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Caturtha Puranam

Fourth Chapter


Shriman Nanda-nandana-parva

The Festival For Nanda’s Son


          1.  On the first day Madhukantha sang the glories of Lord Krishna.  On the second day in the same way, Snigdhakantha sang the glories of Lord Krishna.


          2.  Madhukantha eagerly asked:


“Yesterday my voice tasted the sweet nectar of talking about Lord Krishna.  Today it is ears that yearn to taste that nectar.  Although it is the soul that truly tastes that nectar, it seems that my eyes and other senses again and again yearn to taste it.”


          3.  Then Snigdhakantha said, “Filled with joy, the elderly lady found Nanda, Upananda, and the others who had gone to the barn to milk the cows.”


          4.  It is said:


“She happily hurried there.  Seeing Nanda, she approached to speak to him.  Her hands bearing fruit and other gifts, she told him of her son’s birth.  Again she told him.  Everyone there honoured her.”


          5.  Madhukantha said,  “What did she say?”


          6.  Smiling Snighdhakantha said, “She said,’Our king now has a son.  Will you come to see Him.’”


          7.  Smiling Madhukantha said, “Then? Then?”


          8.  Snigdhakantha said, “Like peacocks when they meet the nectar monsoon rains, the cowherd men let out a great sound of rejoicing.  Overcome with bliss Nanda could not speak a word.  The hairs of his body erect with joy, he had become like a great tree suddenly blooming with new twigs and flowers.”


          9. Madhukantha said, “Then? Then?”


          10.  Snighdhakantha said, “Smiling, everyone honoured the grey-haired old lady, who then happily said, “May auspiciousness come to your son.” Then she offered to Nanda an auspicious gift of fruit and durva grass anointed with rocana, kumkuma and sandal woodpaste.  Seeing this, Shriman Upananda joyfully said to Nanda, “You should leave the cows and quickly return home.”  All the men there happily said, ‘This lady has brought the good news you yearned to hear.’”


          11.  “A son was happily born to Nanda.  How was it possible?  How was it possible?  Nanda’s intelligence had no power to understand how it had happened.”


          12.  “Donning the robes of a person performing religious rituals, glorious King Nanda gave many valuables away in charity. All other charity was dwarfed by his actions.  Deciding to visit Nanda’s home, the leaders of Vraja also dressed in fine garments.  By Rohini’s order two drummers sounding dundubhi drums walked from the great archway.  First they would sound the drums, and then they would announce, ‘Nanda’s son is born!’  This they did again and again.


          13.  “At night hearing from the sky a great tumult of heavenly music and many calls of  ‘Jaya! Jaya!’, the people of Vraja also made a great tumult of joyful sounds.”


          14.  Nanda trembled.  He was stunned with bliss and longing.  It was only when Lord Narayana, whom Nanda had long served, took his hand that Nanda became peaceful.  Then Nanda returned to his home. 


          15.  “One by one meeting each other, a great host of friends and kinsmen hurried to Nanda’s home.  As many streams gradually combine to form the Ganga, they gradually became a great stream of people flowing towards Nanda’s home.”


          16.  Thousand and thousands of glorious saintly ladies also came.  They offered arati to King Nanda, and they celebrated the birth of his son.


          17.  “When King Nanda came to greet them, the people of Vraja made a great joyful noise.  Gracefully decorated handsome Nanda was like a glistening nectar moon surrounded by many hosts of stars in the assembly of the sky.”


          18.  “Although the brahmanas were eager to greet Nanda with great respect, before they could do that, Nanda called them each forward and worshipped them.”


          19.  “Many learned, auspicious, and affectionate brahmanas sat around the jubilant King Nanda.  They offered many blessings, recited mantras from the Vedas, and placed durva grass and other auspicious articles on new-born Krishna’s head.  Nanda was glorious with joy.”


          20.  “Listening to the auspicious Vedic hymns, and celebrating the birth of his son, the great soul Nanda performed the rituals of decorating and bathing the body. I cannot glorify these actions of his enough.  Simply by hearing of these activities that begin with the ritual bath, every listener attains a pious result that has no limit.”


          21.  “Ordered by the guru, ‘Now the jata-karma rituals should be performed,’ Nanda performed those rituals.”


          22.  “First Nanda worshipped his sister-in-law, who were happy as if they themselves were the boys’ mother.”


          23.  Then Nanda performed the nandimukha-sraddha ceremony where he worshipped his ancestors.


          24.  “Then accompanied by many brahmana boys learned in Vedic rituals, Nanda entered the maternity room were at the entrance was a altar with purna-kumbha and other auspicious articles.  Then, while Yasoda whose glories fill the three worlds, concealed the new-born on the bed, Rohini, whose glory fulfils all desires, greeted Nanda and the visitors.  They entered the forepart of the room.  Then, with sweet and playful words the visitors begged to see the new-born boy so their eyes maybe decorated with His glorious vision.  Begging and begging, they finally gazed at the new-born boy, a boy whose glory and worth are beyond measure.”


          25.  “Everyone gazed at the new-born boy more splendid than the king of lotus flowers, His form the playground of  splendid and gentle glory, His playful actions filling the worlds with wonder, His limbs more splendid than the most glorious sapphire, His gentle splendour more charming than a host of glorious vaidurya jewels or than graceful moss decorating the Yamuna’s dark waters, His glistening eyes like blue lotus buds placed within expanded  white lotus flowers, His limbs and feet resting on a bed of leaves from a kapla-vrksa tree in the world of Vaikuntha, and His limbs adorned with yellow garments more glorious than gold.  Bathing Him with the tears from their eyes, they gazed for some moments.  Everyone was stunned.”


          26.  “Although many kinds of ecstatic love took birth within him, saintly and profound King Nanda did not move.  He was stunned.”


          27.  “As Vraja’s king Nanda was stunned and motionless, Upanada’s wife eagerly and happily placed the new-born boy on her lap.”


          28.  “Hearing the words, “Place the child on King Nanda’s lap,” Queen Yasoda, resting on the maternity bed, was overcome with joy. She was stunned.  The hairs of her body stood erect.  Tears slid from her eyes.”


          29.  “The brahmanas bearing the surname Sarma performed the jata-karma ritual.  Reciting the Dasa-karma-paddhati mantra beginning ‘bhus tvayi’, a priest had new-born Krishna lick a drop of ghee from his golden-ringed ring finger.  Then he performed the ayusua-kriya(longlife) ritual.  In that ritual he recited the mantras beginning ‘om agnir ayusman’ in the newborn boys right ear.  Then chanting the mantras beginning, ‘om divaspati’, the priest touched the newborn boy.  Then he chanted the mantra beginning ‘om idam annam pranaya’, in each of the four directions. Then chanting the mantra beginning ‘om asma bhava,’ he again touched the new-born boy.  Then he chanted the mantra beginning ‘om idasi’ over the new-born boy’s mother. Then he recited two mantras beginning ‘om idam stanam’, and the other beginning, ‘om yas te stanam’ over the mother’s breasts.  Then as the newborn boy lay on the bed, the priest chanted the mantra beginning ‘om apo devesu’ and sprinkled water on the boys head.”


          30.  When the jata-karma ritual was thus completed, the joyous time for cutting the umbilical cord came.  At the time the midwife, the hairs of her body erect, twice or thrice called out, “A wonder!” She said, “O King, I cannot find any umbilical cord on the boys navel lake.  I am not lying.  I am not lying.  There is no umbilical cord.”


          31.  “On this boy’s feet are glorious marks beginning with the marks of a conchshell, cakra, thunderbolt, and lotus.  Other auspicious marks are on His hands.  O king of Vraja, look!  On this boys body splendid like a monsoon cloud are more auspicious marks than are described in the Samudrika-sastra.  This is very surprising.”


          32.  “Filled with wonder, the brahmana boys smiled and said, ‘O giver of all auspiciousness, O supremely pure master of religion, if we cannot cut Your umbilical cord, how can we perform this purifying ceremony?’”


          33.  Their moonlike faces blossoming with wonder and the hairs of their bodies erect, the brahmana boys performed the appropriate yajna.  Happy and satisfied Nanda gave them appropriate gifts.


          34.  “Nanda gave many glorious gifts.  No one could even count all the gifts he gave.”


          35.  “Nanda gave many cows in charity.  He began by giving a ten thousand cows, a hundred thousand cows, and a million cows.  Then he gave two million cows.”


          36.  “When he gave another two million cows with gold-anointed horns top another brahmana, he still felt unsatisfied at heart.”


          37.  “By the tens of dronas he gave away seven mountains of grain.  Then he gave away seven mountains of gold and jewels to the brahmanas.”


          38.  “In this way he gave a very great daksina to the brahmanas.  The brahmanas were all filled with wonder.”


          39.  “Brahmanas without number could not count all charity that Nanda gave.  In this way Nanda glorified the brahmans.”


          40.  “Reciting auspicious poems at the festival, may brahmana poets learned in the Vedas and expert in various subjects, brahmans poets who were sutas, magadhas, vandis, krsasvis, and gayakas, filled the whole of Vraja with wonder.  The land of Vraja was seen to be filled with bliss.  How can I describe the bliss the people of Vraja felt?  Vraja was free from any suffering.  It glistened with spiritual love.  It was decorated with hosts of colorful, wonderful dancing flags.  The calves, the cows and bulls were affectionately anointed with oil and tumeric, happily painted with pictures and designs drawn in mineral pigments, and decorated with peacock feathers and golden necklaces.  How can I describe how the cowherd people were decorated.  They were glorious like kings of the earth.  They were decorated with glorious ornaments.  They were not different from the glorious heroes described in books of poetry.  In their hands they held gifts of glistening jewels.  They were great heroes and heroines of spiritual love  The cowherd people were like that. Who has the power to describe Gokula’s Queen Yasoda and the other gopis, whose hearts are anointed with a great host of spiritual virtues.?”


          41.  “At first, unhappy they had not the good fortune to have Krishna as their son, the ladies of Vraja did not wear any ornaments.  But then hearing of Krishna’s glories,they became filled with ecstatic bliss and beauty and opulence.”


          42. “In the festival of Yasoda’s sons birth the effulgence of the gopis’ moonlike faces joyfully shone with a splendour that defeated kumkuma.”


          43.  The gopis sang:


“Hearing that last night Yasoda gave birth to a glorious son, all the gopis have come to her home.


Quickly they dressed in beautiful garments and ornaments.  As they hurried, the path became filled with many flowers fallen from their garlands.


Jewel earring swung in their cheeks.  Great cloaks bit their necks.


Their necklaces were trembling lightning flashes.  Their wonderful garments were tied with graceful sashes.”


          44.  It is also said:


“When the people of Vraja came before new-born Krishna, the musicians among the demigods sweetly played on their musical instruments.”


          45.  “Hearing this music Upananda and the other deeply wise cowherd people became filled with joy.  They sang,danced, and enjoyed many pastimes.”


          46.  “The assembled women blessed the new-born boy with many words.  Gazing at Him, they sang this song describing His glories:”


          47.  “O graceful young prince of Vraja, please always protect us.”


“Very quickly your power and glory and opulence will grow.  If you will please make us happy and prosperous.


We yearn to see your smiling face.  We yearn to see You as an infant happily crawling in the courtyard.”


When, grasping a calf’s tail, will you be pulled to and fro?


When, running to and fro, will You happily play with the calves?


Anyone who sees Your pastimes of herding the cows will become very fortunate.


“With your great power You will crsuh the demons.  To the saintly devotees You will give the glorious fruit of their devotional service.”


          48.  “The joyful women sang this song at the festival.  Again and again they sprinkled tumeric and oil.  Then they went outside.”


          49.  Furthermore:


“Sprinkling each other with milk, yoghurt and other like things, the gopis become white. They were like waves dancing in an ocean of milk.”


          50.  Gathering together, the gopis sang this song:


“O gopis friends, look at Vraja’s king.  He has become joyful and playful in his son’s festival.


It is as if he is now churning Mount Mandara in an ocean of yoghurt.


It is as if Vasuki, the king of  Snakes, is now coiled about his waist.  He is delighted by his dear friends.


Again and again he gives rare and precious gifts.  He fills everyone with wonder.


Appearing on the eastern horizon, a wonderful moon is now born as his son.”


          51.  Then they recited this sloka:


“This is not sprinkling of drops of milk.  It is a monsoon flood.  This is not sprinkling of lumps of butter. It is a shower of pearls falling from monsoon clouds.  This is not sprinkling of tumeric and water. It is the splendour of many lightning flashes.  The monsoon season personified has joyfully created the festival we now observe.”


          52.  “Again and again slipping on the ground muddy with yoghurt and other milk products, Yasoda’s brothers again and again held on to their father as if they were a band of thieves.  Seeing this, Nanda’s brothers loudly laughed.”


          53.  Very generous and wealthy Nanda called for ten billion virtuous men and, without thinking who was more and who was less qualified to receive, carefully gave them many jewels as far as he was able.


          54.  Furthermore:


“In ordinary situations a beggar asks and a donor gives.  With Nanda the situation was different.  He gave without being asked.”


          55.  Therefore:


“King Nanda gave without being asked. He was so generous that the kalpa-vrksa trees, the cinatmini jewels and all other generous donors seemed misers by comparison.”


          56.  There also:


“If He is pleased with these actions, may Lord Vishnu auspiciousness to my son.  As he gave charity King Nanda thought this.”


          57.  After the festival everyone desired to bathe.  Taking Nanda with them they went to the Yamuna. 


          58.  Without any restrain they happily played in the water with King Nanda.  Then they anointed their bodies with fragrances, donned splendid garments, and anointed their bodies with sandal paste and camphor.  Then they went to saintly Purnamasi, who was meditating in a leaf cottage, and they all bowed down before her.  She listened to the poets poems.  Then they all returned to King Nanda’s palace.


          59.  “There glorious King Nanda made a great river of splendid gifts, a river that flowed into the ocean of his kinsmen.”


          60.  “On that blissful day Rohini faithfully prepared many delicious foods cooked in ghee.  That festival was like a great host of full moons shining in King Nanda’s palace.  Feeling great bliss, everyone spent the whole night singing and dancing.”


          61.  “Who has the power to describe the joy Rohini felt on the day Lord Krishna was born?  Even though her husband was far away, on that day Rohini dressed in beautiful garments and many splendid ornaments.  Her glory and saintliness were very wonderful to see.  Very wonderful.  Even King Nanda, who is worshipped by all the worlds, considered himself very fortunate that she had come to stay in his home.”


          62.  The land of Vraja is always like an ocean filled with jewels,  Still, from the time of Lord Krishna’s appearance there, and as long as He had not departed from it, the glory of Vraja increases more and more.  That glory became very wonderful.  One by one, the goddesses of fortune took birth in the homes of the cowherd people there.  They made Vraja in to their place of pastimes.  What more can I say about Vraja?


          63.  Then Madhukantha thought, “Yes. It is true.  In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (10.5.18) it is  said:


“O Mahraja Pariksit, the home of Nanda Maharaja is eternally the abode of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His transcendental qualities and is therefore always naturally endowed with the opulence of all wealth.  Yet beginning from Lord Krishna’s appearance there, it became a place for the pastimes of goddess of fortune.”


          64. Thinking for a moment, Snigdhakantha said, “Ah! King Nanda is always glorious with earnestness and a host of virtues.”


“How great is King Nanda’s good reputation?  How great is his wealth and opulence?  How great is his limitless glory?  How many are his servants?  Where are boundaries of his kingdom.  Who has the power to know all of his glories.”


          65.  Concluding his description, Snigdhakamtha said:


“O King of Vraja, the son that was born to you filled Vraja with glory and beauty and opulence.  He made Vraja a place of wonders.”


          66.  Then as the previous day everyone returned to their homes, and Gokula’s prince Krishna went to take care of the cows.