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Bewilderment of Lord Brahma, the Chief of the Demigods
Once when Lord Krishna was a small child, He had gone to the forests of Vrindavan along with His cowherd boy-friends to graze the cows. And while they were having their lunch on the banks of the river Yamuna, the calves that were pasturing nearby entered into the deep forest, allured by new grasses, and gradually went out of sight. When the boys saw that the calves were not nearby, they became afraid for their safety, and they immediately cried out, "Krishna!" Out of His great affection, Krishna did not want His friends to give up their pleasing lunch engagement and go searching for the calves. He therefore said, "My dear friends, you need not interrupt your lunch. Go on enjoying. I am "oing personally where the calves are." Thus Lord Krishna immediately started to search out the calves in the caves and hushes. He searched in the mountains and in the forests, but nowhere could He find them.
At the time when the great demon Aghasura was killed and the demigods were looking on the incident with great surprise, Brahma, who was born out of the lotus flower growing out of the navel of Vishnu, also came to see. He was surprised how a little boy like Krishna ^oiild act so wonderfully. Although he was informed that the little cowherd boy was the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he stole all the calves and cowherd boys and took them to a different place. Subsequently in spite of searching for the calves, Lord Krishna could not find them, nor could He find His boyfriends on the bank of the Yamuna where they had been taking their lunch. In the form of a cowherd boy, Lord Krishna was very little in comparison to Brahma, but because He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He could immediately understand that all the calves and boys had been stolen by Brahma. Krishna thought, "Brahma has taken away all the boys and calves. How can I alone return to Vrndavana? The mothers will be aggrieved."
Therefore in order to satisfy the mothers of His friends as well as to convince Brahma of the supremacy of the Personality of Godhead, He immediately expanded Himself as the cowherd boys and calves. In the Vedas it is said that the Supreme Personality of Godhead has expanded Himself into so many living entities by His energy. Therefore it was not very difficult for Him to expand Himself again into so many boys and calves. He expanded Himself to become exactly like the boys, who were of all different features, facial and bodily construction, and who Were different in their clothing and ornaments, behavior and Personal activities. Then Krishna, assuming the forms of the cowherd boys and the calves returned to Vrindavana at the end °r the day and life continued as usual. Brahma returned after a moment's interval according to his calculation. (The Bhagavad-gita gives information about the duration of life of Lord Brahma: 1,000 times the duration of the four ages, or 4,320,000 x 1,000, comprise Brahma's twelve hours. Similarly, one moment of Brahma is equal to one year of our solar calculation) After one moment of Brahma's calculation, Brahma came back to see the fun caused by his stealing the boys and calves. But he was also afraid that he was playing with fire. Krishna was his master, and he had played mischief for fun by taking away His calves and boys. He was really anxious, so he did not stay away very long; he came back after a moment.
He was astonished to see that all the boys and calves were playing with Krishna in the same way as when he had come upon them, although he was confident that he had taken them and made them lie down asleep under the spell of his mystic power. Brahma began to think, "All the boys and calves were taken away by me, and I know they are still sleeping. How is it that a similar batch of boys and calves are playing with Krishna? Is it that they are not influenced by my mystic power? Have they been playing continually for one year with Krishna?" Brahma tried to understand who they were and how they were uninfluenced by his mystic power, but he could not ascertain it. In other words, he himself came under the spell of his own mystic power. The influence of his mystic power appeared like snow in darkness or a glowworm in the daytime. During the night's darkness, the glowworm can show some glittering power, and the snow piled up on top of a hill or on the ground can shine during the daytime. But at night the snow has no silver glitter; nor does the glowworm have any illuminating power during the daytime. Similarly, when the small mystic power exhibited by Brahma was before the mystic power of Krishna, it was revealed to be as insignificant as the shining of the snow or the glowworm. When a man of small mystic power displays his potency in the presence of a greater mystic power, he diminishes his own influence; he does not increase it. Even a great personality like Brahma, when he wanted to show his mystic power before Krishna, became ludicrous. Brahma was thus confused about his own mystic power.
In order to convince Brahma that all those calves and boys were not the original ones, the calves and boys who were playing with Krishna transformed into Vishnu forms. Actually, the original ones were sleeping under the spell of Brahma's mystic power, but the present ones, seen by Brahma, were all immediate expansions of Krishna, or Vishnu. Vishnu is the expansion of Krishna, so the Vishnu forms appeared before Brahma An the Vishnu forms were of bluish color and dressed in yello* garments: all of Them had four hands decorated with a cluh disc, lotus flower and conchshell. On Their heads were glittering golden jeweled helmets; they were bedecked with pearls and earrings, and garlanded with beautiful flowers. On Their chests was the mark of Srivatsa; 1 heir arms were decorated with armlets and other jewelry. Their necks were smooth just like the conchshell, Their ankles were decorated with bells. Their waists decorated with golden belts, and Their lingers decorated with jeweled rings. A significant feature of the Vishnu forms was that all of Them were looking transcendentally beautiful. Their smiling resembled the moonshine, and Their glancing resembled the early rising of the sun.
After this manifestation of Lord Vishnu, Brahma saw that many other Brahmas and Shivas and demigods and even insignificant living entities down to the ants and very small straws -movable and immovable living entities - were dancing, surrounding Lord Vishnu. Their dancing was accompanied by various kinds of music, and all of Them were worshiping Lord Vishnu. When Brahma was thus standing baffled in his limited power and conscious of his limited activities within the eleven senses, he could at least realize that he was also a creation of the material energy, just like a puppet. As a puppet has no independent power to dance but dances according to the direction of the puppet master, so the demigods and living entities are all subordinate to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As it is stated in the Chaitanya Charitamrta, the only master is Krishna, and all others are servants. The whole world is under the waves of the material spell, and all living beings are floating like straws in water. So their struggle for existence is continuing. But as soon as one becomes conscious that he is the eternal servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, this maya or illusory strugg'e for existence is immediately stopped.
Lord Brahma, who has full control over the Goddess of Learning and who is considered to be the best authority in Vedic knowledge, was thus perplexed, being unable to understand the extraordinary power manifested in the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the mundane world, even a personality like Brahma is unable to understand the potential mystic power of the Supreme Lord. Not onlv did Brahma fail to understand, but he was perplexed even to see the display which was being manifested by Krishna before him.
Krishna took compassion upon Brahma's inability to see even how He was displaying the forms of Vishnu and transforming Himself into calves and cowherd boys, and thus, while fully manifesting the Vishnu expansions, He suddenly pulled His curtain of yogamaya over the scene. Lord Brahma is not an ordinary conditioned soul. He is far, far superior to all the demigods, and yet he could not comprehend the display of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; therefore Krishna willingly stopped manifesting any further potency. The conditioned soul not only becomes bewildered, but he is completely unable to understand. The curtain of yogamaya was drawn so that Brahma would not become more and more perplexed.
When Brahma was relieved from his perplexity, he appeared to be awakened from an almost dead state, and he began to open his eyes with great difficulty. Thus he could see the external cosmic manifestation with common eyes. He found Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, playing the part of a small cowherd boy; he saw that little child with a lump of food in His left hand, searching out His friends and calves, just as He was actually doing one year before, after their disappearance. Immediately Brahma descended from his great swan carrier and fell down before the Lord to offer respect; and because the complexion of Brahma is golden, he appeared to be like a golden stick lying down before Lord Krishna. All the four helmets on tne heads of Brahma touched the lotus feet of Krishna. Brahma, being very joyful, began to shed tears, and he washed the lotus feet of Krishna with his tears. Repeatedly he fell and rose as he recalled the wonderful activities of the Lord. After repeating obeisances for a long time, Brahma stood up and smeared his hands over his eyes. Seeing the Lord before him, he, trembling, began to offer prayers with great respect, humility and attention. Lord Brahma presented himself to Lord Krishna as the most presumptuous living creature because he had wanted to examine the wonder of His personal power. He had stolen the boys and calves of the Lord in order to see how the Lord would recover them. After his maneuver, Lord Brahma admitted that his attempt was most presumptuous, for he was attempting to show off his mystic power before the master of all mystic power. Com-jng to his senses. Lord Brahma saw that although he was a very powerful living creature in the estimation of all other living crea-tures'within this material world, in comparison to the power of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his power was nothing.The scientists of the material world have discovered wonders such as atomic weapons, and when tested in a city or insignificant place on this planet, such powerful weapons create havoc, but it the atomic weapons were to be tested on the sun, what would be their significance? They would be insignificant there. Similarly, Brahma's stealing the calves and boys from Sri Krishna may be a wonderful display of mystic power, but when Sri Krishna exhibited His expansive power in so many calves and boys and maintained them without effort, Brahma could understand that his own power was insignificant.
In this way, Brahma, the master of this universe, offered many wonderful prayers glorifying Lord Krishna in order to beg forgiveness for his offense and to please the Lord. After offering humble and respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead and circumambulating Him three times, when he was ready to return to his abode Brahmaloka, by His gesture, the Supreme Personality of Godhead gave him permission to return. As soon as Brahma left. Lord Sri Krishna immediately appeared as He had on the very day the calves and cowherd boys had vanished.Thus we see that though Brahma is the chief of all the demigods and is their spiritual master, he is subordinate to the Supreme Lord, Shri Krishna.