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Breakfast and Other Pastimes
Pratah Lila continued (6:00 a.m.- 8:24 a.m.)
In order to relieve Shri Krishna from His erotic affliction, one young suka parrot recited verses to Him with the syllables 'ra' and 'dha' hidden in them, so that He could relish them without being caught by His superiors. He sang, "May Lord Narayana, whose body resembles a mountain (dharadhara), be merciful to us!" After that, the parrot repeatedly said, "dharadhara," for which Krishna fondled him and rewarded him with pomegranate seeds.
Krishna asked Madhumangala, "Friend, why didn't I see you this morning? You didn't wrestle with us today! I have people so expert in wrestling games like Prasarpa, Sarpa and Utsarpa, but who is as expert as Me? I jump over rods, My friends praise Me for My skill in different kinds of athletics, and I wrestle alone with each one of them! I lift them and let them down again, holding them with My thighs, knees and shanks. I strongly wave My arms and wrestle with My arms as well."
Madhumangala replied, "Friend, You may not have seen such an expert fighter like me, but if You saw me after I trained, You would be astonished."
Krishna asked, "What did you study?"
Madhumangala said, "Astrology."
"From Bhaguri Muni's teacher."
Then Krishna asked, "What is the benefit of it?"
Madhumangala replied, "Omniscience!"
To which Krishna responded, "Tell Me, what is on My mind?"
"Do You think I can say what is on Your mind, in such a short time?"
"Then tell Me how you would do it."
Madhumangala said, "I can check Your astrological chart at this moment." Saying this, Madhumangala marked Krishna's chart in the sand with his fingertips, constantly shaking his head and looking at the sky. He said, "See, on the slope of a charming hill there are two ponds on which a golden swan is swimming. You want to catch that swan to play with her, but she's protected by her flock and does not accept Your out stretched hand. Although You try so eagerly by different tricks and means, she cannot be enchanted. O friend, thus I'm aware of everything, being a brilliant astrologer!"
Krishna said, "O great scholar, you've understood My mind! Will I be able to get that swan today or not? Look carefully in the stars."
Madhumangala was silent for a while and then said, "O Krishna, I studied the stars for a means for You to catch that swan. You should take shelter of some colorless branch, remain there and enchant that swan , stealing her heart with the playing of Your flute, looking at the wonderful flapping of her wings. Now that I ascertained this, You must reward me! You must reward me as much as I tried to look into the planets for You!"
When Krishna filled His hands up with pomegranate seeds, broad shouldered Madhumangala ate them, saying, "O friend, do You take a savayas (friend) like me to be a vayas (bird), that You give me this birdseed? Do You think that we (brahmins and birds) are the same?"
Krishna replied, "Both you brahmins and birds recite the Vedas and both are called dvija (twice born), so you deserve equal treatment! But more than the birds, you are also a scholar, so here, take a whole pomegranate!"
Receiving this gift, Madhumangala blissfully blessed Krishna saying, "Since You gave a whole pomegranate to a brahmin like me, I bless You that You will receive two pomegranates in Your hands today! O friend, today You will give the nectar of Your lips to the teeth of Your dear one. You will be blissfully united with Her later today."
Mother Yashoda then called out, "Krishna! My boy, what are You doing? Don't be late! Take Your bath! Your meal is ready, don't let it go cold," and engaged her servants in massaging, rubbing and bathing Him. If mother Yashoda, who was filled with loving anxiety, ever found any imperfection in the work of Krishna's servants, even if they were expert, she personally took over for them to teach them by example. Sometimes, she engaged Shri Radhika's maidservants in all this work, even though everyone forbade her to do this, since Krishna was already in His teens. But Yashoda, out of pure affection, forgot about this. She only knew, "Krishna is my son. He cannot even forget my breastmilk, and these manjari's are still very small!" So, she left them alone, being eager to do her many other duties. Although mother Yashoda's mind was absorbed in thoughts of how the rice and vegetables were to be cooked, were cooking or were already cooked, and about the sweetrice, milk and savories and all the other very tasty preparations to be served to her son, she nevertheless ran around tirelessly with a fixed mind.
After Krishna was bathed, He was dressed in a lightning colored yellow dhoti by His servants, who repeatedly rubbed His hair, and dried it off, with aloe perfume. They combed and placed jati flowers in it that served like a basin for the vines of His curly locks, that defeat Lord Siva's locks in beauty. The Kasmira tilaka that the servant boys painted on Krishna's forehead made this forehead known as the monarch of His moon-like face, and the earrings they hung in His earlobes swung on His two moon-like cheeks like two suns. The brilliant, motionless armlets the servant boys placed on Krishna's arms took over the restlessness of those glossy arms, and the restlessly swinging necklace they hung on His neck attained peace on His motionless chest that was endowed with an abundance of sweetness. The Kaustubha gem they placed on His neck defeated the luster of millions of moons and suns, and a garland of kunda flowers, whose great beauty was desired by the young girls, was hung on Krishna's chest. One servant boy smeared Krishna's whole body with the most amazing kunkuma, and another one hung the bells that reside in Priyaji's ears around His waist as a sash.
They hung jeweled rings and bangles on Krishna's blooming lotus-like hands and sweetly jingling, intoxicating ankel bells on His lotus feet. Then Krishna sat down on a jewelled dais that was covered with costly cloth where He closed His eyes, thinking "I remember Lord Narayana." While Krishna meditated on attaining the bimba fruit-like lips of His beloved One, and practiced japa of the mantra consisting of Her names, His body was studded with goose bumps of ecstasy.
Then, a servant boy named Kamala called Krishna saying, "O Prince, the Queen of Vraja is calling You again and again for breakfast." So, Krishna and Madhumangala got up, washed their feet, and climbed onto the dais covered with a cloth in the middle of the dining room. Shridama sat on Krishna's left and Balarama sat on His right and all the other boys blissfully surrounded Him as He blissfully ate. Mother Yashoda called Rohini to serve and Shri Radhika handed Rohini one preparation after another.
Madhumangala then said, "Krishna has no appetite, Balarama eats only a little rice and yoghurt, Shridama is a small eater by nature and Subala became asubala (weak) because of eating too little. Alas! Where is that lack of cleverness to eat nicely and where is this food, that is cooked by Laxmidevi (Shri Radhika) Herself and whose taste defeats the sweetness of nectar? In a company of prosaic people that have no eagerness to relish nectarean poetry, poetry composed by a good poet is wasted! These four kinds of foodstuffs are the fruits of all human pursuits taking shape, and I'm the only one whose eligible to enjoy it!"
Shridama then said, "Quickly eat these oblations that are your everything! Fill up your belly with those thing through which you attained your brahmin-hood, O Madhumangala."
Madhumangala replied, "Fool, you're just a cowherd! What do you know about relishing mellows? Go to the forest and do your duty by herding the cows. I've studied all the Vedas and their supplements under my teacher. Anyone who feeds me has fulfilled all sacrifices to the Lord Himself, for He eats through the mouths of the brahmins."
Shridama replied, "O brahmacari, you will not know the sruti and smriti even in a hundred births! You are known as a brahmin only because you wear this thread."
Then, Krishna intervened saying, "Bato! Have you studied the rasa shastras so that you know the purpose and definition of these curries?"
Madhumangala said, "According to rasa shastra, there are eight rasas, but I think there are only six! Through each of our six senses (touch, taste, smell, hearing, sight and the mind) we can relish these six rasas. We can behold the nice form of the food, smell its nice fragrance, taste its sweetness, touch its softness, hear its nice sound while we eat and mentally feel blissful when we eat. Thus, it is relishable through our six senses. Those people who have taken shelter of vyanjana ('vegetables' or 'suggestion') saying that there are eight mellows, don't know anything! Those who give up sabji and dal for some spiritual rasa are like those who leave an oasis to run after a mirage. Those people who do not know that you must chew to get some taste may go on chewing and sucking for millions of lives, but they will never taste any rasa."
Balarama then said, "How do you experience the taste of these mellows, how are the sancaris (dynamic expressions) and how do you taste the sthayi (permanent) mellows?"
Madhumangala explained, "Although the knowers of rasa say that crying comes after an emotional incitement, I experience it before that, of sorrow, if I don't get my curries! My face becomes joyful and my body is studded with goose bumps of ecstasy when I get my meal. Look! My bodily hue becomes smooth after eating, this is my vaivarnya (loss of bodily color, one of the stages of spiritual ecstasy), and my voice changes of ecstasy when I eat. I get stunned of distress when I cannot eat lots of khir (rice cooked in milk with sugar). Look at me when I sweat, and after I finished eating a lot my clearly dynamic moods are sleep, laziness and thoughtfulness, and although the paramount ecstasy named tastefulness is actually one, it is experienced in many different ways.
"This spinach dish is only attained after having a lot of pious merit, and whoever drinks this dal soup feels himself to be a king! This fried rice and these fried and spiced garbanzo beans are rarely attained, even by Lord Brahma. These papadums (large chips) look like white sheets and the bhaji (Indian tempura) shower our blooming lotus-like eyes with bliss! These hogplums make nectar taste sour and the cakes make us dance in ecstasy at their mere sight. When we see the khir, we're afraid we will die from indigestion and our minds simply want to be immersed in the mangoes and the jackfruits. My birth is condemned if I cannot taste the savories that act like hitching posts to bind up my elephant-like tongue, and these pickles are what my mind was searching for. These moonlike round rotis (a flat bread) are rarely attained even by paying millions of gold coins. This rice, that is sprinkled with ghee (clarified butter) that looks like golden water and that smell as nice as grass which is grazed by the cows of Vraja, is only attained by the great pious merit of having my association!"
Shridama then retorted, "O Bato! You are a brahmin from the forest. You should eat only leaves, fruits and roots! You're not supposed to enjoy all this. Go and perform your penances!"
Madhumangala said, "Bho Shridama, you are right! I performed penances in my last life, eating fruits, roots and leaves only. And now, in this birth, they are transformed into curries! The residents of the material heavens, who are clearly visible to me everyday, know that my enjoyment is not possible for those who did not perform penance. How else can it be? While tending your cows, you came in contact with the slight breeze created by my body as I walked by you, and thus you became purified with the power of my penances. Therefore, today you can share my enjoyment. Thus I have showed you how I remember my last birth. Now, as a reward, you must give me khir!"
Vrajesvari Yasoda told Rohini, "Sakhi, Madhumangala has grown tired of remembering his previous birth and speaking about it. Give this ascetic lots of sweet rice!" But as soon as smiling Rohini went to give him his sweet rice, Subala forbade her, saying, "First, you must feed the monkeys! They are also tired of speaking and they are also ascetics. They tolerate cold and heat. They eat only fruits, flowers and leaves, and aren't they learned and aware of their previous births?"
Krishna said, "Friend Subala! Brahmins are meditating on Brahman and monkeys are only interested in filling their bellies. There's a great difference between them!"
Subala said, "Hari, I cannot see any difference between brahmins and monkeys! There's not even any difference between their names (nara means man; banara means monkey). To make his expertise known to the world, Madhummangala interpreted the word brahman to mean his belly, taking it to be unlimited and everlasting. He sits down three times a day to meditate on how to fill up his belly, and for this he is fixed in celibacy. Sometimes he is so absorbed in grabbing huge amounts of cooked food that he eats with two hands, just like a monkey!
Hearing Subala's joking words, everyone, including Madhumangala, laughed. Madhumangala then choked a bit, and had to cough loudly, making his face turn red. Queen Yashoda said, "Bato! Don't laugh while you eat! Wait and calm down! O boys, don't laugh and joke with Madhumangala while he eats."
Krishna said, "O friend, today your belly was not filled up because you were hindered by laughter and coughs. Alas!"
Madhumangala said, "Hi hi, mother! Give me sikharini (a sweet yoghurt drink)!" While he drank it with great gusto, the drink beautifully streamed from his chin onto his belly.
Shridama said, "O Krishna, describe the beauty of Madhumangala's face! He fills up the lake of his navel with a stream of sikharini."
Krishna said, "Listen to this Shridama. The waves that swell in the milk ocean of Madhumangala's belly are caused by the nectarean moon of his smile. These waves flow from his mountain peak face as a stream of sikharini and thus sanctify his whole body. Then again, they enter into the navel-lake of his belly, which is hard to cross and hard to fill up!"
In this way, everyone joked during breakfast and Rohini and Yashoda once more served everyone, although Krishna, Balarama and the others were already satisifed. Mother Yashoda told Krishna, "Child, eat nicely!"
Krishna said, "Mother, I have no more appetite."
Yashoda said, "I swear, You eat at least five or six handfuls more! O my child, You wouldn't eat this if I didn't tell you to. Have You become so skinny from eating so little every day? You love this preparation so much. Eat a little more."
Krishna replied, "Ma! I cannot eat anymore!"
Then, Yashoda called Rohini saying, "Rohini, tell Him to eat. He won't listen to me!"
Rohini then said, "O Vatsa (child)! If You don't eat I would have prepared all theese dishes for nothing. Why should I then invite king Vrishabhanu's expert daughter for cooking? If You don't eat, then why should we let Her go through all the hardship of cooking?" Hearing these warnings, Krishna ate a little of the rice and vegetables. "O Krishna, where is Your character? How will Your body become strong and nourished if You remain hungry like that?"
Being thus affectionately fed by the mothers, Balarama and the other boys also experienced matchless, wonderful bliss. Shri Radhika drank the beautiful nectarean view of Krishna's form through the window with Her eyes, seeing that Krishna was satisfied and had finished His meal. After breakfast, the servant boys poured water from golden jugs for all the boys to wash their hands and mouths. Everyone got up from their seats and walked one hundred steps to lie down, and eat pan in bed. The servant boys handed them the pan, and fanned them as they fell asleep.
Shri Radhika came out of the kitchen, washed Her lotus-like hands and feet and went to take some rest in private. She was served by Her maid servants, who fanned Her and performed other services to make Her comfortable.
Then Rohini served luke-warm rice and vegetables to Radhika and Her friends in golden trays. Yashoda was taken in by Dhanista and said, "O daughter Gandharvika, Lalita, Visakha, Campakavalli, give joy to my eyes by eating without reservation. O Radha, daughter, why are You so shy? I'm Your mother as much as Kirtida is. Just joke, play and lie down in my home with Your friends (savayovrita)." The sakhis minds were sprinkled with the nectar of these words, taking savayovrita to mean 'embraced by Krishna,' and they smiled slightly. Shri Radhika closed Her eyes a little out of shyness and took Her meal with Her friends. Her mind was immersed in bliss by tasting the nectarean remnants of food from Her lover's plate, and She cast a merciful glance at Dhanista (who had mixed some of Krishna's remnants into her own food), who thus became very happy.
Shri Vrajesvari fondled Radhika, giving Her different garments, ornaments and unguents. Tungavidya whispered something in Vasakha's ear, making her giggle and shake her head. Shri Radhika, who saw this, understood what was on their minds and said, "O sakhi Visakha! Tungavidya! I should not stay here when I see you whispering in each other's ears and exchanging naughty glances with each other! You're just infatuated housewives."
Then She got up to go home, but Visakha then said," O sakhi, are You indicating Your desires with this show of fear? Sakhi, Vajresvari told You to freely play, joke and lie down with your vayas ('sakhis' or 'Krishna')! Now why do You make us sad by disobeying this order, going straight home without even taking a little rest after eating?"
Then, Dhanista came and told Shri Radhika, "Sakhi, don't stay with them, they are very crooked! Come with me through the side door, quickly. Your desire to pick bhandujiva flowers for surya puja (or 'the desires of Krishna's eyes and mind') will be fulfilled without hindrance! O sakhi, the queen of Vraja will not find out. Don't be needlessly afraid. Come along with me down this path." Dhanista then brought Shri Radhika to meet beautiful Krishna in a blissful abode in a cave on Nandisvara Hill.