Nanda Mahārāja addressed Garga Muni as one of the great authorities in astrological science. The foretellings of astrological science, such as the occurrence of solar or lunar eclipses, are wonderful calculations, and by this particular science a person can understand the future very clearly. Garga Muni was proficient in this knowledge. By this knowledge one can understand what his previous activities were that are causing him to enjoy or suffer in this life.
Nanda Mahārāja also addressed Garga Muni as “the best of the brāhmaṇas.” A brāhmaṇa is one who is expert in the knowledge of the Supreme. Without knowledge of the Supreme Absolute, one cannot be recognized as a brāhmaṇa. The exact word used in this connection is brahma-vidām, which means those who know the Supreme very well. An expert brāhmaṇa is able to give reformatory facilities to the subcastes—namely the kṣatriyas and vaiśyas. The śūdras observe no reformatory performances. The brāhmaṇa is considered to be the spiritual master or priest for the kṣatriya and vaiśya. Nanda Mahārāja happened to be a vaiśya, and he accepted Garga Muni as a first-class brāhmaṇa. He therefore offered his two foster sons—namely Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma—to him to purify. Nanda stated that not only these boys but all human beings just after birth should accept a qualified brāhmaṇa as spiritual master.
Upon this request, Garga Muni replied, “Vasudeva has sent me to see to the reformatory performances of these boys, especially Kṛṣṇa’s, but if I do so it may incidentally appear that Kṛṣṇa is the son of Devakī, since I am Vasudeva’s family priest.” By his astrological calculation, Garga Muni could understand that Kṛṣṇa was the son of Devakī, which Nanda did not know. Indirectly Garga Muni said that Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma were both sons of Vasudeva. Balarāma was known as the son of Vasudeva because His mother, Rohiṇī, was present there, but Nanda Mahārāja did not know about Kṛṣṇa. Garga Muni indirectly disclosed the fact that Kṛṣṇa was the son of Devakī. Garga Muni also warned Nanda Mahārāja that if he would perform the reformatory ceremony, then Kaṁsa, who was naturally very sinful, would understand that Kṛṣṇa was the son of Devakī and Vasudeva. According to astrological calculation, Devakī could not have a female child, although everyone thought that the eighth child of Devakī was female. In this way Garga Muni intimated to Nanda Mahārāja that the female child was born of Yaśodā and that Kṛṣṇa was born of Devakī and they were exchanged. Also, the female child, Durgā, had informed Kaṁsa that the child who would kill him was already born somewhere else. Garga Muni stated, “If I give your child a name and if He fulfills the prophecy of the female child to Kaṁsa, then it may be that the sinful demon will come and kill this child also after the name-giving ceremony. But I do not want to become responsible for all these future calamities.”
On hearing the words of Garga Muni, Nanda Mahārāja said, “If there is such danger, then it is better not to plan any gorgeous name-giving ceremony. It would be better for you to simply chant the Vedic hymns and perform the purificatory process. We belong to the twice-born caste, and I am taking this opportunity of your presence. So please perform the name-giving ceremony without external pomp.” Nanda Mahārāja wanted to keep the name-giving ceremony a secret and yet take advantage of Garga Muni’s performing the ceremony.