When He was a mere baby crawling in the yard, one day a snake appeared before Him, and the Lord began to play with it. All the members of the house were struck with fear and awe, but after a little while the snake went away, and the baby was taken away by His mother. Once He was stolen by a thief who intended to steal His ornaments, but the Lord took a pleasure trip on the shoulder of the bewildered thief, who was searching for a solitary place in order to rob the baby. It so happened that the thief, wandering hither and thither, finally arrived just before the house of Jagannātha Miśra and, being afraid of being caught, dropped the baby at once. Of course the anxious parents and relatives were glad to see the lost child.
Once a pilgrim brāhmaṇa was received at the house of Jagannātha Miśra, and when he was offering food to the Godhead, the Lord appeared before him and partook of the prepared food. The eatables had to be rejected because the child touched them, and so the brāhmaṇa had to make another preparation. The next time the same thing happened, and when this happened repeatedly for the third time, the baby was finally put to bed. At about twelve at night when all the members of the house were fast asleep within their closed rooms, the pilgrim brāhmaṇa offered his specially prepared foods to the Deity, and, in the same way, the baby Lord appeared before the pilgrim and spoiled his offerings. The brāhmaṇa then began to cry, but since everyone was fast asleep, no one could hear him. At that time the baby Lord appeared before the fortunate brāhmaṇa and disclosed His identity as Kṛṣṇa Himself. The brāhmaṇa was forbidden to disclose this incident, and the baby returned to the lap of His mother.
There are many similar incidents in His childhood. As a naughty boy He sometimes used to tease the orthodox brāhmaṇas who used to bathe in the Ganges. When the brāhmaṇas complained to His father that He was splashing them with water instead of attending school, the Lord suddenly appeared before His father as though just coming from school with all His school clothes and books. At the bathing ghāṭa He also used to play jokes on the neighboring girls who engaged in worshiping Śiva in hopes of getting good husbands. This is a common practice amongst unmarried girls in Hindu families. While they were engaged in such worship, the Lord naughtily appeared before them and said, "My dear sisters, please give Me all the offerings you have just brought for Lord Śiva. Lord Śiva is My devotee, and Pārvatī is My maidservant. If you worship Me, then Lord Śiva and all the other demigods will be more satisfied." Some of them refused to obey the naughty Lord, and He would curse them that due to their refusal they would be married to old men who had seven children by their previous wives. Out of fear and sometimes out of love the girls would also offer Him various goods, and then the Lord would bless them and assure them that they would have very good young husbands and that they would be mothers of dozens of children. The blessings would enliven the girls, but they used often to complain of these incidents to their mothers.
In this way the Lord passed His early childhood. When He was just sixteen years old He started His own catuṣpāṭhī (village school conducted by a learned brāhmaṇa). In this school He would simply explain Kṛṣṇa, even in readings of grammar. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, in order to please the Lord, later composed a grammar in Sanskrit, in which all the rules of grammar were explained with examples that used the holy names of the Lord. This grammar is still current. It is known as Hari-nāmāmṛta-vyākaraṇa and is prescribed in the syllabus of schools in Bengal.
During this time a great Kashmir scholar named Keśava Kāśmīrī came to Navadvīpa to hold discussions on the śāstras. The Kashmir paṇḍita was a champion scholar, and he had traveled to all places of learning in India. Finally he came to Navadvīpa to contest the learned paṇḍitas there. The paṇḍitas of Navadvīpa decided to match Nimāi Paṇḍita (Lord Caitanya) with the Kashmir paṇḍita, thinking that if Nimāi Paṇḍita were defeated, they would have another chance to debate with the scholar, for Nimāi Paṇḍita was only a boy. And if the Kashmir paṇḍita were defeated, then they would even be more glorified because people would proclaim that a mere boy of Navadvīpa had defeated a champion scholar who was famous throughout India. It so happened that Nimāi Paṇḍita met Keśava Kāśmīrī while strolling on the banks of the Ganges. The Lord requested him to compose a Sanskrit verse in praise of the Ganges, and the paṇḍita within a short time composed a hundred ślokas, reciting the verses like a storm and showing the strength of his vast learning. Nimāi Paṇḍita at once memorized all the ślokas without an error. He quoted the sixty-fourth śloka and pointed out certain rhetorical and literary irregularities. He particularly questioned the paṇḍita's use of the word bhavānī-bhartuḥ. He pointed out that the use of this word was redundant. Bhavānī means the wife of Śiva, and who else can be her bhartā, or husband? He also pointed out several other discrepancies, and the Kashmir paṇḍita was struck with wonder. He was astonished that a mere student of grammar could point out the literary mistakes of an erudite scholar. Although this matter was ended prior to any public meeting, the news spread like wildfire all over Navadvīpa. But finally Keśava Kāśmīrī was ordered in a dream by Sarasvatī, the goddess of learning, to submit to the Lord, and thus the Kashmir paṇḍita became a follower of the Lord.