After Hiraṇyakaśipu was killed, the Lord continued to be very angry, and the demigods, headed by Lord Brahmā, could not pacify Him. Even mother Lakṣmī, the goddess of fortune, the constant companion of Nārāyaṇa, could not dare come before Lord Nṛsiṁha-deva. Then Lord Brahmā asked Prahlāda Mahārāja to go forward and pacify the Lord's anger. Prahlāda Mahārāja, being confident of the affection of his master, Lord Nṛsiṁha-deva, was not afraid at all. He very gravely appeared before the Lord's lotus feet and offered Him respectful obeisances. Lord Nṛsiṁha-deva, being very much affectionate toward Prahlāda Mahārāja, put His hand on Prahlāda's head, and because of being personally touched by the Lord, Prahlāda Mahārāja immediately achieved brahma-jñāna, spiritual knowledge. Thus he offered his prayers to the Lord in full spiritual knowledge and full devotional ecstasy. The instructions given by Prahlāda Mahārāja in the form of his prayers are as follows.
Affection (SB cantos 7 - 12)
SB Canto 7
Therefore by enmity or by devotional service, by fear, by affection or by lusty desire—by all of these or any one of them—if a conditioned soul somehow or other concentrates his mind upon the Lord, the result is the same, for the Lord, because of His blissful position, is never affected by enmity or friendship.
Many, many persons have attained liberation simply by thinking of Kṛṣṇa with great attention and giving up sinful activities. This great attention may be due to lusty desires, inimical feelings, fear, affection or devotional service. I shall now explain how one receives Kṛṣṇa's mercy simply by concentrating one's mind upon Him.
If a bona fide listener hears of Kṛṣṇa's pastimes with the gopīs, which seem to be lusty affairs, the lusty desires in his heart, which constitute the heart disease of the conditioned soul, will be vanquished, and he will become a most exalted devotee of the Lord. If one who hears of the gopīs' lusty behavior with Kṛṣṇa becomes free from lusty desires, certainly the gopīs who approached Kṛṣṇa became free from all such desires. Similarly, Śiśupāla and others who were very much envious of Kṛṣṇa and who constantly thought of Kṛṣṇa became free from envy. Nanda Mahārāja and mother Yaśodā were fully absorbed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness because of affection. When the mind is somehow or other fully absorbed in Kṛṣṇa, the material part is very soon vanquished, and the spiritual part—attraction to Kṛṣṇa—becomes manifest. This indirectly confirms that if one thinks of Kṛṣṇa enviously, simply because of thinking of Kṛṣṇa he becomes free from all sinful reactions and thus becomes a pure devotee. Examples of this are given in the following verse.
"If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it." The Lord accepts the offerings of devotees because of their transcendental love. Because they are in love with the Supreme Lord, they do not eat anything without offering it first to the Lord. The Lord does not hanker for a small leaf or flower; He has enough to eat. Indeed, He is feeding all living entities. Nonetheless, because He is very merciful and is bhakta-vatsala, very favorable to the devotees, He certainly eats whatever they offer Him with love and devotion. This quality should not be misjudged to be childish. The highest quality of the Supreme Lord is that He is bhakta-vatsala; in other words, He is always extremely pleased with His devotees. As for the word māyā, when used in reference to the dealings of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His devotees, this word means "affection." The actions of the Lord to favor His devotees are not disqualifications but signs of His natural affection.
O queens of Suyajña, the male kuliṅga bird, seeing his wife put into the greatest danger in the grip of Providence, became very unhappy. Because of affection, the poor bird, being unable to release her, began to lament for his wife.
Prahlāda Mahārāja has maintained the philosophical point of view that one should give up the dark well of family life and go to the forest to take shelter of the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead (hitvātma-pātaṁ gṛham andha-kūpaṁ vanaṁ gato yad dharim āśrayeta (SB 7.5.5)). In this verse also, he stresses the same point. In the history of human society, no one, at any time or any place, has been liberated because of too much affection and attachment for his family. Even in those who are apparently very educated, the same family attachment is there. They cannot give up the association of their families, even in old age or invalidity, for they are attached to sense enjoyment. As we have several times discussed, yan maithunādi-gṛhamedhi-sukhaṁ hi tuccham: (SB 7.9.45) so-called householders are simply attracted by sexual enjoyment. Thus they keep themselves shackled in family life, and furthermore they want their children to be shackled in the same way. Playing the parts of playboys in the hands of women, they glide down to the darkest regions of material existence. Adānta-gobhir viśatāṁ tamisraṁ punaḥ punaś carvita-carvaṇānām (SB 7.5.30). Because they are unable to control their senses, they continue a life of chewing the chewed and therefore descend to the darkest material regions. One should give up the association of such demons and adhere to the association of devotees. Thus one will be able to be liberated from material bondage.
When Lord Nṛsiṁha-deva saw the small boy Prahlāda Mahārāja prostrated at the soles of His lotus feet, He became most ecstatic in affection toward His devotee. Raising Prahlāda, the Lord placed His lotus hand upon the boy's head because His hand is always ready to create fearlessness in all of His devotees.
Although Hiraṇyakaśipu was purified as soon as he came in contact with the Lord's lap and the Lord saw him, Prahlāda Mahārāja still wanted to hear from the Lord's own mouth that his father had been purified by the Lord's causeless mercy. Prahlāda Mahārāja offered this prayer to the Lord for the sake of his father. As a Vaiṣṇava son, despite all the inconveniences imposed upon him by his father, he could not forget his father's affection.
A chaste woman should not be greedy, but satisfied in all circumstances. She must be very expert in handling household affairs and should be fully conversant with religious principles. She should speak pleasingly and truthfully and should be very careful and always clean and pure. Thus a chaste woman should engage with affection in the service of a husband who is not fallen.
If the wife of the spiritual master is young, a young brahmacārī should not allow her to care for his hair, massage his body with oil, or bathe him with affection like a mother.
This verse describes how a yogī can become free from material affection. Because of material attraction, a karmī cannot see himself. Jñānīs can discriminate between matter and spirit, but the yogīs, the best of whom are the bhakti-yogīs, want to return home, back to Godhead. The karmīs are completely in illusion, the jñānīs are neither in illusion nor in positive knowledge, but the yogīs, especially the bhakti-yogīs, are completely on the spiritual platform. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (14.26):
- māṁ ca yo 'vyabhicāreṇa
- bhakti-yogena sevate
- sa guṇān samatītyaitān
- brahma-bhūyāya kalpate
"One who engages in full devotional service, who does not fall down under any circumstance, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman." Thus a devotee's position is secure. A devotee is at once elevated to the spiritual platform. Others, such as jñānīs and haṭha-yogīs, can only gradually ascend to the spiritual platform by nullifying their material discrimination on the platform of psychology and nullifying the false ego, by which one thinks, "I am this body, a product of matter." One must merge the false ego into the total material energy and merge the total material energy into the supreme energetic. This is the process of becoming free from material attraction.
SB Canto 8
Greed is generated from His lower lip, affection from His upper lip, bodily luster from His nose, animalistic lusty desires from His sense of touch, Yamarāja from His eyebrows, and eternal time from His eyelashes. May that Supreme Lord be pleased with us.
The instruction of this narration concerning the churning of the milk ocean is clearly manifested by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Although He is equal to everyone, because of natural affection He favors His devotees. The Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā (9.29):
- samo 'haṁ sarva-bhūteṣu
- na me dveṣyo 'sti na priyaḥ
- ye bhajanti tu māṁ bhaktyā
- mayi te teṣu cāpy aham
"I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone. I am equal to all. But whoever renders service unto Me in devotion is a friend, is in Me, and I am also a friend to him." This partiality of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is natural. A person cares for his children not because of partiality but in a reciprocation of love. The children depend on the father's affection, and the father affectionately maintains the children. Similarly, because devotees do not know anything but the lotus feet of the Lord, the Lord is always prepared to give protection to His devotees and fulfill their desires. He therefore says, kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati: (BG 9.31) "O son of Kuntī, declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes."
With great affection, the Personality of Godhead bound Bali and then installed him in the kingdom of Sutala, which is more opulent than the heavenly planets. Mahārāja Bali now resides on that planet and is more comfortably situated than Indra.
Kaśyapa Muni was surely sympathetic to his wife's affliction, yet he was surprised at how the whole world is influenced by affection.
SB Canto 9
Thus the King respectfully received Durvāsā Muni, who after eating varieties of palatable food was so satisfied that with great affection he requested the King to eat also, saying, "Please take your meal."
Hariścandra was certainly very much attached to his son. Because of this affection, he asked the demigod Varuṇa to wait. Thus Varuṇa waited and waited for the time to come.
"Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, wisdom, knowledge, and religiousness—these are the qualities by which the brāhmaṇas work." The brahminical character offers no scope for possessing land and ruling citizens; these are the duties of a kṣatriya. Therefore, although the brāhmaṇas did not refuse Lord Rāmacandra's gift, after accepting it they returned it to the King. The brāhmaṇas were so pleased with Lord Rāmacandra's affection toward them that their hearts melted. They saw that Lord Rāmacandra, aside from being the Supreme Personality of Godhead, was fully qualified as a kṣatriya and was exemplary in character. One of the qualifications of a kṣatriya is to be charitable. A kṣatriya, or ruler, levies taxes upon the citizens not for his personal sense gratification but to give charity in suitable cases. Dānam īśvara-bhāvaḥ. On one hand, kṣatriyas have the propensity to rule, but on the other they are very liberal with charity. When Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira gave charity, he engaged Karṇa to take charge of distributing it. Karṇa was very famous as Dātā Karṇa. The word dātā refers to one who gives charity very liberally. The kings always kept a large quantity of food grains in stock, and whenever there was any scarcity of grains, they would distribute grains in charity. A kṣatriya's duty is to give charity, and a brāhmaṇa's duty is to accept charity, but not more than needed to maintain body and soul together. Therefore, when the brāhmaṇas were given so much land by Lord Rāmacandra, they returned it to Him and were not greedy.
Regardless of the affluence of the boy or the personal beauty of the girl, without this astrological compatibility the marriage would not take place. A person is born in one of three categories, known as deva-gaṇa, manuṣya-gaṇa and rakṣasa-gaṇa. In different parts of the universe there are demigods and demons, and in human society also some people resemble demigods whereas others resemble demons. If according to astrological calculations there was conflict between a godly and a demoniac nature, the marriage would not take place. Similarly, there were calculations of pratiloma and anuloma. The central idea is that if the boy and girl were on an equal level the marriage would be happy, whereas inequality would lead to unhappiness. Because care is no longer taken in marriage, we now find many divorces. Indeed, divorce has now become a common affair, although formerly one's marriage would continue lifelong, and the affection between husband and wife was so great that the wife would voluntarily die when her husband died or would remain a faithful widow throughout her entire life. Now, of course, this is no longer possible, for human society has fallen to the level of animal society. Marriage now takes place simply by agreement. Dāmpatye 'bhirucir hetuḥ (SB 12.2.3). The word abhiruci means "agreement." If the boy and girl simply agree to marry, the marriage takes place. But when the Vedic system is not rigidly observed, marriage frequently ends in divorce.
SB Canto 10.1 to 10.13
Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī has addressed Mahārāja Parīkṣit as tāta, or "beloved son." This is due to parental love in the heart of Śukadeva Gosvāmī. Because Kṛṣṇa was soon coming as the son of Vasudeva and Devakī, out of parental affection Śukadeva Gosvāmī addressed Mahārāja Parīkṣit as tāta, "my dear son."
As your younger sister, this poor girl Devakī is like your own daughter and deserves to be affectionately maintained. You are merciful, and therefore you should not kill her. Indeed, she deserves your affection.
"One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna."
Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has therefore said that by affection and love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, devotees can express their mind to Him with their words. Others, however, cannot do this, as confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (bhaktyā mām abhijānāti yāvān yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ (BG 18.55)).
Unfortunately, society is in such an uncivilized state that there are so-called mahātmās who are prepared to kill cows and children and stop the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement. Such uncivilized activities were actually demonstrated in opposition to the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement's Bombay center, Hare Kṛṣṇa Land. As Kaṁsa was not expected to kill the beautiful child of Devakī and Vasudeva, the uncivilized society, although unhappy about the advancement of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, cannot be expected to stop it. Yet we must face many difficulties in many different ways. Although Kṛṣṇa cannot be killed, Vasudeva, as the father of Kṛṣṇa, was trembling because in affection he thought that Kaṁsa would immediately come and kill his son. Similarly, although the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement and Kṛṣṇa are not different and no asuras can check it, we are afraid that at any moment the asuras can stop this movement in any part of the world.
The word suvismitā, meaning "astonished," is significant in this verse. Devakī and her husband, Vasudeva, were assured that their child was the Supreme Personality of Godhead and could not be killed by Kaṁsa, but because of affection, as they thought of Kaṁsa's previous atrocities, they were simultaneously afraid that Kṛṣṇa would be killed. This is why the word suvismitā has been used. Similarly, we are also astounded upon thinking of whether this movement will be killed by the asuras or will continue to advance without fear.
While thus praying to the Lord for rescue, mother Devakī expressed her motherly affection: "I understand that this transcendental form is generally perceived in meditation by the great sages, but I am still afraid because as soon as Kaṁsa understands that You have appeared, he might harm You. So I request that for the time being You become invisible to our material eyes." In other words, she requested the Lord to assume the form of an ordinary child. "My only cause of fear from my brother Kaṁsa is due to Your appearance. My Lord Madhusūdana, Kaṁsa may know that You are already born. Therefore I request You to conceal this four-armed form of Your Lordship, which holds the four symbols of Viṣṇu-namely the conchshell, the disc, the club and the lotus flower. My dear Lord, at the end of the annihilation of the cosmic manifestation, You put the whole universe within Your abdomen; still, by Your unalloyed mercy, You have appeared in my womb. I am surprised that You imitate the activities of ordinary human beings just to please Your devotee."
Devakī was so afraid of Kaṁsa that she could not believe that Kaṁsa would be unable to kill Lord Viṣṇu, who was personally present. Out of motherly affection, therefore, she requested the Supreme Personality of Godhead to disappear. Although because of the Lord's disappearance Kaṁsa would harass her more and more, thinking that the child born of her was hidden somewhere, she did not want the transcendental child to be harassed and killed. Therefore she requested Lord Viṣṇu to disappear. Later, when harassed, she would think of Him within her mind.
Vasudeva knew very well that as soon as the daughter was in the prison house of Kaṁsa, Kaṁsa would immediately kill her; but to protect his own child, he had to kill the child of his friend. Nanda Mahārāja was his friend, but out of deep affection and attachment for his own son, he knowingly did this. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura says that one cannot be blamed for protecting one's own child at the sacrifice of another's. Furthermore, Vasudeva cannot be accused of callousness, since his actions were impelled by the force of Yogamāyā.
In this verse there are two perplexities. When Kṛṣṇa saw that Pūtanā had come to kill Him, He thought that since this woman was present with motherly affection, although artificial, He had to offer her a benediction. Therefore He looked at her with a little perplexity and then closed His eyes again. Pūtanā Rākṣasī also was perplexed. She was not intelligent enough to understand that she was taking a sleeping snake on her lap; she thought the snake to be an ordinary rope. The two words antakam and anantam are contradictory. Because of not being intelligent, Pūtanā thought that she could kill her antakam, the source of her annihilation; but because He is ananta, unlimited, no one can kill Him.
Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: All the gopīs, headed by mother Yaśodā, were bound by maternal affection. After they thus chanted mantras to protect the child, mother Yaśodā gave the child the nipple of her breast to suck and then got Him to lie down on His bed.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, is always situated within the core of the heart of the pure devotee, and He is always offered prayers by such worshipable personalities as Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva. Because Kṛṣṇa embraced Pūtanā's body with great pleasure and sucked her breast, although she was a great witch, she attained the position of a mother in the transcendental world and thus achieved the highest perfection. What then is to be said of the cows whose nipples Kṛṣṇa sucked with great pleasure and who offered their milk very jubilantly with affection exactly like that of a mother?
Even though the gopīs who were friends of Rohiṇī and mother Yaśodā and who allowed their breasts to be sucked by Kṛṣṇa were not directly Kṛṣṇa's mothers, they all had the same chance as Rohiṇī and Yaśodā to go back to Godhead and act as Kṛṣṇa's mothers-in-law, servants and so on. The word saṁsāra refers to attachment for one's body, home, husband or wife, and children, but although the gopīs and all the other inhabitants of Vṛndāvana had the same affection and attachment for husband and home, their central affection was for Kṛṣṇa in some transcendental relationship, and therefore they were guaranteed to be promoted to Goloka Vṛndāvana in the next life, to live with Kṛṣṇa eternally in spiritual happiness. The easiest way to attain spiritual elevation, to be liberated from this material world, and to go back home, back to Godhead, is recommended by Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura: kṛṣṇera saṁsāra kara chāḍi' anācāra. One should give up all sinful activities and remain in the family of Kṛṣṇa. Then one's liberation is guaranteed.
One day mother Yaśodā, having taken Kṛṣṇa up and placed Him on her lap, was feeding Him milk from her breast with maternal affection. The milk was flowing from her breast, and the child was drinking it.
Dressed with muddy earth mixed with cow dung and cow urine, the babies looked very beautiful, and when They went to Their mothers, both Yaśodā and Rohiṇī picked Them up with great affection, embraced Them and allowed Them to suck the milk flowing from their breasts. While sucking the breast, the babies smiled, and Their small teeth were visible. Their mothers, upon seeing those beautiful teeth, enjoyed great transcendental bliss.
As the mothers cared for their respective babies, by the arrangement of yogamāyā the babies thought, "Here is My mother," and the mothers thought, "Here is my son." Because of affection, milk naturally flowed from the mothers' breasts, and the babies drank it. When the mothers saw small teeth coming in, they would count them and be happy, and when the babies saw Their mothers allowing Them to drink their breast milk, the babies also felt transcendental pleasure. As this transcendental affection continued between Rohiṇī and Balarāma and Yaśodā and Kṛṣṇa, they all enjoyed transcendental bliss.
Kṛṣṇa presented Himself as an innocent child to increase the transcendental ecstasy of maternal affection. As described in the śāstra, tāḍana-bhayān mithyoktir vātsalya-rasa-poṣikā. This means that sometimes a small child speaks lies. For example, he may have stolen something or eaten something and yet deny that he has done so. We ordinarily see this in the material world, but in relation to Kṛṣṇa it is different; such activities are meant to endow the devotee with transcendental ecstasy. The Supreme Personality of Godhead was playing as a liar and accusing all the other devotees of being liars. As stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.12.11), kṛta-puṇya-puñjāḥ: a devotee may attain such an ecstatic position after many, many births of devotional service. Persons who have amassed the results of a vast amount of pious activities can attain the stage of associating with Kṛṣṇa and playing with Him like ordinary playmates. One should not consider these transactions of transcendental service to be untruthful accusations. One should never accuse such devotees of being ordinary boys speaking lies, for they attained this stage of associating with Kṛṣṇa by great austerities (tapasā brahmacaryeṇa śamena ca damena ca (SB 6.1.13)).
Mother Yaśodā challenged Kṛṣṇa, "If You have not eaten earth, then open Your mouth wide." When challenged by His mother in this way, Kṛṣṇa, the son of Nanda Mahārāja and Yaśodā, to exhibit pastimes like a human child, opened His mouth. Although the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, who is full of all opulences, did not disturb His mother's parental affection, His opulence was automatically displayed, for Kṛṣṇa's opulence is never lost at any stage, but is manifest at the proper time.
Without disturbing the ecstasy of His mother's affection, Kṛṣṇa opened His mouth and displayed His own natural opulences. When a person is given varieties of food, there may be a hundred and one varieties, but if one likes ordinary śāka, spinach, he prefers to eat that. Similarly, although Kṛṣṇa was full of opulences, now, by the order of mother Yaśodā, He opened wide His mouth like a human child and did not neglect the transcendental humor of maternal affection.
All the cosmic manifestations that exist on the gross and subtle elements, as well as the means of their agitation, the three guṇas, the living entity, creation, maintenance, annihilation and everything going on in the external energy of the Lord—all this comes from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda. Everything is within the control of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (9.10). Mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ sūyate sa-carācaram: everything in the material nature (prakṛti) works under His control. Because all these manifestations come from Govinda, they could all be visible within the mouth of Govinda. Quite astonishingly, mother Yaśodā was afraid because of intense maternal affection. She could not believe that within the mouth of her son such things could appear. Yet she saw them, and therefore she was struck with fear and wonder.
One simply has to realize the greatness of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One should not try to understand Him by any material means, subtle or gross. Mother Yaśodā, being a simple woman, could not find out the real cause of the vision; therefore, out of maternal affection, she simply offered obeisances unto the Supreme Lord to protect her child. She could do nothing but offer obeisances to the Lord. It is said, acintyāḥ khalu ye bhāvā na tāṁs tarkeṇa yojayet (Mahābhārata, Bhīṣma parva 5.22). One should not try to understand the supreme cause by argument or reasoning. When we are beset by some problem for which we can find no reason, there is no alternative than to surrender to the Supreme Lord and offer Him our respectful obeisances. Then our position will be secure. This was the means adopted in this instance also by mother Yaśodā. Whatever happens, the original cause is the Supreme Personality of Godhead (sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam (Bs. 5.1)). When the immediate cause cannot be ascertained, let us simply offer our obeisances at the lotus feet of the Lord. Mother Yaśodā concluded that the wonderful things she saw within the mouth of her child were due to Him, although she could not clearly ascertain the cause.
Immediately forgetting yogamāyā's illusion that Kṛṣṇa had shown the universal form within His mouth, mother Yaśodā took her son on her lap as before, feeling increased affection in her heart for her transcendental child.
Mother Yaśodā regarded the vision of the universal form within Kṛṣṇa's mouth as an arrangement of yogamāyā, like a dream. As one forgets everything after a dream, mother Yaśodā immediately forgot the entire incident. As her natural feeling of affection increased, she decided to herself, "Now let this incident be forgotten. I do not mind. Here is my son. Let me kiss Him."
"Although I am unborn and My transcendental body never deteriorates, and although I am the Lord of all sentient beings, I still appear in every millennium in My original transcendental form." (BG 4.6) Before Kṛṣṇa's appearance, Droṇa and Dharā appear in order to become His father and mother. It is they who appear as Nanda Mahārāja and his wife, Yaśodā. In other words, it is not possible for a sādhana-siddha living being to become the father or mother of Kṛṣṇa, for Kṛṣṇa's father and mother are already designated. But by following the principles exhibited by Nanda Mahārāja and Yaśodā and their associates, the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana, ordinary living beings may attain such affection as exhibited by Nanda and Yaśodā.
Thereafter, O Mahārāja Parīkṣit, best of the Bhāratas, when the Supreme Personality of Godhead became the son of Nanda Mahārāja and Yaśodā, they maintained continuous, unswerving devotional love in parental affection. And in their association, all the other inhabitants of Vṛndāvana, the gopas and gopīs, developed the culture of kṛṣṇa-bhakti.
Although when the Supreme Personality of Godhead stole the butter, curd and milk of the neighboring gopas and gopīs this teasing superficially seemed troublesome, in fact it was an exchange of affection in the ecstasy of devotional service. The more the gopas and gopīs exchanged feelings with the Lord, the more their devotional service increased. Sometimes we may superficially see that a devotee is in difficulty because of being engaged in devotional service, but the fact is different. When a devotee suffers for Kṛṣṇa, that suffering is transcendental enjoyment. Unless one becomes a devotee, this cannot be understood. When Kṛṣṇa exhibited His childhood pastimes, not only did Nanda Mahārāja and Yaśodā increase their devotional affection, but those in their association also increased in devotional service. In other words, persons who follow the activities of Vṛndāvana will also develop devotional service in the highest perfection.
Mother Yaśodā wanted to bind Kṛṣṇa not in order to chastise Him but because she thought that the child was so restless that He might leave the house in fear. That would be another disturbance. Therefore, because of full affection, to stop Kṛṣṇa from leaving the house, she wanted to bind Him with rope. Mother Yaśodā wanted to impress upon Kṛṣṇa that since He was afraid merely to see her stick, He should not perform such disturbing activities as breaking the container of yogurt and butter and distributing its contents to the monkeys. Mother Yaśodā did not care to understand who Kṛṣṇa was and how His power spreads everywhere. This is an example of pure love for Kṛṣṇa.
Although the nitya-siddha expansions of Kṛṣṇa always remain with Kṛṣṇa, if those engaged in sādhana-siddhi follow in the footsteps of Kṛṣṇa's nitya-siddha associates, such sādhana-siddhas also can easily attain Kṛṣṇa without difficulty. But there are those who are attached to bodily concepts of life. Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva, for example, have very prestigious positions, and thus they have the sense of being very exalted īśvaras. In other words, because Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva are guṇa-avatāras and have exalted positions, they have some small sense of being like Kṛṣṇa. But the pure devotees who inhabit Vṛndāvana do not possess any bodily conception. They are fully dedicated to the service of the Lord in sublime affection, premā. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has therefore recommended, premā pum-artho mahān: the highest perfection of life is premā, pure love in relationship with Kṛṣṇa. And mother Yaśodā appears to be the topmost of devotees who have attained this perfection.
In this way, Kṛṣṇa, at every day and every moment, displayed wonderful incidents to increase the parental affection of Nanda Mahārāja and Yaśodā, who thus felt both surprise and joy. The breaking of the yamala-arjunas was one of these wonderful pastimes.
One day a fruit vendor approached Nanda Mahārāja's house, and Kṛṣṇa gathered some food grains with His little palms and went to the vendor to exchange the grains for fruit. On the way, almost all the grains fell from His palms, only one or two grains remaining, but the fruit vendor, out of full affection, accepted these grains in exchange for as much fruit as Kṛṣṇa could take. As soon as she did this, her basket became filled with gold and jewels.
Thereafter, all the elderly gopas decided to leave Gokula because they saw that in Gokula there was always some disturbance. They decided to go to Vṛndāvana, Vraja-dhāma, and the next day they all departed. In Vṛndāvana, both Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, after finishing Their childhood pastimes, began to take charge of the calves and send them to the pasturing grounds (go-caraṇa). During this time, a demon named Vatsāsura entered among the calves and was killed, and another asura, in the shape of a big duck, was also killed. The playmates of Kṛṣṇa narrated all these stories to their mothers. The mothers could not believe their children, Kṛṣṇa's playmates, but because of full affection they enjoyed these narrations of Kṛṣṇa's activities.
Because of intense paternal affection, the cowherd men, headed by Nanda, could not believe that Kṛṣṇa could have uprooted the trees in such a wonderful way. Therefore they could not put their faith in the words of the boys. Some of the men, however, were in doubt. "Since Kṛṣṇa was predicted to equal Nārāyaṇa," they thought, "it might be that He could have done it."
Nanda Mahārāja was surprised that Yaśodā, Kṛṣṇa's mother, could have bound her beloved child in such a way. Kṛṣṇa was exchanging love with her. How then could she have been so cruel as to bind Him to the wooden mortar? Nanda Mahārāja understood this exchange of love, and therefore he smiled and released Kṛṣṇa. In other words, as Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, binds a living entity in fruitive activities, He binds mother Yaśodā and Nanda Mahārāja in parental affection. This is His pastime.
Kṛṣṇa is so kind that if anyone offers Him a leaf, a fruit, a flower or some water, He will immediately accept it. The only condition is that these things should be offered with bhakti (yo me bhaktyā prayacchati). Otherwise, if one is puffed up with false prestige, thinking, "I have so much opulence, and I am giving something to Kṛṣṇa," one's offering will not be accepted by Kṛṣṇa. The fruit vendor, although a woman belonging to the poor aborigine class, dealt with Kṛṣṇa with great affection, saying, "Kṛṣṇa, You have come to me to take some fruit in exchange for grains. All the grains have fallen, but still You may take whatever You like." Thus she filled Kṛṣṇa's palms with whatever fruits He could carry. In exchange, Kṛṣṇa filled her whole basket with jewels and gold.
Kṛṣṇa is always neat, clean and opulent and does not need to be washed, bathed or dressed, yet mother Yaśodā, because of affection, considered Him her ordinary child and did her duties to keep her son brilliant.
The purpose of human life is indicated in the Brahma-sūtra: athāto brahma jijñāsā. To make one's life perfect—in the past, present and future—one must learn about Brahman. Because of intense affection, Nanda Mahārāja could not understand Kṛṣṇa as He is. Gargamuni was able to know everything, past, present and future, by studying the Vedas, but Nanda Mahārāja could not understand Kṛṣṇa directly. Because of his intense love for Kṛṣṇa, he forgot who Kṛṣṇa was and could not understand Kṛṣṇa's potency. Although Kṛṣṇa is Nārāyaṇa Himself, Gargamuni did not disclose this. Thus Nanda Mahārāja appreciated the words of Gargamuni, but because of his deep affection he could not understand who Kṛṣṇa was, although Gargamuni had said that Kṛṣṇa's qualities would be exactly like those of Nārāyaṇa.
When the cows saw their own calves from the top of Govardhana Hill, they forgot themselves and their caretakers because of increased affection, and although the path was very rough, they ran toward their calves with great anxiety, each running as if with one pair of legs. Their milk bags full and flowing with milk, their heads and tails raised, and their humps moving with their necks, they ran forcefully until they reached their calves to feed them.
The cowherd men, having been unable to check the cows from going to their calves, felt simultaneously ashamed and angry. They crossed the rough road with great difficulty, but when they came down and saw their own sons, they were overwhelmed by great affection.
After Brahmā stole the original cowherd boys and calves, Kṛṣṇa expanded Himself to become the boys and calves again. Therefore, because the boys were actually Kṛṣṇa's expansions, the cowherd men were especially attracted to them. At first the cowherd men, who were on top of the hill, were angry, but because of Kṛṣṇa the boys were extremely attractive, and therefore the cowherd men immediately came down from the hill with special affection.
In the beginning the cowherd men were angry that the cows were being attracted by the calves, but when the men came down from the hill, they themselves were attracted by their sons, and therefore the men embraced them. To embrace one's son and smell his head are symptoms of affection.
Because of an increase of affection, the cows had constant attachment even to those calves that were grown up and had stopped sucking milk from their mothers. When Baladeva saw this attachment, He was unable to understand the reason for it, and thus He began to consider as follows.
Balarāma was surprised. This extraordinary show of affection, He thought, was something mystical, performed either by the demigods or some wonderful man. Otherwise, how could this wonderful change take place? "This māyā might be some rākṣasī-māyā," He thought, "but how can rākṣasī-māyā have any influence upon Me? This is not possible. Therefore it must be the māyā of Kṛṣṇa." He thus concluded that the mystical change must have been caused by Kṛṣṇa, whom Balarāma considered His worshipable Personality of Godhead. He thought, "It was arranged by Kṛṣṇa, and even I could not check its mystic power." Thus Balarāma understood that all these boys and calves were only expansions of Kṛṣṇa.
On the day when Lord Brahmā had first come, Baladeva could not go with Kṛṣṇa and the cowherd boys, for it was His birthday, and His mother had kept Him back for the proper ceremonial bath, called śāntika-snāna. Therefore Lord Baladeva was not taken by Brahmā at that time. Now, one year later, Brahmā returned, and because he returned on exactly the same day, Baladeva was again kept at home for His birthday. Therefore, although this verse mentions that Brahmā saw Kṛṣṇa and all the cowherd boys, Baladeva is not mentioned. It was five or six days earlier that Baladeva had inquired from Kṛṣṇa about the extraordinary affection of the cows and cowherd men, but now, when Brahmā returned, Brahmā saw all the calves and cowherd boys playing with Kṛṣṇa as expansions of Kṛṣṇa, but he did not see Baladeva. As in the previous year, Lord Baladeva did not go to the woods on the day Lord Brahmā appeared there.
Those Viṣṇu forms blessed the devotees with Their clear glances and smiles, which resembled the increasingly full light of the moon (śreyaḥ-kairava-candrikā-vitaraṇam). As maintainers, They glanced upon Their devotees, embracing them and protecting them by smiling. Their smiles resembled the mode of goodness, protecting all the desires of the devotees, and the glancing of Their eyes resembled the mode of passion. Actually, in this verse the word rajaḥ means not "passion" but "affection." In the material world, rajo-guṇa is passion, but in the spiritual world it is affection. In the material world, affection is contaminated by rajo-guṇa and tamo-guṇa, but in the śuddha-sattva the affection that maintains the devotees is transcendental.
SB Cantos 10.14 to 12 (Translations Only)
Sometimes the honeybees in Vṛndāvana became so mad with ecstasy that they closed their eyes and began to sing. Lord Kṛṣṇa, moving along the forest path with His cowherd boyfriends and Baladeva, would then respond to the bees by imitating their singing while His friends sang about His pastimes. Sometimes Lord Kṛṣṇa would imitate the chattering of a parrot, sometimes, with a sweet voice, the call of a cuckoo, and sometimes the cooing of swans. Sometimes He vigorously imitated the dancing of a peacock, making His cowherd boyfriends laugh. Sometimes, with a voice as deep as the rumbling of clouds, He would call out with great affection the names of the animals who had wandered far from the herd, thus enchanting the cows and the cowherd boys.
When the Supreme Lord saw how the gopīs were struck with embarrassment, He was satisfied by their pure loving affection. Putting their clothes on His shoulder, the Lord smiled and spoke to them with affection.
Mother Yaśodā, mother Rohiṇī, Nanda Mahārāja and Balarāma, the greatest of the strong, all embraced Kṛṣṇa. Overwhelmed with affection, they offered Him their blessings.
Persons who constantly direct their lust, anger, fear, protective affection, feeling of impersonal oneness or friendship toward Lord Hari are sure to become absorbed in thought of Him.
Expert transcendentalists always direct their affection toward You because they recognize You as their true Self and eternal beloved. What use do we have for these husbands, children and relatives of ours, who simply give us trouble? Therefore, O supreme controller grant us Your mercy. O lotus-eyed one, please do not cut down our long-cherished hope to have Your association.
The gopīs said: Some people reciprocate the affection only of those who are affectionate toward them, while others show affection even to those who are indifferent or inimical. And yet others will not show affection toward anyone. Dear Kṛṣṇa, please properly explain this matter to us.
But the reason I do not immediately reciprocate the affection of living beings even when they worship Me, O gopīs, is that I want to intensify their loving devotion. They then become like a poor man who has gained some wealth and then lost it, and who thus becomes so anxious about it that he can think of nothing else.
Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma wore flower garlands and spotless garments, and Their limbs were beautifully decorated and anointed. The women sang Their glories in a charming way, bound to Them by affection.
Akrūra, overwhelmed with affection, quickly jumped down from his chariot and fell at the feet of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma like a rod.
Their lotus faces blooming with affection, the ladies who had climbed to the roofs of the mansions rained down showers of flowers upon Lord Balarāma and Lord Kṛṣṇa.
Pouring out a shower of tears upon the Lord, His parents, who were bound up by the rope of affection, could not speak. They were overwhelmed, O King, and their throats choked up with tears.
Nanda Mahārāja was overwhelmed with affection upon hearing Kṛṣṇa's words, and his eyes brimmed with tears as he embraced the two Lords. Then he went back to Vraja with the cowherd men.
Kuntī and Vidura described to Akrūra in detail the evil intentions of Dhṛtarāṣṭra's sons, who could not tolerate the great qualities of Kuntī's sons—such as their powerful influence, military skill, physical strength, bravery and humility—or the intense affection the citizens had for them. Kuntī and Vidura also told Akrūra about how the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra had tried to poison the Pāṇḍavas and carry out other such plots.
The ardent affection King Dhṛtarāṣṭra felt for his sons had made him act unjustly toward the Pāṇḍavas. Just before leaving, Akrūra approached the King, who was seated among his friends and supporters, and related to him the message that his relatives—Lord Kṛṣṇa and Lord Balarāma—had sent out of friendship.
Seeing Pradyumna, sweet-voiced, dark-eyed Rukmiṇī remembered her lost son, and her breasts became moist out of affection.
The Lord then went to see His aunt, Queen Kuntī. He bowed down to her and she embraced Him, her eyes moist with great affection. Lord Kṛṣṇa inquired from her and her daughter-in-law, Draupadī, about their welfare, and they in turn questioned Him at length about His relatives (in Dvārakā).
The King of Kośala, his heart melting with affection, had the bride and groom seated on their chariot, and then he sent them on their way surrounded by a great army.
Rukmī gave his granddaughter Rocanā to his daughter's son, Aniruddha, despite Rukmī's relentless feud with Lord Hari. Although Rukmī considered this marriage irreligious, he wanted to please his sister, bound as he was by the ropes of affection.
The heart of King Yudhiṣṭhira melted with affection when he saw his dearmost friend, Lord Kṛṣṇa, after such a long separation, and he embraced the Lord again and again.
How can lamentation, bewilderment, material affection or fear, all born out of ignorance, be ascribed to the infinite Supreme Lord, whose perception, knowledge and power are all similarly infinite?
(Śukadeva Gosvāmī said:) Lord Hari, Kṛṣṇa, perfectly knows the hearts of all living beings, and He is especially devoted to the brāhmaṇas. While the Supreme Lord, the goal of all saintly persons, conversed in this way with the best of the twice-born, He laughed and spoke the following words to that dear friend of His, the brāhmaṇa Sudāmā, all the while smiling and looking upon him with affection.
The women glanced at one another with pure smiles of loving friendship. And when they embraced, their breasts, smeared with saffron paste, pressed against one another as their eyes filled with tears of affection.
The Yadus were all embraced by their friends, close family members and other relatives, including Dhṛtarāṣṭra and his younger brother, Vidura; Pṛthā and her sons; Bhīṣma; Droṇa; the twins Nakula and Sahadeva; Nārada; and Vedavyāsa, the Personality of Godhead. Their hearts melting with affection, these and the other guests left for their kingdoms, their progress slowed by the pain of separation.
Śrī Vasudeva said: My dear brother, God Himself has tied the knot called affection, which tightly binds human beings together. It seems to me that even great heroes and mystics find it very difficult to free themselves from it.
Śrī Bādarāyaṇi said: One day the two sons of Vasudeva—Saṅkarṣaṇa and Acyuta—came to pay him respects, bowing down at his feet. Vasudeva greeted Them with great affection and spoke to Them.
You keep this whole world bound up by the ropes of affection, and thus when people consider their material bodies, they think, "This is me," and when they consider their progeny and other relations, they think, "These are mine."
As soon as the people saw Lord Uttamaḥśloka, their faces and hearts blossomed with affection. Joining their palms above their heads, they bowed down to the Lord and to the sages accompanying Him, whom they had previously only heard about.
Śrī Nārada said: O Vasudeva, when Mahārāja Nimi had thus inquired from the nine Yogendras about devotional service to the Lord, those best of saintly persons sincerely thanked the King for his questions and spoke to him with affection in the presence of the members of the sacrificial assembly and the brāhmaṇa priests.
The conditioned souls become completely bound in affection to their own corpselike material bodies and their relatives and paraphernalia. In such a proud and foolish condition, the conditioned souls envy other living entities as well as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, who resides in the heart of all beings. Thus enviously offending others, the conditioned souls gradually fall down into hell.
One should never indulge in excessive affection or concern for anyone or anything; otherwise one will have to experience great suffering, just like the foolish pigeon.
The two pigeons were very much devoted to their household duties. Their hearts being tied together by sentimental affection, they were each attracted by the other's glances, bodily features and states of mind. Thus, they completely bound each other in affection.
Their hearts bound to each other by affection, the foolish birds, completely bewildered by the illusory energy of Lord Viṣṇu, continued to take care of the young offspring who had been born to them.
The lady pigeon had always allowed herself to be bound by the ropes of intense material affection, and thus her mind was overwhelmed by anguish. Being in the grip of the illusory energy of the Lord, she completely forgot herself, and rushing forward to her helpless children, she was immediately bound in the hunter's net.
Since he was so hardhearted and miserly, his sons, in-laws, wife, daughters and servants began to feel inimical toward him. Becoming disgusted, they would never treat him with affection.
Greatly fearing separation from Him for whom he felt such indestructible affection, Uddhava was distraught, and he could not give up the Lord's company. Finally, feeling great pain, he bowed down to the Lord again and again, placed the slippers of his master upon his head, and departed.
Upon seeing Lord Kṛṣṇa resting at the foot of a banyan tree, surrounded by His shining weapons, Dāruka could not control the affection he felt in his heart. His eyes filled with tears as he rushed down from the chariot and fell at the Lord's feet.