“ACARYA KESARI SRI SRIMAD BHAKTIPRAJNANA KESAVA GOSVAMI – HIS LIFE AND TEACHINGS.”
(FOURTH PART, THE RASIKA AND BHAVUKA BHAGAVATA)
Once, during the month of Kartika, Srila Gurupadapadma had brought his noble presence to Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha. One day he was sitting in his bhajana-kutira and chanting harinama, absorbed in transcendental emotions. I had sat down close to him and was reading about Sri Damodara bandhana in Sri Gopala Campu. Having read it, I became so attracted to Jiva Gosvami’s idea that I could not check myself. Taking the book in my hand, I came right in front of Srila Gurudeva and said,
“In his time, Sri Jiva Gosvami was a great maha-purusa with immense knowledge of all philosophical principles. Yet at the same time he was also an aprakrta rasika poet. The combination of vast spiritual erudition with poetic artistry is extremely rare in this world. But when we read the episode of Damodara bandhana-lila in Gopala Campu, we can see how Sri Jiva Gosvami combined these two attributes in an astonishing way.”
Having said this I began to read aloud from Gopala Campu for Srila Gurudeva to hear.
Yasoda Maiya ran very quickly after her infant child, who had fled out onto the main road. She caught Him with one hand, took a small stick in the other, and began to scold Him. “I’ll give you such a beating! I know you go from house to house stealing. You are a thief (caura)!”
Krsna: “Oh Maiya! Don’t beat me! No caura has ever appeared in my father’s dynasty. They only appear in your father’s dynasty. I’m not a thief.”
Maiya smiled and said, “How was the yogurt churning pot broken, then?”
Krsna: “Well, that is the punishment given by the Supreme Lord.”
Maiya: “And who fed the butter to the monkeys?”
Krsna: “He who has made the monkeys feeds the monkeys.”
Maiya (angry, but laughing): “Now tell me the truth. How did the butter pot break?”
Krsna (crying): “You jumped up in a hurry to pacify the milk that was boiling over, and you were so flustered that your heavy anklets struck the pot and it broke. So tell Me, how am I to blame for this?”
Maiya: “Is that the truth? In that case, tell me how You come to have butter on Your face?”
Krsna: “Oh Maiya! Every day a monkey comes and puts his hand in the pot to eat the butter, but today I caught him. He pulled out his hand and began to run away, but the butter on his hand smeared on My face. Tell Me honestly, am I at fault in this? But still you call Me a thief and want to beat Me.”
Maiya: “Are barabola! Hey cheeky! Bandhar-bandho! Oh, friend of the monkeys! You and the grinding mortar are accomplices in crime. Now I shall punish you both by binding you together.”
After a great deal of endeavor, by the mercy of Bhagavan, she tied Krsna to the grinding mortar and went inside to get on with her household duties. Dragging the grinding mortar with his little friends, Bala-Krsna began to crawl through the gap between the two Arjuna trees which stood before the entrance of the house. At the mere touch of the grinding mortar, both trees came crashing down with the most terrific thundering sound.
Wherever the Vrajavasis were, they all heard the sound and came running to that place. Nanda Baba and Yasoda Maiya also arrived there, and when Yasoda Maiya saw her son between the two fallen trees, who became speechless. Nanda Baba was struck with wonder. He approached his son and took Him in his lap. When Krsna saw His father He began to weep loudly. Nanda Baba gently caressed Krsna’s head and His limbs with his hands. He began to pat Him, and kissing His face he said, “Lala! My darling boy! Who bound you like this?” Krsna was crying and did not answer. Nanda Baba asked again and again. Finally, Krsna whispered in Baba’s ear, “Maiya did it.” Nanda Baba became very grave. “Maiya did it! Your mother is so cruel!” After saying this, he fell silent.
Nanda Baba then took both Krsna and Baladau in his lap and went to take bath in the Yamuna. He employed brahmanas to recite auspicious benedictions, distributed cows in charity, and then quickly returned home. Rohini Maiya engaged some gopis in cooking and serving food to Rama and Krsna with Nanda Baba. After honoring prasada in silence, Nanda Baba went with his two sons to take his seat in the council of the community. In the evening, when he came to the gosala he fed Krsna and Baladeva with misri (white sugar candy) and squirted warm milk into their mouths directly from the udder of a cow until their bellies were full.
When Vrajaraja (Nanda Baba) had finished taking his evening meal along with his two sons, the elder gopis of the community all came before him, bringing Rohiniji with them. The two children were sitting in Baba’s lap.
Rohiniji said, “Rajan! Krsna’s mother has not taken her meal. She is sting in a corner as silent as a stone. All the gopis in the house are so sad. They are also sitting silently without eating or drinking.”
With mixed feelings of sorrow and amusement, Vrajaraja said: “What should I do? She should realize that this is the fruit of anger!”
Tears flowed from the eyes of the elder gopis as they said, “Haya! Haya! Yasoda is extremely soft, both inside and out. You shouldn’t call her cruel. It’s not right to use a word like that for her.”
Hearing this Vrajaraja became even more emotional; smiling he asked, “Lala! Will you go to Maiya?”
“No! No! I will only stay with you,” replied Krsna emphatically.
Upananda’s wife laughed and said, “You may stay with Baba, but who will breastfeed you?”
Krsna: “Baba will squirt warm milk into my mouth from the udder of the cows and he will feed me misri, too.”
“Who will play with you?”
“I’ll play with Pitaji and Dau Bhaiya.”
Vrajaraja said, “Why don’t you go to Rohini Maiya?”
Krsna sobbed and said angrily, “I was calling out to my elder Maiya to let me go, but she didn’t come, and Rohini Maiya didn’t come either.”
Hearing this, Rohini Maiya said softly with tears flowing down her face, “Lala! Don’t be so cruel-hearted. Your mother is crying for You.”
Krsna’s eyes, too, brimmed with tears when He heard this. He turned around and began to look at the face of His father. At the same time, Rohini Maiya gestured to Baladeva to bring Krsna to His mother. Baladeva caught hold of Krsna with both hands and began to drag Him towards Rohini Maiya, but Krsna shook him off with a jerk and wrapped His arms tightly around Nanda Baba’s neck. A shower of tears began to fall from Baba’s eyes, as well. Raising his hands he said, “Lala! Should I slap your Maiya?”
Bala-Krsna could not tolerate this, and caught hold of both of his father’s hands tightly. At that moment, Baba remembered the anguish within the heart of Yasoda. Rohini Maiya said to Krsna, “Lala! What if your Maiya should…” She paused and motioned with her hands meaning that if she should die, “then what will you do?”
As soon as He heard this, Krsna cried out loudly, “Maiya! Maiya! Maiya!” He stretched out His arms in the direction of His elder mother, and on His own accord He ran to sit on her lap.
Rohini Maiya was in tears. She picked up Krsna who was also crying, and entered the ladies’ inner chamber of the house, she put Him down in Yasoda Maiya’s lap. Yasoda Maiya covered Krsna with her veil and began to weep like a kurari bird. All the gopis who had assembled in the ladies’ quarters began to cry as well, and Nanda Baba was crying in the meeting room.
The whole atmosphere became submerged with vatsalya-rasa.
As soon as Srila Gurudeva heard this narration, he also burst out crying. An uninterrupted stream of tears began to flow from his eyes and other bodily transformations (asta-sattvika-bhava) were also clearly visible. I have only seen such unprecedented bhava once or twice in my life.