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Chapter Six: The Lord Begins Studying and His Childhood Mischief
This chapter describes the beginning of Nimai’s scholastic pastimes, His eating the foodstuffs offered to Vishnu on Ekadashi at the house of Jagadisha and Hiranya Pandita, and His various mischievous childhood pastimes.
Shri Jagannatha Mishra had Gaura-gopala’s samskaras, or reformatory rites, of hate-khadi, karna-vedha, and cuda-karana performed. Nimai could write the letters of the alphabet just by seeing them once. Within two or three days He was able to write conjunct letters and words. He would continually read and write Krishna’s names. Sometimes Gaura-gopala pleaded for His parents to give Him birds flying in the sky or the stars and moon from the sky. When He did not receive these things, He began to cry. Then there was no way to solace the child other than by chanting the names of Hari. One day, however, Nimai did not stop crying in spite of everyone repeatedly chanting the names of Hari. When they inquired from Nimai about the cause of His crying, they learned that Nimai was displaying His pastime of crying in order to eat the foodstuffs offered to Vishnu on the day of Ekadashi in the house of the two brahmanas, Jagadisha and Hiranya Pandita, of Navadvipa. The relatives of Nimai solaced Him by promising Him Vishnu’s remnants. They then went to the house of those two great devotees and related to them the whole story. Considering Nimai an extraordinary personality, the two brahmanas then gave Him the foods that they had offered to Vishnu. As a result Nimai stopped crying. Nimai exhibited various mischievous pastimes like teasing His friends, quarreling with them, and sporting in the Ganges water at midday. The elderly men of Navadvipa regularly came to Jagannatha Mishra to complain about Nimai’s misbehavior, and the young girls would similarly come to mother Shaci to complain about Nimai’s various mischievous activities. Shacidevi, however, solaced everyone with her sweet words. After hearing about the disturbance caused by Nimai, Jagannatha Mishra went to the bank of the Ganges at midday to appropriately punish his son. When Nimai heard that His father was approaching in an angry mood, He rushed home by another path. He told His friends that if His father inquired about Him, they should say, “Today Nimai has not come for bathing in the Ganges.” When Jagannatha Mishra did not see Nimai at the bathing ghata, he returned home, where he saw Nimai decorated with marks of ink and looking as though He had not taken bath. Jagannatha Mishra was overwhelmed with love and could not understand the boy’s trickery. When he asked the boy about the complaints, the young Nimai replied, “I did not go to bathe in the Ganges yet, but they nevertheless falsely accuse Me of misbehavior. So now I will actually misbehave with them.” In this way Nimai exhibited His clever pastimes and returned to bath in the Ganges. Meanwhile, Shaci and Jagannatha thought, “Who is this boy? Has Krishna secretly appeared in our house?”