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Binding Shri Krishna
Deliverance of the Yamala-arjuna Trees
The following episode occurred one day during Irsna's transcendental pastimes in Gokula. Though any number of maidser/ants could have done this chore, Yasoda tactfully engaged them elsewhere in order to show her expertise in preparing butter. With her own hancs, which appeared as soft and elegant as lotus flowers, Yasoda personaly churned butter for her beloved boy.The beauty of her delicate arms put lotus stems tc shame. As she rhythmically pulled the ropes back and forth, the jinglinj of her emerald-studded bangles resounded like the bells on the feet of a dancer. As Yasoda's hair loosened and became wet from the exertion )f churning, it looked like the opened tail feathers of a jubilant peacock When her hair braid untied, the jewels, flowers, and peacock feathers decorating it fell on the ground. As shooting stars beautify the dense darkress of night, similarly, these falling items increased the beauty of the eanh.
The necklace on her raised breasts swung back ard forth with the movements of her blouse. The shining effulgence emanating from her jeweled-earrings appeared like a constant flow of nectar Bathed in the sweet mellow of maternal affection, Yasoda's neck and shoulders looked ex ceedingly beautiful. The ornamental belt surrounling her highly raised hips appeared captivating. The radiant gems and tinkling bells on that belt further increased its elegance. Drenched in a river of devotional perspiration, Yasoda's delicate body looked delightful The sweetness of this scene defeated the beauty of seeing a swarm of inoxicated bees buzzing over a blooming lotus flower. A loud sound resembling the roaring of the ocean rose out of the wide mouth of Yasoda's butter pot. The drops of yogurt spilling out of the pot and falling on the golden border of Yasoda's sari made it look even more attractive. As Yasoda passed the time rememberiig Krishna, she recalled the enchanting look in her son's eyes whenever He got caught stealing butter. At that time He would proudly say, "Molher, you should know that I am expert in this art of stealing." Krishna felt hungry and anxious to drink Yasoda's hreast milk. In a threatening voice, Krishna said, "Either you stop to feed Me or I will break the churning pot." Suddenly, the one who churns the hearts of everyone in creation forcefully caught the churning rod. Yascda stopped, sat Krishna on her lap, and happily fed Him. While gazing at His loosely hanging curly dark blue hair, Yasoda's heart swelled with appreciation of Krishna's wonderfully gentle nature.chen some boiling milk foamed up in a pot. Fearing it might spill over, Yasoda left her son and ran to the kitchen. This deeply pierced the core of Krishna's heart. Becoming angry, He picked up a rock and broke the butter pot. Churned butter flowed in all directions across the floor.
In a fearful yet playful mood Krishna ran through the butter and romped from room to room engaging in more mischief. Stealthily entering the milk storeroom, Krishna quickly ate small amounts of freshly churned butter from various pots. From relishing His favorite food He soon felt satisfied and gave up His anger. Then Shri Hari, who is worshiped by all the demigods, snatched a pot of butter and ran into the courtyard.
The pastimes Krishna enjoyed at this time appeared to be classic performances on a dramatic stage. While standing on a grinding mortar in the courtyard and anxiously looking around for mother Yasoda, Krishna fed fresh butter to all the assembled children and monkeys. The fortunate Yasoda, whose jewel-like son benedicts the entire creation, took the boiling milk off stove and returned to Krishna. The fame of attaining. Krishna as her son enhanced the brilliant beauty of Yasoda's body. She wanted to embrace her son and console Him, but not finding Him there she became morose. In a mood of lamentation she frantically searched everywhere for Krishna. She found some broken pots emitting innumerable streams of yogurt that flowed across the floor making it slippery and white in color. Out of anger, Krishna had smashed many clay pots, which now lay strewn on the floor in hundreds of pieces. Mother Yasoda thought, "Alas! What has happened? Why is this yogurt pot broken?" At first she could not understand, but upon seeing a small rock she concluded that Krishna had perpetrated this naughty act. With a look of surprise mother Yasoda touched the tip of her nose with the index finger of her beautiful left hand and thought, "How could my child show such impudence? I tried so patiently to train Him properly, so how could He behave so horribly."
Although no impurities resided in her heart, Yasoda appeared to manifest a special form of motherly pride. Showing false anger, she thought, "The glories of my son's transcendental pastimes are unlimited. His every action increases His own pride and pleasure while simultaneously creating a festival for one and all. He derives boundless happiness by His constant pastimes of stealing."
As soon as Krishna, who enchants the demigods with His beautiful body the color of a monsoon cloud, saw mother Yasoda coming out of the house,He jumped up in fear and ran away as fast as possible. Expertly understanding the human-like nature Of her son, Yasoda chased after Him calling, "Stop running! Stop! O You foremost cheater in the world!"Krishna kept looking fearfully back over His shoulder while running away from Yasoda. Though Yasoda felt fatigued and mentally distressed, her body, arms, and legs looked very beautiful as she pursued her mischievous son. Full of pride and anger, Yasoda continued shouting to Krishna, "Stop You thief and liar! How can you carry on like this? Where are You going? Just stop running and stand where You are!"
Krishna said, "I will stop if you drop your stick." After saying this Krishna stopped running away, but kept a safe distance from His mother. Yasoda said, "If You are so afraid of being punished, then why did You break my yogurt pot today?"
Krishna said, "I will never do it again. Now just drop the stick from your hand." Yasoda's mind turned into an abode of amazement as she tried to approach her son. But seeing her angry mood, Krishna quickly ran away again while speaking in a distressed tone, "Mother! Please drop that big stick and do not punish Me! O sinless one, if you do this I will come to you." After hearing Krishna's innocent appeal Yasoda dropped the stick.
Seeing this, Krishna stopped running. Absorbed in watching Krishna's transcendental pastimes, the immortal denizens of heaven felt totally amazed. One can easily understand how powerful demigods like Lord Brahma, who lives for trillions of years, became upset and bewildered upon seeing Krishna's pastime of showing fear before His mother. They could not fathom how the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is feared by fear personified, ran away in fear of a stick in His mother's hand.
The fine hairs curling over Yasoda's face dripped with perspiration and her blouse moved from her heavy breathing. Her hair hung loose from running and her lotus face appeared exhausted. When she caught Krishna's hand He said, "Mother please do not beat Me." While saying this Krishna rubbed His tear-filled lotus eyes with His delicate palms which resembled the petals of a fresh lotus flower.With a choked voice Krishna slowly uttered some sweet yet indistinct words that came out from His beautiful mouth like drops of nectar falling from the full moon. Indeed, it was a marvelous sight to see Krishna becoming overwhelmed in fear and crying helplessly. Yasoda thought, "If I do not bind Him immediately, He may run away into the deep forest." Yasoda then brought a grinding mortar and considered how to bind the one of boundless glories. Observing this, Krishna beamed an attractive smile.Yasoda ordered some maidservants, "O Kurangavati and Lavangavati, fetch some smooth soft rope made of jute." The attempt of Vrajesvari Yasoda to bind Krishna, the ever well-wisher of the whole creation, immersed her in an ocean of joy. Soon many opulently dressed elderly gopis, the embodiments of limitless motherly affection, came there along with several curious boys with clean, beautiful curly hair. Mother Yasoda tied many ropes together but they always measured two inches too short. Surprisingly, no matter how many ropes she collected they remained two inches too short. She said, "Alas! This small distance seems to have become as vast as Brahma's universe. The Supreme Lord enacts this pastime by His personal energy to display His unlimited power."
Observing this wonderful incident, the elderly gopis tried to relieve Yasoda's anxiety by saying, "O Yasoda! You are the most blessed one in creation. A minute ago you tied a small golden belt around Krishna's thin waist, but now you cannot bind him with all the ropes in your house! Despite the number of ropes you tie together, they always end up two inches too short. There is some strange cause behind this phenomena, so you better stop trying to bind your son."
In great astonishment Yasoda addressed the gopis, "O Vraja gopisl I have no more ropes, so please bring all the ropes stored in your houses." It was not out of fear that the gopis gave all their ropes to Yasoda, but they did so in order to see Krishna's glorious transcendental character and relish His blissful pastimes. Feigning anger, Yasoda took all the additional ropes and tried again to bind her naughty son. While enjoying this scene, the doe-eyed housewives of Vrndavana laughed quietly while secretly tasting a special joy in their hearts. All the blissful moods of spiritual love harmonized in Krishna's childhood pastimes. Though Krishna's hands were very delicate, His eyes soon pained from continually rubbing the tears falling from them. In a choked up voice He spoke some richly sweet words that captivated the minds of all. Finally, Krishna cried in a gentle, honey sweet voice. Empathizing with Krishna, close friends like Subala also wept along with their bosom friend. Yasoda's heart palpitated with her heavy breathing, her hair loosened, and the flowers fell to the ground. Perspiring, tired, overwhelmed, and her labors frustrated, Yasoda sat down to rest and figure out how to tie up Krishna. A short time later she tried again to bind her matchless son. The elderly gopis, having lost all desire to return to their homes, stood motionless while staring at Krishna with unblinking eyes.
Now all the ropes in Vrndavana joined in a fruitless attempt to bind the master of the universe. It is impossible to tie up bliss, wisdom, power, and consciousness, so how can anyone tie up Krishna who is made of nothing but bliss, wisdom, power, and consciousness? How could Yasoda bind one who has no inside or outside, who is limitless, who has no beginning or end, who has infinite power, who is the totality of everything, who is completely full and beyond any contamination, and who is within and outside of everything? Viewing the situation, the all-powerful Supreme Lord decided to bestow His mercy upon Yasoda.
Even though mother Yasoda eagerly desired to tie up Krishna, she met no success despite her total exhaustion. The endeavor of a devotee to bind the Lord can only be successful with the Lord's sanction. All of Yasoda's work now bore fruit because Krishna, out of compassion for her, suddenly allowed Himself to be bound. Extending His mercy, He saved His beloved mother from further anger and frustration. Yasoda asked the assembled cowherd boys to watch Krishna to prevent Him from untying Himself arid running away. Then Yasoda and the elderly gopis entered her private chambers. The moment Yasoda left, Krishna stopped crying, and His face assumed a peaceful and effulgent glow like the luminous moonshine.
Krishna thought how to use His present bondage to fulfill a prophecy of Narada Muni. Previously Narada had cursed two intoxicated and indecent demigods named Nalakuvera and Manigriva to become trees. Deciding to bestow His mercy upon them, Krishna dragged the grinding mortar tied to His belly along the ground toward those two trees. Krishna's playmates cheerfully followed Him. From a distance Krishna saw the two trees connected at the root. Similarly, a student will understand that prakrti and purusa originate from one source. As karma kanda and jndna kanda are separate paths, the two trees had different trunks. The Sama and Yajur Vedas have various divisions, and similarly, the two trees had many branches. As a great king has the qualities of valor and achievement, as a mountain range possesses steadiness, and as a cluster of clouds is laden with showers, similarly, these two trees displayed an abundance of natural opulence. The demigods embodied in the two trees had become purified by suffering many years in that way, just as clouds abound in the rainy season and as water becomes clear and pure in autumn. As the universe is vast and broad, these trees stood stout and strong. Known as a pair of arjuna trees, they reminded everyone of the great heroes Arjuna and Kartavirya. Like Nakula and Sahadeva, these two trees were also twins. Seeing Krishna moving towards the huge trees, His friends said, "Perhaps Krishna cannot tolerate the scorching sunshine so He is seeking shelter under those shady trees."
While His friends spoke thus, Krishna pulled the mortar over and it got stuck between the two trees. He who annihilates all pretenders appeared splendid with His curly hair hanging loosely over His shoulders. Though Krishna's body is pure and spotless, His character is colored with wonderful varieties of rasa.
With a slight jerk of the mortar Krishna easily uprooted those huge trees in a moment. A loud cracking sound filled the air when the trees split open. As a person pokes a hole in a clay pot, that unique vibration, which conquered all other sounds, raced through the sky to puncture a hole in the coverings of the universe. The sound exactly resembled the terrible noise produced by the fierce thunderbolts crashing at the time of devastation. Krishna remained calm and joyful amidst the tremendous tumult.Krishna is eternally free, but He appeared to be bound to a grinding mortar. His character is eternally pure, but it was stained by His pastimes of stealing.Although He can liberate anyone trapped in material existence, He was bound by the loving affection of His mother.
At that time two effulgent persons emerged from the trees. Delivered from their curse, the two demigods offered prayers to Krishna, "O embodiment of eternity and boundless bliss. You appear more attractive than a cluster of soft, beautiful dark blue rain clouds. All glories to You! All glories to You! No one can understand the mysteries of Your transcendental pastimes. You have appeared on earth just to enact Your splendid spiritual sports. Along with Your appearance came many mighty demons eager to fight with You. However You always exhibited greater power and easily defeated them in an artistic fashion.
"Even though just a tender boy, You have personally uprooted these two massive arjuna trees. You are definitely one Without a second. You pour mercy upon everyone and bestow abundant affection to the fallen. As a common man enjoys different playful sports, You relish wonderful varieties of rasa in all Your pleasantly artistic transcendental pastimes.
"Truly You are the embodiment of auspiciousness appearing in Vrndavana to benedict all the Vrajavasis. The moon, lord of the stars, becomes totally afflicted upon seeing the beautiful radiance of Your moonlike face. The natural glow of Your attractive lips surpasses the reddish color of a bimba fruit. You delight learned sages by cutting the dense vines of ignorance with the axe of Your mercy. "Human intelligence cannot penetrate the fathomless ocean of Your transcendental pastimes. But one can attain Your lotus feet by following pure devotees. The words of the lotus-born Brahma, the blue-throated Mahadeva, and other demigods are always ornamented with descriptions of Your transcendental qualities. While Your effulgence alone displays • complete and unlimited power, You personally perform various playful pastimes. Strands of jeweled necklaces adorn Your broad chest. Your feet deride the purity of land lotuses. Although You appear in specific forms in all four yugas, You have as many unlimited names and forms as there are stars in the sky. As the white incarnation Your glorious deeds were pure and faultless.
"O Lord of the three worlds! You quickly satisfy the desires of all the materialistic people who proudly proclaim, "This is mine!' O master! We offer our respectful obeisances unto You. In this whole creation who can compare with You? You are one without a second! O Supreme Personality of Godhead! Who is not bewildered by Your illusory energy? O enchanter of all minds! You astonish everyone with Your matchless ability to do the impossible.
"O bliss personified! O darling son of Nanda Maharaja! As the crest-jewel among all the immortals who wander through the pleasure groves of Vrndavana, You perform superexcellent pastimes. Though using the choicest Sanskrit slokas, the best of sages fail to properly praise You.
"You exist simultaneously as formless bliss and bliss personified. In either gross or subtle forms, You alone exist everywhere. You exhilarate both Your humble servants and the realized souls. The incessant stream of consciousness flowing from Your lotus feet looks like a form of the nectarean Mandakini (celestial Ganges). Please shelter us under Your splendidly sweet lotus feet, and destroy all attachments preventing this.
"O friend of the distressed! We have no desire other than the desire to touch the pollen dust on Your lotus feet. Narada's curse turned into our greatest boon. Association with sadhus who intensely yearn for Your service, therefore, always gives good results. May our words perpetually glorify You. May our minds be forever fixed on Your lotus feet. May our ears be constantly absorbed in hearing Your teachings.
"What more can we say? Now that all our senses are engaged in pleasing You, we can relish the nectar of Your loving service. Narada Muni, that saintly honeybee who always drinks the nectar of Your feet, has released rain clouds of mercy upon us by His apparent curse. You, who display Your attractive pastimes in thousands of universes, have kindly allowed such fallen souls as us to see them.
"O Lord! Who can describe the immense fortune of Your mother who bound You to this mortar? What more can we say? Even Lord Brahma, Lord Siva, Indra, and all the exalted sages in the universe do not possess even a fraction of a grain of the good fortune of mother Yasoda. O omnipotent one! Even the greatest jnanis, vedantists, and yogis cannot understand You. But You quickly avail Yourself to premi-bhaktas intent on hearing Your transcendental pastimes as Nandanandana.
"O Lord! We want to become completely attached to Your lotus feet. So we beg You to please reveal within in our hearts the right prayer to attain this. Alas! Show us how to live righteously by accepting the results of our good and bad karma."
After speaking thus, the demigods proceeded Northward and disappeared. Then the twin arjuna trees crashed to the ground. Their falling made such a terrible sound that it deafened the village ladies as well as the four elephants controlling the four directions of the heavenly planets. All the Vrajavasis felt fearful. The sweet taste of bliss that Vrajesvari Yasoda and the Vrajavasis had previously relished now suddenly disappeared. Becoming bewildered and fearing another calamity, they stopped their duties and rushed to that place.
When they saw the huge fallen trees they thought perhaps mother earth offered dandavats to Krishna-kumara with the arms of these tree trunks. The split open trees looked like the gaping mouth of the lower planetary system. Its two branches appeared like two huge snakes rising up and desiring to go in different directions. The two trees seemed like the dead bodies of the demons Madhu and Kaitabha thrown on the ground by the Lord Himself. When the Vrajavasis found Krishna, He appeared calm, fearless, and free from danger. Though only a child, Krishna looked like a priceless jewel ornamenting mother earth, and assuring Her of protection by His very presence.
At that time the Vrajavasis thought, "O what is this? How have these huge arjuna trees suddenly fallen without being pushed down by the wind? In a second they could have crushed and killed Krishna. But Krishna just stands peacefully between them looking as fresh as a newly formed rain cloud. It is our good fortune that nothing has happened to Him.
"For a long time these two trees have stood here troubling others. Now due to old age their roots have become rotten, and they toppled over , from the weight of their leaves and branches. But upon closer examination, we see this is not the reason because the roots, branches, and leaves are all fresh and hard." In various ways the Vrajavasis tried to evaluate the situation.While deeply drinking the pure nectar of Krishna's wonderful pastimes, Nanda Maharaja's face beamed with transcendental delight. The mind of Krishna also danced in jubilation over His recent exploit. Vrajaraja Nanda untied Krishna from the mortar and placed Him on his lap. Then the expert and learned Nanda scolded his wife, "Nandarani, You have made a big mistake!" But suddenly Nanda Maharaja remembered Garga Muni's prophecy that Krishna equals Narayana, and that all the scriptures proclaim His transcendental qualities. Thinking thus, Nanda concluded that no one but his son could have done this amazing feat.The friends of Krishna said, "Hey look what Krishna has done. Our spotless hero has done something impossible. Afraid of His mother, Krishna dragged the mortar over here. Then it got stuck between these two trees and Krishna uprooted them." None of the assembled Vrajavasis believed the words of the innocent children.Taking auspicious articles such as rice, arghya, and durva grass, Nanda worshiped Krishna, who is the source and bestower of all benedictions and who far surpasses Narayana in good qualities. Afterwards Nanda brought Krishna back home to the accompaniment of musicians playing drums and cymbals.
Lunch at Home
One day Krishna, Balarama, and the cowherd boys wandered into the forest and started playing. Krishna looked as beautiful as a freshly formed rain cloud. They spent many hours in fun sports and games. Desiring to see Their beautiful forms and pastimes, Yasoda sent Rohini to bring Krishna and Balarama back home.
Rohini Devi, a reservoir of unlimited piety and qualities, ran out of the house to perform this task. Seeing the boys from a distance, she called out, "Have you forgotten to come home due to Your absorption in playing? You are perspiring profusely and must be famished from so much playing. Now stop playing and come along with Your enchanting elder brother and friends. Take Your bath, dress properly, and satisfy mother Yasoda by sitting down and eating sumptuously.
Krishna, however, ignored Rohini's request and kept enjoying with His friends. Feeling frustrated, mother Rohini returned home. Then Yasoda ran to call the boys. "Hey listen Baladeva! King Nanda is starving and will not eat until You return. Now hurry along."
Yasoda then addressed Krishna, "O my darling son! Today is Your birthday so You will be bathed with auspicious articles. You will receive the blessings of the brahmanas who are the veritable demigods of this world. Your father has bought opulent clothes for You. Now come home and take Your meal with Your father and all the assembled brahmanas."
Saying this, mother Yasoda, who walks as majestically as a royal elephant, caught Krishna's lotus hand and said, "Come along, let us go home." Keeping Balarama in front, Yasoda led Krishna and the boys back home. Yasoda cannot tolerate that Krishna joyfully plays all day without stopping to eat. Like all mothers who dearly love their children, Yasoda stopped Their playing so They could eat Their meal.
Yasoda ordered the maidservants to bring massage oils, bathing powder, clothes, ornaments, and garlands. Taking a soft damp cloth Yasoda cleansed Krishna by removing all the dust from His body, which resembled a fully blossomed blue lotus. Yasoda massaged Him with oil, bathed, and dressed Him. After anointing His transcendental body with fragrant oil Yasoda brought Krishna before Nanda Maharaja.
Nanda happily picked up his boys, who responded with sweet smiles, and then sat down to take his meal along with Krishna and Balarama. Yasoda's servants also bathed and dressed all of Krishna's friends. After feeding everyone, Yasoda instructed Krishna's playmates before sending them home. She said, "From now on do not keep playing with my restless son when it is His time to eat. At that time you should stop and quickly return to your homes." Out of love for His friends Krishna walked with them for short way before bidding them farewell.
Bartering for Fruits
One day a fruit vendor, well versed in moral laws, stood outside Nanda's gate trying to sell fruits. Hearing her calling for customers, Krishna came out to see. The fruit vendor was enchanted by seeing the two pink land lotuses of Krishna's feet. In the cup of His small lotus hands Krishna brought some food grains to trade for fruits. By the time Krishna reached the fruit vendor, however, most of grains had already slipped out of His hands.
The melodious jingling of Krishna's golden ankle-bells captivated the ears of fruit vendor. She absorbed her eyes in the full experience of seeing Krishna, the personified stream of bliss who was more enchanting than a beautiful rain cloud. Absorbed in the bliss of Krishna's association, that pious woman filled her palms with fruits and gladly offered them to Krishna. At that moment the fruit remaining in her basket magically transformed into costly gems and jewels.
Moving to Vrndavana
One day, Krishna personally entered the hearts of the village leaders and inspired them. Upananda, Sananda, and other senior men convened a town meeting to discuss the future of Vrndavana. With warm hearts the people spoke to Vrajaraja Nanda, "O King of Vraja! We cannot understand the extent of your opulence. We have never seen a more fortunate person than you."You are the greatest among men. Your son delivers everyone from distress and lamentation. Since the time of His appearance, many seemingly sad and painful things have happened here in Vrndavana. Just after His birth the raksasi Putana brought devastation to our village. Then the Sakatasura demon brought us severe distress. Then came that horrible hurricane wind demon Trnavarta who tortured everyone. And the falling arjuna trees almost destroyed us."We want to know the cause of all these bizarre events. Everyone experienced good fortune with Krishna's birth. And we personally know that your family dynasty is also completely auspicious. So by the accumulation of your good deeds a plenary expansion of the Lord appeared as your very own son.
"We can only guess, therefore, that this place causes these difficulties and not your illustrious son. Considering these facts, we conclude that within the next year we should leave this place and move to the forest of Vrndavana. Vrndavana is full of good qualities and always pleasing throughout all seasons of the year. It is replete with luxuriant grasses to please the cows. Not only that, but it is said that for one who attains Vrndavana, the wealth of the three worlds seems as insignificant as a piece of straw. "The Goddess of Fortune eternally resides there personally serving all the residents. Govardhana Hill, which always increases the health of the cows, also stands there. O learned one! If you approve this proposal, then please satisfy us by taking us to Vrndavana."
Then the King, whose consciousness is totally pure, replied to the gopas, "You should understand that I am personally very attached to this Brhadvana (Mahavana). But if you find defects here, than for your sake I think we should give up this place and immediately move to Vrndavana." This suggestion filled everyone's heart with joy. In great excitement they ordered their families to prepare the bullock carts for the journey.
The groups of carts, fully loaded with village folk and their paraphernalia, looked very beautiful. Keeping the cows in front, they lined up the carts in preparation to leave. As mature bull elephants can have four tusks, the bullocks had different numbers of teeth depending on their ages. The youngest bullocks had four teeth, whereas the elder bullocks had up to nine. The bullocks had gold plated horns shining like the peaks of Mt. Sumeru. The rounded and nicely shaped jawbones of the bullocks looked attractive. As a music teacher dances with dexterous steps, the bullocks moved gracefully on their splendid hooves.As there are four parts to a poem, similarly, these bullocks had four legs. Nanda Maharaja had 900,000 white cows in his herd. The restless natures of the bullocks indicated the depth of their intelligence. Though yoked to the carts, they were not tied through their noses. Attractive necklaces of sweet sounding bells hung from their necks.
Multicolored canopies topped the carts. These canopies had many designs and colors like green, brick red, yellow, white, red and pale yellow. Colorful curtains made of costly jute covered the sides. Flags fluttered above the golden domes atop the carts. The flags looked like wonderfully designed tongues extended to taste the rays of sun. The splendidly decorated carts mocked the flower airplanes of the demigods. Indeed, these bullock carts established a new standard of excellence among conveyances.Just as there is no fault in being attached to sadhus, the carts were faultless in construction and beautiful to behold. As devotees become beautiful by engaging in Krishna's service, the cakras above the carts looked as beautiful as cakravaka birds floating in a lake. As the sons of Kuvera are attached to residing in his capital city of Alakapuri, similarly, the wooden yokes were attached to the carts. The carts held many gorgeous pots made of gold, silver, brass, bell metal, and copper. Extending from Brhadvana (Mahavana) to Vrndavana, the long line of cows and bullocks looked like a separate branch of the Yamuna River. From a distance it appeared that this long line of moving cows was standing still. The people thought, "Perhaps the Suradhuni Ganga has appeared here to speak privately with the Yamuna. Or maybe the unlimited waves from the milk ocean have come here to take the dust of Vrndavana? Or has Ananta Sesa renounced his service as Narayana's bed to come see Vrndavana? Could we be seeing the expanded hood of the king of the snakes? Or is it a necklace of pearls decorating mother earth?"
The long line of carts topped with glittering golden domes and multicolored flags flapping in the wind looked like a vast wall containing many tall golden doors surrounding a city palace. They looked like a small mountain range appearing as the offspring of Mt. Kailasa, Mt. Sumeru, and the Himalayas coming to play with the Yamuna. Taking compassion on this tiny mountain chain, Indra withheld his anger and refrained from cutting off their wings with his thunderbolt. The furrows left in the earth by the wheels of the carts looked like the walls of a castle rising in the air but having no support. One time mother Bhumi took the form of a cow to beg Krishna to remove the distress she felt from the burden of demoniac kings. It seemed that mother earth had again appeared in her original form as a cloud of dust. Rising in the sky above the carts she seemed to be reaching for Brahmaloka. In this way people viewed the long line of bullock carts moving toward Vrndavana. Many cowherd men simultaneously shouted orders to different people. All the words merged into a mass of indiscernible noise. Except with hand gestures, communication was impossible in the clamor. The combined vibrations of carts, people, drums, and the bellowing of cows silenced all other sounds. At last all those sounds merged quietly within the ethereal element. Learned men proclaim that sound is by-product of ether. Boarding their cart, Yasoda and Rohini appeared like two valuable jewels. The cart itself looked like a mountain cave enacting a pastime of displaying its storehouse of costly jewels in the form of these two lovely ladies. Their sons Krishna and Balarama shone as the embodiments of benediction for the three worlds. With their all-auspicious sons sitting on their laps the two mothers achieved all perfection, and looked very beautiful at the same time. Yasoda and Rohini simultaneously glorified Krishna, but from a distance it seemed they were quarreling. Hundreds of armed sentinels stood guard around the carts. When the bullock procession left Mahavana it looked like the personified wealth of the capital had suddenly risen to touch the sky. It seemed that the goddess of the city personally lead the way to beautify the journey. All that was left of the capital was the land. At that time the advance party of Nanda Maharaja returned from Vrndavana to join the procession.
Since such a vast party could not cross the Yamuna before sunset, they decided to camp on the banks of the river. The elderly cowherd men, even without receiving Vrajaraja Nanda's order, erected their tents and prepared for the night. Invisibly, the goddess of the city helped everyone quickly establish his habitat.Please hear about that splendid city which arose on the bank of the Yamuna. A kaleidoscope of colorful tent canopies covered the ten directions. The cowherd men expertly erected walls made of cloth to surround that temporary city of tents. As in an ordinary city, they made four pathways bisecting the four directions. They also established footpaths and marketplaces to facilitate the residents. While sitting under the evening sky chewing their cud, the numerous white cows looked like a collection of soothing moon rays or a small lake of milk. As more and more cows sat amongst them that lake expanded to appear like the ocean of milk. Sunanda, Upananda, and other respected relatives met and conversed with Nanda in his tent. Afterwards they went to their own tents. Meanwhile they unloaded all the necessary items from the carts. After unyoking the bulls, the caretakers fed them and let them take rest. The servants busied themselves buying and selling different products while the kitchen helpers cleaned and prepared for cooking. After spending twelve hours moving across the sky, the weary sun god happily met with his wife in the form of the westerly direction. Birds chirped excitedly and soared through the sky before securing themselves in their nests for the night. The peacocks flew up to perch in the treetops. Due to frolicking all day, the deer felt tired and walked lazily along the Yamuna.Intoxicated honeybees trapped themselves in closing lotus flowers. As a woman conceals herself before running off for a lover's tryst, the presiding devls of the directions covered their faces with the blue veil of darkness. Night blooming red and white lotuses welcomed the evening with blissful smiles. Separated from their lovers, the cakravaka birds wailed piteously.
As the day's heat abated and evening approached, no one could clearly distinguish the forms of the men or the cows. Under the dim light of the twinkling stars the shadows of the cows appeared to be fat and short, while those of men looked long and tall. As the starlight increased, the shadows of the humans grew larger and larger. Just as a charitable man distributes his compassion to one and all, the many lamps in the campsite diffused their light in all directions. Posted sentries guarded all the roads. The natural beauty of evening appeared like a goddess eager to serve Shri Krishna. Satisfied by eating their fill and seeing their calves standing nearby, the cows stood peacefully while the cowherd men milked them. The milking of so many cows produced a tremendous sound that resembled the vibration created at the time of churning the ocean of milk. Krishna derived great pleasure from hearing that beautiful, sweet deep sound. While milking the cows the gopas loudly called their names, "Hee! Hee! Dhavali! Shavali" and the cows responded by mooing. The men affectionately fondled and caressed the cows as they gathered around them. After taking their evening meal the Vrajavasis relaxed and happily wandered about the campsite. The sentries showed off their techniques for staying awake through the night. Seeing this, the Vrajavasis felt confident of their expertise, so they returned to their tents for a peaceful rest. Three hours before sunrise the wives of the gopas woke up, bathed, dressed in clean cloth, and performed vastu-puja. Then they churned butter while singing many enchanting songs glorifying Krishna. The sound of the gopis' jeweled bangles and ankle-bells blended harmoniously with the deep, melodious sound emanating from the large churning pots. That auspicious vibration easily removed all misfortune from the universe. The directions amplified that sound by responding with their echoes. Considering it improper to spend any more time with their husbands, the demi-goddesses woke up at once. Then they listened with rapt attention to the sweet sound of the gopis churning butter.As the sun rose everyone prepared to cross the Yamuna River, the daughter of the sun god. Following Vrajaraja Nanda's order, the gopas called the cows by making the sound "Hee! Hee!" Mooing in response, the cows entered the water. As they swam across the Yamuna, the cows exhaled strong breaths of air. The heavy, water-soaked tails of the cows hung motionless under the water. Keeping their heads and humps above the water, they flowed with the currents and finally reached the Yamuna's opposite shore.
The horn-less, light-bodied calves felt great happiness as they quickly swam across the river. Crossing from all directions in front of their mothers, the calves reached the opposite shore. The gopas carried the new born calves across the Yamuna by hanging them around their necks, and holding their soft legs with their left arms while using their right arms to swim. The mothers of the calves followed behind crying anxiously.The tall humps on the backs of the mature bulls made waves as they moved through the Yamuna. As if in an angry mood, the bulls turned their necks and butted these successive waves with their horns. A captivating scene manifested there. Despite the strong current, the bulls held their heads high and straight, breathed heavily, and quickly crossed the Yamuna. All the innumerable cows made it safely across the Yamuna. But they appeared exhausted from the journey, so they stood in rows on the Yamuna's sandy banks, which looked as white as transparent camphor dust. The groups of white cows beside the Yamuna looked as attractive as the river Jahnavi.The boats plying on the water looked like the nagapatnis rising up from Patalaloka to playfully extend their jewel-bedecked hoods above the Yamuna. It seemed that from the day the Vrajavasis arrived in Vrndavana, Visvakarma, the architect of the demigods, had made all arrangements to make them happy. The beautiful clear sky looked like a stream of the Ganga meeting the Yamuna. Various aquatics sported within the Yamuna.
Many highly decorated golden boats, exhibiting the epitome of artistic craftsmanship, cruised along the Yamuna. The best among those boats had an ornamental cabin topped with beautiful flags gently flapping in the breeze. Krishna and Yasoda, Rohini, and their maidservants boarded that boat. Krishna enjoyed watching the rows of small waves in the Yamuna. The wonderful effulgence of Krishna's body enhanced the beauty of the Yamuna and made it look like a sparkling gem. Leaving Yasoda's side, Krishna leaned over the edge of the boat. While supporting Himself with His left hand Krishna stretched His right hand under the water to touch the bottom of the boat. Anticipating some danger, the two mothers tried unsuccessfully to stop Krishna from His frivolous splay. With great concern, Nanda boarded the same boat, quickly picked up Krishna, and sat Him on his lap. Undisturbed, the boatman continued rowing steadily across the Yamuna.
The remaining men and their families boarded other boats and happily crossed the river Yamuna. After ferrying all the people, the boatman used boarding platforms to load all the bullock carts and cross the river again. Vrajaraja Nanda satisfied the boatmen with valuable clothes and ornaments.