Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

“Gopal’s Charan Bihar” (Gopal’s Crawling Pastimes)

Yashoda felt as if she had attained the ultimate fulfilment of all desires by having Krishna as her son. Gazing at the lotus face of her darling pleased her more than pleasure itself.

One day when Yashoda breast fed Krishna, she glanced lovingly at His lotus face and said, “O my darling son! Please open Your mouth so I can see if any baby teeth have come in yet.” Yashoda saw Krishna’s baby teeth looking just like tiny drops of her breast milk. Sometimes Yashoda held Krishna to her breast, and other times Nanda carried Krishna about on his shoulders.

At this time, Krishna, whose body is softer than the petals of a lotus, crawled around Nanda’s courtyard on His hands and knees. Hearing the sweet tinkling of His own waist-bells, Krishna stopped moving and looked with surprise. Turning His conch-shell shaped neck, Krishna glanced curiously over His shoulder. Seeing these childish antics of Krishna filled Mother Yashoda’s heart with inconceivable joy.

Crawling across the room, Krishna eventually came to the door leading outside. Birds sat on the arches over the jewel-inlaid doorway. Seeing the birds’ forms reflected in the jewels, Krishna tried to touch them with His soft reddish fingers, which resembled the pink color (aruna) of the sky at dawn. The elderly gopis relished these simple yet sublime pastimes of Krishna-kumara.

Just for fun Krishna crawled around like a little baby pretending to be learning about the world. By such pastimes He filled the Vrajavasi ladies with joy. Sometimes the elderly gopis joked with Krishna and affectionately asked Him, “Point to Your face. Point to Your ear. Where are Your eyes?” Krishna answered by touching those parts with His delicate leaf-like fingers.

The ladies continued, “Krishna, show us Your teeth.” Krishna put His lotus hand to His mouth, smiled and replied shyly, “My teeth have not yet come out.”

The wife of Upananda asked Krishna, “Who is Your father? Who is Your mother? Please tell us.” Again beaming that irresistible smile, Krishna-kumara pointed toward Yashoda and Nanda Baba with His leaf-like hand. The Vraja gopas thrilled with bliss to see this.

One nurse, brimming with maternal affection, tested Krishna’s speaking ability. She said, “Can you say the names of Your parents?” Krishna answered with distinct, softly spoken words. Then to everyone’s amazement, Krishna-kumara transgressed the rules of Sanskrit by combining the first syllable of the word mata (mother) and the second syllable of the word tata (father) and said, “MaTa” again and again.

Sometime later Krishna crawled into a room full of gems and jewels, and became afraid upon seeing His own reflection in the jewels. In Krishna’s enchantment He tried to erase the reflection with His hand. But Krishna could not remove the image at all. Overcome with fear, Krishna climbed up on Yashoda’s lap in order to escape.

Krishna tried to stand up and take a few steps on His own. Falling on His bottom, Krishna would look unhappily at Yashoda and cry for a moment. To encourage Krishna, Yashoda held Krishna’s finger and walked beside Him. Then that lotus face, which had previously wilted from crying, blossomed with a bright smile.

Thus Krishna brought great joy to mother Yashoda with His moonlike face which bathed His body in the nectar of gentle beauty.

One day Radharani’s grandmother Mukhara played a joke on Krishna by asking, “O darling! Go fetch the large clay pot, the low wooden seat, and the drinking cup.” With a mild smile on His face Krishna gingerly held some of the articles in His hands while balancing the remainder on His gorgeous belly.

After walking some distance Krishna rested a little, then He slowly lifted those articles and brought them all to Mukhara. The heavy items that He could not lift, Krishna just touched and left alone.

The wives of Upananda and Sunanda arrived and asked Vrajaraja Nanda if they could see Krishna. They lifted Krishna onto their laps and said, “O darling! You are the son of the king, so just drop these things. Such work is not proper for You.” Then they rebuked Mukhara and threw away the things Krishna had carried.

In so many ways the village ladies joked with Krishna. One elderly gopi said, “O my beloved Krishna! If You dance for me, I will give You some sweet butter.” Krishna danced with delight for the pleasure of Yashoda and the gopis by gracefully moving His legs and gesturing artfully with His hands.

At another time, one gopi smiled and said, “What is that, darling that looks like a golden doll? Is that beautiful golden line adorning Your chest Your wife?” Everyone laughed when Krishna agreed by smiling and slightly moving His head from side to side.

At other times, Yashoda affectionately dressed Krishna with exquisitely fine beautiful yellow cloth that complemented Krishna’s attractive waist. Unaccustomed to such opulent dress, Krishna felt bothered by it so He tried to take it off while frowning and crying. Yashoda greatly enjoyed watching Krishna throw away His clothes.

Once the housewives of Vrndavana sat in a lonely place braiding Yashoda’s hair and decorating her with her favorite jewellery. Suddenly restless Krishna snatched the ornaments from Yashoda’s body, and tried to put them on again in the wrong places.

Thus Krishna, with a splendid necklace hanging from His chest, gradually completed His crawling pastimes (carana bihar). Watching the babyhood pastimes of his beloved son immersed Vrajaraja Nanda in an ocean of bliss from. (excerpts from Anand Vrndavana Champu by Sri Kavi Karnapur)

Krishna’s balya lilas ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

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