The Transcendental Pastimes of Lord Krsna
Brahma, the most powerful demigod, tried to match his power against Lord Krsna's. But soon Brahma realized his mistake.
One morning Lord Krsna and His cowherd friends went with their calves into the forest. While the boys were enjoying a picnic lunch on the bank of the river Yamuna, the calves started looking for fresh grass and wandered away. When Krsna noticed that the calves were gone, He left His friends and went searching after them. All this time the great demigod Brahma had been watching, and now he decided to test Krsna's power. He took all the calves and boys and hid them in a cave.
When Krsna was unable to find the calves, He returned to the bank of the river and discovered that the cowherd boys, too, were gone. Immediately Krsna understood that Brahma had taken them away. To hide the loss from their mothers, Lord Krsna expanded Himself and exactly duplicated the missing boys and calves. These new boys and calves were all actually Krsna Himself.
Lord Brahma went away for what to him was a moment (by our calculation it was a solar year). Then he came back to see the fun he'd caused by stealing Krsna's calves and friends. But to his great surprise, Brahma saw that they were playing with Krsna in exactly the same way as before he'd stolen them. Then, to convince Brahma that the new calves and boys were not the original ones, They all transformed into effulgent four-armed Visnu forms. (Visnu is Krsna's expansion for the creation and maintenance of the material universes.) Brahma was completely bewildered by this display. So Lord Krsna took compassion upon him and caused the Visnu forms to disappear. Now Brahma realized he had made a mistake in trying to match his power against the Supreme Lord's. He began offering prayers to Krsna with great respect, humility, and attention.
"My dear Krsna," Brahma said, "You are the only worshipful Supreme Lord. Therefore I am offering my humble prayers just to please You, Krsna, son of Maharaja Nanda, who are standing before me. Your bodily features are of the color of bluish clouds filled with water, and You are glittering with a silver electric aura emanating from Your yellow garments.
"My dear Lord, people may say that I am the master of all Vedic knowledge, and I am supposed to be the creator of this universe, but it has been proved that I cannot understand Your personality, even though You appear before me just like a child. I cannot estimate the potency of Your bodily activities. It is to be understood that when I, Lord Brahma, the supreme personality of this universe, cannot estimate the childlike body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then what to speak of others?
"By the speculative method one may gain partial knowledge of Your cosmic manifestation, but it is not possible to understand You, the origin of everything. The attempt of persons who are interested only in speculative knowledge is simply wasted labor, like the labor of a person who attempts to gain something by beating the empty husk of a rice paddy.
"Instead, one should engage himself in Your devotional service even in his worldly activities, and should always keep himself near You by the process of hearing and chanting Your transcendental glories. You are realizable only by persons who have cleansed their hearts of all contamination, and this cleansing of the heart is made possible by such hearing and chanting."
Lord Brahma presented himself to Lord Krsna as having been the most presumptuous living creature. He had stolen the boys and calves simply to test Krsna's power, but now he admitted that it was foolish for him to have attempted to display his energy before the energy of the Supreme Person. Coming to his senses, Lord Brahma saw that although in the eyes of all other living beings in this material world he was a very powerful creature, still, in comparison to the power and energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his power was nothing.
Nevertheless, as the supreme personality in charge of this particular universe, Brahma is without a doubt a faithful servant of Krsna. Therefore he could appease Him. Brahma admitted that he had been puffed up by his powerful position as controller of the universe. He asked that the Lord look on him as a subordinate servant whose little mistake and impudence might be excused.
Said Brahma, "Just consider all the happenings that I have seen today—are they not all due to Your inconceivable energies? First of all, I saw You alone. Then You expanded Yourself as the cowherd boys, the calves, and all that exists in Vrndavana forest. Then I saw You and all the boys and calves as fourhanded Visnu forms, and They were all being worshiped by all the elements of creation and all the demigods, including me. Again They all became cowherd boys and calves, and You remained alone as You were before. Does this not mean that You are the Supreme Lord, the origin of everything, that from You everything emanates, and that again everything enters into You, although You remain the same as before? "People with a poor fund of knowledge may think that because You are the son of Nanda Maharaja, You are not the original person, but are born just like a human being. They are mistaken. In spite of Your being the son of Nanda, You are the original person, and there is no doubt about it. You are the Absolute Truth, and You are not of this material darkness. And because You are not one of the creations of this world, even after the world is annihilated Your existence will continue.
"My dear Lord, I pray that I may be so fortunate that in this life or in another life, wherever I may take my birth, I may be counted as one of Your devotees. Wherever I may be, I pray that I may be engaged in Your devotional service. I do not even care what form of life I get in the future, because I can see that even in the forms of cows and calves or cowherd boys, the devotees are fortunate to be always engaged in Your transcendental loving service and association. Therefore I wish to be one of them instead of the exalted demigod I am now, for actually I am full of ignorance. The gopis [cowherd women] and the cows of Vrndavana are so fortunate that they have been able to supply their breast milk to You. Persons who are engaged in performing great sacrifices cannot attain the perfection of understanding You, but simply by devotional service these innocent village women and cows are all able to satisfy You with their milk. You have drunk their milk to Your satisfaction, yet You are never satisfied by those who engage in performing costly sacrifices.
"I am simply amazed by the fortunate position of Maharaja Nanda, mother Yasoda, and the cowherd men and gopis: You, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth, are existing here as their most intimate lovable object. My dear Lord, no one can actually appreciate the good fortune of these residents of Vrndavana, because they are actually relishing Your presence and enjoying Your association. We demigods may be proud of being controllers of the senses, but the residents of Vrndavana are so transcendental that their senses are not under our control. Actually, they are enjoying their senses only through service to You. I shall therefore consider myself fortunate if I am given a chance to take birth in this land of Vrndavana in any of my future lives.
"My dear Lord, I am therefore not interested in either material opulences or liberation. I am most humbly praying at Your lotus feet for You to please give me any sort of birth within this Vrndavana forest, so that I may be favored by the dust of the feet of Your devotees. Even if I am given the chance to grow just as humble grass in this land, that will be a glorious birth for me. But if I am not so fortunate as to take birth within the forest of Vrndavana, I beg to be allowed to take birth just outside the immediate area of Vrndavana, so that when the devotees go out they will walk over me. Even that would be a great fortune for me. I am simply aspiring for a birth in which I will be smeared by the dust of the devotees' feet. I can see that everyone here is full of Krsna consciousness; they do not know anything but Lord Krsna.
"I can now understand that Your appearance as a small cowherd boy, a child of the cowherd men, is not at all a material activity. My dear Lord Krsna, those who deride You, claiming that You have a material body like an ordinary man, are described inBhagavad-gita as demonic and less intelligent. You are always transcendental. Actually, You have assumed this body, which resembles that of an ordinary cowherd boy, simply to increase the devotion and transcendental bliss of Your devotees.
"My dear Lord, I have nothing to say about people who advertise that they have already realized God or that by their realization they have themselves become God. But as far as I am concerned, what can I say about You, or how can I realize You with my senses? I cannot even think of You perfectly with my mind, which is the master of the senses. Your qualities, Your activities, and Your body cannot be conceived by any person within this material world. Only by Your mercy can one understand, to some small extent, what You are.
"My dear Lord, although I sometimes falsely think that I am master of this universe, You are the Supreme Lord of all creation. I may be master of this universe, but there are innumerable other universes, and there are innumerable other Brahmas who preside over those universes. And actually You are the master of them all. Please therefore accept me as Your surrendered servant. I hope that You will excuse me for disturbing You in Your pastimes with Your friends and calves. Now if You will kindly allow me, I will immediately leave so that You can enjoy Your friends and calves without my disruptive presence. My dear Lord, You are the only worshipable Deity within the whole creation. As long as there is sunshine within this material world, kindly accept my humble obeisances."
After offering his respects, Brahma, the master of this universe, circumambulated the Supreme Personality of Godhead three times and prepared to return to his planet, Brahmaloka. With a gesture, Lord Krsna gave him permission to depart. As soon as Brahma left, Lord Krsna appeared just as He had on the very day the cows and cowherd boys had vanished a year before.
Krsna had left His friends on the bank of the Yamuna while they were eating lunch, and although he returned exactly one year later, the cowherd boys thought He had returned within a second. That is the way of Krsna's activities. Bhagavad-gita explains that Krsna Himself is residing in everyone's heart, and He causes both remembrance and forgetfulness. All living beings are controlled by the supreme energy of the Lord, and sometimes they remember and sometimes they forget their relationship with Him.
The cowherd boys, being controlled in such a way, could not understand that for one whole year they had been under the spell of Brahma's mystic power. When Krsna appeared before the boys, they thought, "Krsna has returned within a minute!" They began to laugh and said, "Dear friend Krsna, You have come back so quickly. All right, we have not begun our lunch yet. We have not taken even one morsel of food. So please come and join us and let us eat together."
Krsna smiled and accepted their invitation. While eating, Krsna was thinking, "These boys believe that I have come back within a second, but they do not know that for the last year I have been involved with the mystic activities of Lord Brahma."
After finishing their lunch, Krsna and His friends and calves began to return to their homes. When Krsna returned to Vrndavana, all the inhabitants came out to see Him. He was wearing a peacock feather on His helmet, which was also decorated with forest flowers. In addition, Krsna wore a garland and was painted with variously colored minerals collected from the caves of Govardhana Hill. Govardhana Hill is famous for natural red dyes, and Krsna and His friends had painted their bodies with them. Each boy had a stick and a flute and a bugle made of buffalo horn, and each was calling his calves by their names. The cowherd boys were so proud of Krsna's wonderful activities that while entering the village, they all sang His glories.
[Adapted by Drutakarma dasa from Srimad-Bhagavatam, translation and commentary by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.]