Boyhood Pranks of Śrī Krsna (21-28)
21. In course of time, Rāma and Śrī Krsna began to move about together playfully on their knees and hands. 22. They dragged themselves through slushy regions in Vraja to the accompaniment of the tinkling sound of their anklets and girdles. Delighted to hear the sounds themselves, they looked at people passing by for a while, but then withdrew themselves to their mothers, as if out of bash fulness or fear at the sight of strangers. 23. Their mothers, ecstatic with joy, took up the children, whose bodies looked lovely with mud doing duty for unguents. They then applied them to their breasts, and were thrilled to see their faces bright with winning smiles, revealing their newly sprouting teeth. 24. When the boys had grown up enough to entertain the Gopīs by their play, it became usual for the Gopīs to forget their household duties and merrily watch the tug of war between the boys tightly holding calves by their tails, and the calves dragging them hither and thither. 25. The mothers now fell into a dilemma and the worry there from — whether they should attend to their house-hold duties, or constantly watch and guard their boys. For so playful and vivacious were they that they had to be incessantly guarded from the danger of cows, fires, cats, knives, ponds, birds, and thorns. 26. Shortly, Rama and Sri Krsna passed the stage of moving on knees and began to run about on their feet. 27. Not long after, Śrī Krsna, along with Rāma and other friends, began to engage himself in various sportive pranks to the great joy of the women of Vraja. 28. It is said that the Gopīs one day gathered together and began to speak of Śrī Krsna's delightful pranks in the hearing of his mother Yaśodàā as follows:
* Adapted from Srimad Bhagavata.
Gopīs' Complaint to the Mother (29-31)
29. "O mother! He comes and releases the calves before milking time. If anyone scolds him for this, he laughs at him or her. Then he makes arrangements for thieving milk products and consumes all the milk and curds he gets that way, and distributes good quantities of it among the monkeys that follow him. When he does not consume their contents, he breaks the containers. If he gets nothing in any place, he goes away in anger, pinching the little children there and making them cry. 30. When he cannot reach the receptacles of milk products with his hands, he devises a stand with stools and mortars. Knowing as he does which pot contains milk and which curds or butter, he makes holes in the mud pots kept in slings, and drains off their contents. Where the slings are in darkness, the brilliance of his
bedecked body provides sufficient light for him. All this he does when the Gopis are very busily attending to their household duties. 31. If questioned about his misconduct, he gives impudent replies, and answers calls of nature in the courtyards of the houses. Now look at him! He stands there, a picture of innocence after having done so much mischief!" The Gopīs represented all this to Yaśodā, looking now and then at the face of Śrī Krsna that was all the more beautiful because of the signs of pretended fright at the charges brought against him. The only response of Yaśodā was to laugh away the whole thing. She could not bring herself to scold her darling by any means.
Śrī Krsna Eating Mud (32-45)
32. One day, while Śrī Krsna was playing in the company of Rāma and other cowherd boys, some of them went to his mother and complained that Śrī Krsna had eaten mud. 33. In the interest of his health, the mother caught hold of Śrī Krsna by his hand and scolded him while he stood with his eyes tremulous with fright. She said to him: 34. "0 mischievous fellow! Why did you eat mud stealthily? Your friends and even your brother testify to it." Child Krsna protested: 35. "Mother! I have not done so. They are telling a lie. If you think they are telling the truth, please examine my mouth in their presence." 36. The mother said: "All right, open your mouth." And Śrī Hari, who had become a human child out of sport without any loss of his divine powers, now showed his mouth to her. 37. She saw within it the whole universe of moving and unmoving entities — the sky and the quarters; the earth with its mountains and oceans, including the spheres of wind called Pravaha and of lightning called fire; and the moon and the stars and all the other worlds. 38. Besides, she saw the whole heaven with its luminaries, the surrounding girdle of the categories of water, fire, air and sky; the deities presiding over the Indriyas and the Indriyas (sense powers) themselves; and the mind, the elements forming the objects of senses, and the Gunas of Prakrit/'. 39. She saw within
her child the whole universe with all its diversities and distinctions caused by the Jīva (or individuality), Time (or the principle of change), Swabhāva (Nature), the impressions caused by Karma and the mind. What was more, she was filled with worry and doubts to see within his open mouth even that land of Vraja with herself in it. 40. She then thought: What can this be? Is it a dream or the Lord's Māya or the work of my deranged brain ? Or can this be due to some extraordinary powers natural to my boy? 41. I salute that supremely mysterious Being by whom, out of whom, and on whose support, this world has its existence a world which stands as a puzzle to all the efforts of man to understand it through his intellect, mind, action and words. 42. My only support is He by whose Māya I have come to think perversely — I am Yaśodā; Nanda is my husband; this is my son; I am heir to all the wealth of this chief of cowherds; all these Gopas and Gopīs and cows are under my command!" 43. The Lord thereupon cast the spell of Visnu's Māya of parental affection on his mother who had come to glimpse the truth. 44. At once Yaśodā lost even the memory of the experience she had, and she gathered up her son in her lap, overcome by intense affection for him as before.
Śrī Krsna Tied To A Mortar— Grace Showered On Yaśodā
Śrī Śuka said. 1. Once Yaśoda was herself engaged in churning the curds. 2. While churning, she kept on remembering and singing songs on the childhood sports of Śrī Krsna that have been described heretofore. 3. A silken cloth round her heavy hips encircled by a girdle; her breasts tremulous and shedding milk out of her overflowing affection for her child; her bracelets and her ear ornaments moving with her exertion in churning; her face revealing drops of perspiration on it; her tresses shedding jasmine flowers — such was the picture of handsome Yaśodā as she sat churning. 4. Thirsty for milk, Śrī Hari approached the mother engaged in churning, and stopped her churning operation by arresting the churning rod, thereby
filling the mother's heart with great joy. 5. Seating him on her lap, she suckled him with the abundant flow of milk that her intense affection was generating, watching all the while the charming face of her boy with waves of smile playing upon it. Just then she noticed that the milk kept on the fire for boiling was overflowing. She ran towards it, keeping on the floor her child, who had still not had his full feed. 6. Angry with this, child Śrī Krsna's eyes became red, and his lips trembled and he began to bite his lips. He then took a stoneroller, broke the churning pot and let go all its contents. With make-believe stage-tears in his eyes, he repaired to a solitary place in the interior of the house, where he sat eating a lump of butter that he took from the store. 7. After taking down the boiled milk from the oven, Yaśodā returned only to see the broken curd pot and the curd all spilt. She understood that this was her son's work, but only laughed at it. The boy, however, was not to be seen anywhere near. 8. Soon she caught sight of him, sitting on an upturned rice-husking mortar and throwing lumps of butter stolen from the sling to monkeys. Occasionally, with the fear of discovery of his theft writ large in his eyes, he was glancing hither and thither. Yaśodā approached him slowly from behind. 9. On seeing the mother approach stick in hand, he got up in great haste, and ran away as if in mighty fear. The mother also followed him — Him whom even a Yogi's mind, well prepared by practice and austerity, fails to reach without His grace. 10. Her pursuit of him was slowed by the heaviness of her hips, and in the course of the effort she put into the task, she was found to be followed by the numerous flowers that fell from her loosened tresses. 11. Weeping from a sense of guilt, rubbing his collyrium-painted eyes with the hand, and looking now and then at the mother's face with terror-stricken eyes, he was caught by Yaśodā by the hand and threatened and scolded. 12. As she saw her son frightened, she threw away the stick (giving up the idea of beating him), and without any inkling of his powers, decided to tie him up to the husking mortar. 13-14. He who has neither inside
nor outside, who has neither before nor after; who is yet the 'before' and the 'after', the 'inside' and the 'outside' of the whole universe, nay, who is the universe itself— Him, the Unmanifest and the Supreme sporting a human form, the master of the senses — Him, the Gopī taking for her child, tried to fasten to the mortar. 15. In tying her guilty child to the mortar, she found that the string in her hand was short by about two inches, to complete the round. So she attached another string to it. 16. When she found that even that was short by two inches, she attached another with the same result. Whatever attachment she made, it was all found to be short by two inches. 17. Yaśodā thus exhausted all the strings in her house, but still there was the shortage of two inches to complete the round. The Gopīs, who were watching all this standing round her, began to laugh at Yaśodā's predicament; and she too burst into laughter in utter astonishment. 18. Finally, seeing his mother perspiring, with her hair disheveled and flowers falling from it, Śrī Krsna felt pity for her exertions, and out of kindness to her allowed her to tie him up.