, even though they were other parents children, they just had the same ecstatic, infinite, unlimited love for all of them. You can imagine what a wonderful place Vrindavan is. And the calves, when the cows saw the calves, they just started licking their bodies, and licking their bodies and licking their bodies, as if they just wanted to swallow them and eat them. They just loved their calves so much. Tears were flowing from their eyes.
Krishna smashes Brahma’s ego:
In this way, time went on. And every day their love was increasing. And Krishna was tasting the sweetness of such parental affection from all the gopis and all the cows. Now at that time, Sudhama, Sridhama, Subala, Gopa Krishna, Arjuna all of these, Madhumangal, all the cowherd boys had disappeared and Krishna became all of them, except Balaram. Because the day that Brahma stole all of these children and calves, it happened to be Balaram’s birthday, so therefore, Mother Yashoda told Balaramji that you cannot herd the cows today. Today you must stay home and we must celebrate your birthday and I must do abhishek to you and all of those nice vedic rituals. So what took place in Vrindavan by this Yoga maya potency, even Balaramji didn’t understand. So five or six days before the end of the year, one year had elapsed, one day, Krishna and Balaram were herding the calves at the bottom of the Govardhan hill and the elderly cowherd men, they were herding the cows on the top of Govardhan hill. Now when the cows saw their calves, they were the elderly calves, they had little baby calves, that were drinking their milk, the elderly calves had already finished that stage of life of drinking the cow’s milk. But when they saw these elder calves, who were all expansion of Sri Krishna, the cows just became so much overwhelmed with affection, that they just started running down the mountain. Running and running, their tails raised up, their heads raised up. And the cowherd men tried to stop them with all their might, but how could they stop them, it was not possible, why, so they became very angry, very upset and they chase after. And the elder calves started drinking the mothers milk and the mothers started crying tears out of ecstatic love. And that time the cowherd men, although angry, when they saw their children, who were also expansions of Lord Sri Krishna, they just began to embrace them and they started smelling their heads and embracing them and their hearts were filled with so much bhakti. And after some time, they went back with the cows and they were just weeping tears and tears of love for their children. So Balaramji asked, how is this possible Krishna? Never have I seen such a phenomena, what type of mystic potency is overwhelming all of the residents of Vrindavan. I think that all of these must be expansions of you, otherwise there could not be such love. And Krishna explained the situation. A few days later, it was Balaram’s birthday again, he did not come out. Now one moment according to the demigods is a year on this earth. So Brahma, after a moment passed he came back to see all the disturbance and anxiety he caused to Krishna and His friends. One year had elapsed. And when he looked, he saw, sitting on the banks of Yamuna, with his friends, Krishna having nice Prasad and joking and everything else, just like before. Brahma was thinking how is this possible? He went back to the cave, they were still sleeping, then he went back to Vrindavan and they were playing and when he went back to the cave and they were sleeping and then he went back to Vrindavan and they were playing. He was thinking, may be they are running back and forth so fast, so he was going very fast to make sure they were in both places. And he was bewildered, what is happening?
And as he looked on to Krishna and all the boys, every cowherd boy was transformed into the Vishnu form, with a beautiful bluish complexion with four arms, with beautiful crowns and jewels, with Srinivas Laxmi on the chest. It was a wonderful sight, he didn’t know what to think and what not to think. He was completely bewildered. He practically fell unconscious. He saw great demigods and sages worshiping each Vishnu form. Each one endowed with all mystic powers. And then all at once all of these illustrious Narayan forms disappeared and all it was left was little Krishna, standing alone looking for His friends, with some food in His hands made out of yogurt and fruit. And then Brahma could understand that even Lord Narayan, He is the only person in the whole existence greater than me, but this Krishna, He is even greater than Narayan. He is the Supreme God Head. And therefore with great humility, he submissively approached Sri Krishna and fell at His lotus feet and put the four crowns of his heads on Krishna’s lotus feet. And began to cry tears and he bathed Krishna’s feet with his tears. And with great humility, he began to explain that I am considering that I am very great, but before you my Lord, I am most insignificant. As a fire fly at night thinks that he is lighting up all directions, but at the time of the rising of the sun, he realizes that all of his powers are really insignificant. So Krishna is the Supreme param Brahma and what is our position compared to Brahma. Brahma even in his supreme stature, of the father and creator all living beings, could not understand Krishna, save and less, he completely humbled himself with all submissiveness before the Lord. So this is the great lesson, that one should never think, that we have access by our knowledge, by our austerity, by our piety, by our birth, by our wealth. We should never think that we have access into an understanding of the Supreme Absolute Truth. There is only one process, to submit oneself, in great humility before the Lord and His devotees. Then Krishna reveals Himself. And actually the ways of this world, Maya is so powerful, that ultimately she bewilders the living entities to such an extent, that the living being must simply, humbly submit himself and surrender to the Lord and His devotees. It’s just the question of when.
nähaà prakäçaù sarvasya
müòho ‘yaà näbhijänäti
loko mäm ajam avyayam
(Bhagavad Gita 7.25)
Krishna says for those who are unintelligent, I cover them with the curtain of maya. So all of us are covered by the curtain of maya. And these cowherd boys, they did not have any special position, they were living on this earth, simple vaishyas. They knew Krishna so well, but Lord Brahma, he could not understand Him until he submissively surrendered to His lotus feet. So this is a mystery, because Brahma is the original spiritual master of our sampradaya. How is it possible that he could be bewildered? You see, this is actually the glory of Lord Brahma, that he is such a surrendered soul that he is allowing his own life to be put into any situation however he could best serve the Lords interests. Just like we have spoken many times about Bhisma, the greatest warrior, but he was willing to take the wrong side. Just to prove something to the world, that however great and powerful you are, if you are not on the side of the God, you will be defeated. So Lord Brahma, Krishna wanted to show the world, however super intelligent you may be, however good your birth may be, however powerful and creative you may be, if you do not submit yourself with all humility before the Lord, you will be bewildered by the external energy. So therefore, he was so surrendered that he allowed himself to be put into this illusion. Therefore, Krishna was actually glorifying Brahma and glorifying the ultimate conclusion that Brahma showed to the world.
trinad api sunicena, taror api sahishnuna
amanina manadena, kirtaniya sada hari
Krishna also performed a similar pastime with Indra, during the Govardhan pooja ceremony, just to show that whoever we may be, we all have direct access to Krishna, through being the servant of the servant of the servant, through submitting our self to the lotus feet of Guru, of the vaishnava’s, through submitting ourselves to the Lord through this way, anyone in any situation, can approach Krishna. And therefore, when we approach Krishna, by chanting His Holy names, we should know, we should know that without this submissive service attitude Krishna will not reveal Himself through His name. Krishna is the substance and the essence of His name. The form of the name it is explained, that just like, medicine may be put in a capsule, but that same capsule may not have medicine, it may even have cyanide, poison. So it not the capsule that is so important, it is what is within it. So similarly, when we chant the Holy name of the Lord, according to our consciousness, according to our nature, how much we are approaching the name in the mood of service, not exploitation, but service, to that extent Krishna manifests Himself and reveals Himself through His name. Factually we could chant hundreds of rounds a day, for years and years and years and never taste Krishna in His name. Why? Because He’s not there, it’s only a shadow. Therefore, even Lord Brahma, what to speak of us, without that submissive service attitude he could not recognize Krishna. Krishna would not reveal the truth of His nature until he surrendered, until he became a submissive servant. And similarly when we chant the Holy name, unless we really learn the process of devotional service of being humble and gentle servants of the Lord, then the name will not have the proper effect. So we should pray always, that we may develop this most beautiful and wonderful quality. Krishna explains in the Gita,
bhaktyä mäm abhijänäti
yävän yaç cäsmi tattvataù
tato mäà tattvato jïätvä
(Bhagavad Gita 18.55)
That it is only by this service spirit, bhakti, devotion and that submissive willingness to please the Lord, to please the devotees, it is only through this that he reveals Himself. In the form of the deity and through the divine form of His Holy name. So let us all rise. In this spirit we should pray “my dear Lord please grant us the supreme benediction, that we may cast aside all of the illusory feelings of prestige, pride and material attachments”.