There is a statement in this connection that Kṛṣṇa, on arriving at this age, manifested such beautiful bodily features that His restless eyes became the playthings of Cupid, and His mild smile resembled the newly grown lotus flower. The enchanting vibration of His songs became a great impediment to the young girls, who were supposed to remain chaste and faithful to their husbands.
- 1 Srimad-Bhagavatam
- 2 Sri Caitanya-caritamrta
- 3 Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
- 4 Lectures
- 5 Conversations and Morning Walks
- 6 Correspondence
SB Canto 1
Here is another explanation of the bewilderment created by the pastimes of the Supreme Lord. The Supreme Lord is the Supreme in all circumstances, as already explained. Here is a specific example of the Lord's being the Supreme and at the same time a plaything in the presence of His pure devotee. The Lord's pure devotee renders service unto the Lord out of unalloyed love only, and while discharging such devotional service the pure devotee forgets the position of the Supreme Lord. The Supreme Lord also accepts the loving service of His devotees more relishably when the service is rendered spontaneously out of pure affection, without anything of reverential admiration.
As a player sets up and disperses his playthings according to his own sweet will, so the supreme will of the Lord brings men together and separates them.
The same thing happens in the case of a poor man also. Neither rich man nor poor man has any control over such meetings or separations of living beings. The example of a player and his playthings should not be misunderstood. One may argue that since the Lord is bound to award the reactionary results of our own actions, the example of a player cannot be applied. But it is not so. We must always remember that the Lord is the supreme will, and He is not bound by any law. Generally the law of karma is that one is awarded the result of one's own actions, but in special cases, by the will of the Lord, such resultant actions are changed also.
SB Canto 2
The living entities, however, are not the bodies; they are separate from the cars of the body. But the less intelligent material scientist cannot understand the process of assembling the parts of the body, namely the senses, the mind and the qualities of the material modes. Every living entity is a spiritual spark, part and parcel of the Supreme Being, and by the kindness of the Lord, for the Father is kind to His sons, the individual living beings are given a little freedom to act according to their will to lord it over the material nature. Just as a father gives some playthings to the crying child to satisfy him, the whole material creation is made possible by the will of the Lord to allow the bewildered living entities to lord it over things as they desire, although under the control of the agent of the Lord.
SB Canto 3
A cobra is very fierce before ordinary persons, but before an enchanter who can play with him, he is a plaything. Similarly, a demon may be very powerful in his own domain, but before the Lord he is insignificant. The demon Rāvaṇa was a fierce figure before the demigods, but when he was before Lord Rāmacandra he trembled and prayed to his deity, Lord Śiva, but to no avail.
Maitreya continued: My dear Vidura, I have explained to you the Personality of Godhead's coming down as the first boar incarnation and killing in a great fight a demon of unprecedented prowess as if he were just a plaything. This has been narrated by me as I heard it from my predecessor spiritual master.
SB Canto 4
One who has attraction for his birthplace, for his body, and for other such items mentioned in the Bhāgavatam is considered to be like an ass or a cow. Satī might have heard all this many times from her husband, Lord Śiva, but because she was a woman, yoṣit, she still hankered after the same material objects of affection. The word yoṣit means "one who is enjoyed." Therefore woman is called yoṣit. In spiritual advancement, association with yoṣit is always restricted because if one is like a play doll in the hands of yoṣit, then all his spiritual advancement is at once stopped. It is said, "Those who are just like playthings in the hands of a woman (yoṣit-krīḍā-mṛgeṣu) cannot make any advancement in spiritual realization."
The Gandharvas said: Dear Lord, all the demigods, including Lord Śiva, Lord Brahmā, Indra and Marīci and the great sages, are all only differentiated parts and parcels of Your body. You are the Supreme Almighty Great; the whole creation is just like a plaything for You. We always accept You as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and we offer our respectful obeisances unto You.
The transcendental activities of Dhruva Mahārāja are well known all over the world, and they are very pure. In childhood Dhruva Mahārāja rejected all kinds of toys and playthings, left the protection of his mother and seriously took shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu. My dear Vidura, I therefore conclude this narration, for I have described to you all its details.
SB Canto 7
The boy addressed the women: O weak women! Only by the will of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is never diminished, is the entire world created, maintained and again annihilated. This is the verdict of the Vedic knowledge. This material creation, consisting of the moving and nonmoving, is exactly like His plaything. Being the Supreme Lord, He is completely competent to destroy and protect.
From the very beginning of his childhood, Prahlāda Mahārāja was uninterested in childish playthings. Indeed, he gave them up altogether and remained silent and dull, being fully absorbed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Since his mind was always affected by Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he could not understand how the world goes on being fully absorbed in the activities of sense gratification.
My dear King Yudhiṣṭhira, all the children were very much affectionate and respectful to Prahlāda Mahārāja, and because of their tender age they were not so polluted by the instructions and actions of their teachers, who were attached to condemned duality and bodily comfort. Thus the boys surrounded Prahlāda Mahārāja, giving up their playthings, and sat down to hear him. Their hearts and eyes being fixed upon him, they looked at him with great earnestness. Prahlāda Mahārāja, although born in a demon family, was an exalted devotee, and he desired their welfare. Thus he began instructing them about the futility of materialistic life.
My dear friends, O sons of the demons, it is certain that no one bereft of knowledge of the Supreme Personality of Godhead has been able to liberate himself from material bondage at any time or in any country. Rather, those bereft of knowledge of the Lord are bound by the material laws. They are factually addicted to sense gratification, and their target is woman. Indeed, they are actually playthings in the hands of attractive women. Victimized by such a conception of life, they become surrounded by children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and thus they are shackled to material bondage. Those who are very much addicted to this conception of life are called demons. Therefore, although you are sons of demons, keep aloof from such persons and take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa, the origin of all the demigods, because the ultimate goal for the devotees of Nārāyaṇa is liberation from the bondage of material existence.
SB Canto 10.1 to 10.13
Not far away from Their residential quarters, both Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, equipped with all kinds of playthings, played with other cowherd boys and began to tend the small calves.
SB Cantos 10.14 to 12 (Translations Only)
There Lord Kṛṣṇa saw that the most precious of jewels had been made into a child's plaything. Determined to take it away, He approached the child.
You alone cause the creation, maintenance and annihilation of the cosmos, and of You there is no prior cause. Indeed, O Lord, authorities say that the worlds are mere playthings for You as You perform Your pastimes.
Śrī Vasudeva said: Dear sister, please do not be angry with us. We are only ordinary men, playthings of fate. Indeed, whether a person acts on his own or is forced by others, he is always under the Supreme Lord's control.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: Thus questioned by the most affectionate Uddhava, Lord Kṛṣṇa, the supreme controller of all controllers, who takes the entire universe as His plaything and assumes the three forms of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva, began to reply, lovingly displaying His all-attractive smile.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: Seeing the kings of this earth busy trying to conquer her, the earth herself laughed. She said: "Just see how these kings, who are actually playthings in the hands of death, are desiring to conquer me.
The Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas never differentiate between Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and Lord Caitanya. They say that since Lord Caitanya is the combined form of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, He is not different from Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. But some misled people try to prove that they are greatly elevated by saying that they like to chant the holy name of Lord Gaura instead of the names of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Thus they purposely differentiate between Lord Caitanya and Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. According to them, the system of nadīyā-nāgarī, which they have recently invented in their fertile brains, is the worship of Gaura, Lord Caitanya, but they do not like to worship Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. They put forward the argument that since Lord Caitanya Himself appeared as Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa combined, there is no necessity of worshiping Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Such differentiation by so-called devotees of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu is considered disruptive by pure devotees. Anyone who differentiates between Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and Gaurāṅga is to be considered a plaything in the hands of māyā.
Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
Nectar of Devotion
There is a statement in the Lalita-mādhava that Lord Baladeva, intoxicated from drinking excessive quantities of honey, once began to address the ants, "O you kings of the ants! Why are you hiding yourselves in these holes?" At the same time He also addressed the King of heaven, "O King Indra! You plaything of Śacī! Why are you laughing? I am now prepared to smash the whole universe, and I know that Kṛṣṇa will not be angry with Me."* Then He addressed Kṛṣṇa, "My dear Kṛṣṇa, tell Me immediately why the whole world is trembling and why the moon has become elongated! And O you members of the Yadu dynasty, why are you laughing at Me? Please give Me back My liquors made of honey from the kadamba flower!" Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī prays that Lord Balarāma will be pleased with all of us while He is thus talking just like an intoxicated person.
Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead
King Nagnajit continued his request: “Kṛṣṇa, if You’ll kindly bridle the seven bulls and bring them under control, then undoubtedly You will be selected as the desired husband of my daughter, Satyā.” After hearing this statement, Kṛṣṇa could understand that the King did not want to break his vow. Thus, in order to fulfill his desire, He tightened His belt and prepared to fight with the bulls. He immediately divided Himself into seven Kṛṣṇas, and each one of Them immediately caught hold of a bull and bridled its nose, thus bringing it under control as if it were a plaything.
Many heroic prospects tried to defeat the bulls, but unfortunately they were all severely struck, and they returned to their homes as defeated invalids. When Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa came and fought with the bulls, they were just like playthings for Him. He captured the bulls and roped each one of them by the nostrils. Thus they came under His control, just as a goat's small kids come very easily under the control of children. My father was very much pleased and married me to Lord Kṛṣṇa with great pomp, giving as my dowry many divisions of soldiers, horses, chariots and elephants, along with hundreds of maidservants.
Light of the Bhagavata
We should not consider going back to Godhead a plaything. We must take it seriously, as enjoined in the scriptures. For a strict follower, the result is sure and certain, and when the time is right the result will come of its own force. Dhruva Mahārāja went to worship God to gain something, but when he actually came in contact with God he did not want anything from the Lord. The Lord, however, awarded Dhruva Mahārāja both benefits—that is, the Lord fulfilled his desires and also gave him eternal salvation. Such are the lessons we learn from all the revealed scriptures. The almighty God awards the results we desire, and therefore we should desire that which is eternal, blissful, and full of knowledge. In devotional service we should not endeavor for that which is temporary and useless.
Mukunda-mala-stotra (mantras 1 to 6 only)
Those with a poor fund of knowledge cannot accept the idea that the Lord appears in person on the face of the earth. Because they are not conversant with the intricacies of the Lord's transcendental position, whenever such people hear about the appearance of the Lord, they take Him to be either a superhuman being born with a material body or a historical personality worshiped as God under the influence of anthropomorphism or zoomorphism. But the Lord is not the plaything of such fools. He is what He is and does not agree to be a subject of their speculations, which perpetually lead them to conclude that His impersonal feature is supreme. The supreme feature of the Absolute Truth is personal—the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures
"My dear friends, from this beginning of life... We are now five years old. From this life we should try to understand bhāgavata-dharma." Bhāgavata-dharma means to understand our relationship with the Supreme Lord. That is called bhāgavata-dharma. Mānuṣam adhruvam. Tad apy adhruvam. Although the life is temporary, but it is very suitable for self-realization. So therefore one should begin this process from childhood. Just like modern education system, if children are given some playthings, engineering... I've seen in your country especially. He's given railway line and so many things. He can understand how railway system is working, or engineering, so that from the very beginning of his life he's getting idea and he may catch up some line of activities. Similarly this Kṛṣṇa conscious education also should be given from the very beginning of life. That is the mistake of the modern civilization.
Similarly, we must know that our senses, they are meant for some particular purpose, and that particular purpose I have already explained, that hṛṣīkeṇa hṛṣīkeśa-sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate (CC Madhya 19.170). These senses are our... Actually they are not mine. The senses are given by the Lord. Last day I explained. But we are very proud of our senses. But these senses are given just like a boy is given some plaything by the father; similarly, we wanted to enjoy this material world. Therefore our material senses are awarded: "All right, you enjoy. You just have experience of this material world, and when you get experience that 'I am not happy,' then you shall come back again to Me." So senses are actually meant for rendering service to the Lord.
In the holy land, especially in India, you'll find there are many sages and saints, they are living there and culturing spiritual knowledge. And one should go there. If they are at all interested to go to holy land, they should find out such men, where they are sitting, what they are doing, and take advantage of it. But people do not do that. They go there, take bath in the water, purchase some playthings for their children and clothing and come back, and they think that "We have done a great thing, traveled in the holy land."
This karma-yoga... This world is so made that the matter is there. You simply take it and transform the shape. That is your activity. Avidyā-karma-saṁjñānyā tṛtīyā śaktir iṣyate. (CC Madhya 6.154) In the Viṣṇu Purāṇa it is said that this material world is full of ignorance. Just like children, they make so many playthings from earth or clay and again break it. And this practice is very prominent in your country. I see in big cities like New York, Boston, very nice buildings, well-built with stone and iron, breaking it. And again some skyscraper. And it is suggested in your Almanac, World Almanac, that next hundred years they will break all these buildings and they will go underground. Yes. Because atomic age. So nobody will... I have read it in the World Almanac. The prediction is there that world, next hundred years, nobody will live on the surface of the earth. Everyone go subway. And when they want some pure air, they'll come out to see what is the surface of the world. It is suggested. You can read it.
If I have to manufacture this stand, oh, I'll have to arrange for so many things. I'll have to go to the brass smith and ask him and give him some money and so many things. But the parāsya śaktir... If I have got... Even a, even a yogi, even a yogi, there is a prāpti-siddhi. You have heard the name of yoga. The yoga system is not so plaything as we have got so many branches in America. They are playthings.
Just like a child... Child is playing all day and doing mischief in the house, and... So he cannot be stopped mischief-doing. He must be given some engagement. If he's given some engagement, some playthings, and if his attention is diverted there, then he'll stop mischief-making in the house. Otherwise, idle brain, devil's workshop. He will go on, go on. So therefore we must have spiritual engagement. Simple understanding that "I am spirit soul" will not help me.
The more you increase your motion or activities in Kṛṣṇa consciousness you become automatically motionless in material activities. That is the process. But if you want to make motionless, the same example—a child, a child is restless. You cannot make the child motionless. You give him something, plaything, some nice picture. He will see, engaged, and motionless. That is the way. So people are motionless. Not motionless, what is called? Moving. But if you want to make him motionless then give him Kṛṣṇa engagement. Then he'll be motionless. And that is realization.
How we can say that this material nature, such wonderful things, manifestation... Thousands and millions of planets, they are floating in weightlessness in the air. There is no brain behind it? You throw one mechanical sputnik, and there are thousands of scientists working in the laboratory, electronics. They are pushing on the button, and everything is recorded. A plaything only. That sputnik is a plaything. If for such a plaything so many scientists, so many brain, are working, do you think such wonderful things are happening without any brain? This is called foolishness. Foolish people will say that they are taking (place) automatically. No. They are not taking place automatically.
Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā: nāhaṁ prakāśaḥ sarvasya yoga-māyā-samāvṛtaḥ: (BG 7.25) "I am not exposed to everyone. Yogamāyā, yogamāyā is covering." So how you can see God? But this rascaldom is going on, that "Can you show me God? Have you seen God?" God has become just like a plaything. "Here is God. He is incarnation of God." Na māṁ duṣkṛtino mūḍhāḥ prapadyante narādhamāḥ (BG 7.15). They are sinful, rascals, fools, lowest of the mankind. They inquire like that: "Can you show me God?" What qualification you have acquired, that you can see God? Here is the qualification. What is that? Tac chraddadhānā munayaḥ. One must be first of all faithful. Faithful. Śraddadhānāḥ. He must be very much eager to see God, actually.
Just like Mahārāja Parīkṣit also trying to take lesson from the learned saintly persons there. At last it was settled that "Whatever Śukadeva Gosvāmī will say, that will be accepted. That will be accepted." So therefore Śukadeva, after being questioned by Mahārāja Parīkṣit, Śukadeva Gosvāmī is answering, varīyān eṣa te praśnaḥ (SB 2.1.1). He inquired. Parīkṣit Mahārāja inquired. He was a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa from the very beginning. Because Pāṇḍava family, they were all Kṛṣṇa's devotee, so Parīkṣit Mahārāja also was a devotee from his childhood. He was worshiping the Deity of Kṛṣṇa. That was his plaything. Just like Mirabai had kṛṣṇa-mūrti. So those who are born devotees, their inclination is to... That is mentioned in the Bhagavad-gītā, śucīnāṁ śrīmatāṁ gehe yoga-bhraṣṭo 'bhijāyate (BG 6.41). Devotees, from the childhood, they get chance of worshiping Kṛṣṇa or to become Kṛṣṇa conscious.
Bhakti-yoga therefore requires little tapasya, not playthings, tapasya, that "We are addicted to so many sinful activities. We must give it up." That is tapasya. "We must observe fasting on ekādaśī day, on Lord's birthday." These are tapasya. If we do not... "We must chant sixteen rounds. We must observe the rules and regulations." This is tapasya. Don't make God very cheap thing: "Oh, it is very cheap thing." No. It has been made very easy for the Kali-yuga people because they cannot undergo any kind of tapasya. There is simple tapasya—"Chant sixteen rounds. Don't take this. Don't do this, four items. Take prasādam. Don't take anything." So nothing is stopped.
Śreyaḥ and preyaḥ, there are two things. One is called preyaḥ. Preyaḥ means immediately pleasing. And śreyaḥ means ultimately benefit, benediction. Generally, conditioned souls, they are attracted with immediate pleasing things. Just like children. They are attracted by playthings more than education. They do not like to go to school. They like to play the whole day. In my childhood also, I was very naughty boy, and I was not going to school. And my mother kept a special man to drag me to the school. At that time, there was no system like in your country, school buses. One had to go to school on foot. So my father was very lenient. I was not going to school. Preyaḥ, pleasing. Children like to play.
Just like Lord Jesus Christ, he was crucified. Still, he was so tolerant he, at the time of crucification, he's praying to God, "My Lord, these people do not know what they are doing. Please forgive them." Just see how much tolerant. Titikṣava. This is the first qualification of saintly person or God's servant or God's son. Very tolerant. They have to push on their Kṛṣṇa conscious movement or God conscious movement through so many odds. Through so many odds. Because they are just like the child; he's attracted with playthings.
The Vedic injunction says, tasmad gurum prapadyeta jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam, śābde pare ca niṣnātam. One is advised... First of all, who will accept a guru? Guru is not a plaything, that "I must have a guru, and I will never care to obey his orders, but because it is a fashion to keep a guru, I shall keep a guru." That kind of guru is useless, and that kind of disciple is also useless. One must seek after a guru—when? When he is inquisitive to understand the transcendental knowledge. Jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam. It is not a fashion. It should be very serious. One who is very much eager to understand transcendental knowledge, śreya uttamam... Jijñāsuḥ śreya. Śreyaḥ and preyaḥ. There are two kinds of paths.
Gradually, as you become purified, as you become on the transcendental platform, you'll understand what is Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Don't try to understand Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa very quickly. It is a very big subject. If we want to understand Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa very quickly, then there will be so many prākṛta-sahajiyās. In India there are prākṛta-sahajiyā. Just like Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa dancing. Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa has become a plaything. The painting Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa is kissing Rādhā, Rādhā is kissing. These are all nonsense. Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa philosophy has to be understood by the liberated person, not by the conditioned soul.
Conversations and Morning Walks
1969 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: No, they are keeping as plaything now, not they are regularly worshiping.
1971 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: He does not... He does not know what is meaning of God. He thinks that God is something plaything. Therefore he claimed that "I am God." He does not know what is God. Therefore God personally showing—He's coming, Kṛṣṇa: "What is God, see." God is from very beginning God. Kṛṣṇa, from the birth He is God. He hasn't got to meditate. He hasn't got to go to the forest and..., to become God. He is God.
1973 Conversations and Morning Walks
Just like Mahatma Gandhi, he wanted to prove nonviolence from Bhagavad-gītā. Bhagavad-gītā is spoken in the battlefield, and how he can prove nonviolence from Bhagavad-gītā? Then he has to drag some interpretation out of his own way. But because he's a big leader the people are misled. Similarly, all... at present moment in India the Bhagavad-gītā has becoming a plaything that anyone can interpret in his own way and do all nonsense. But I'll request you, because you are so much interested, and you have already approved Bhagavad-gītā, you have translated. Amongst the leading personalities, you try to understand Bhagavad-gītā as it is and spread it, it will have immediate effect. That is already experimented.
Krishna Consciousness by the sound of Hare Krishna, it continues for a moment in the brain of the rascals, then certainly it will act in future to help them to become Krishna Consciousness. In the Bhagavad-gita (2.40) it is said: "Svalpam apy asya dharmasya trayate mahato bhayat." Bhayat means fearfulness. Even a slight injection of this transcendental vibration can save one from the greatest danger. In future, of course, we shall not be very cheap plaything in the hands of the so-called publicity leaders in the kingdom of Maya. We simply give them a little chance to serve Krishna, but we cannot accept their leadership.
Your ideas for toys are nice, but I don't think that is a very sound proposal. You have to engage your time in that way where you could better be selling magazines and books. That is better utility of your valuable time. Our Krishna Conscious children are not very much after toys and playthings. They are given from the very beginning beads and they are happy chanting in that way. So I don't advise you to do this since it will take up too much of your time. Anyway, do you think they would be saleable on the market? I don't think there would be demand on the general market for them.
Please accept my blessings. I have received your letter undated and also seen the picture book. You should know it that Krsna is not a plaything. These things should strictly not be done.* If you do this, then Krsna will become a fairy tale. Please drop this matter.
I am not in favor of closing even a small temple. It is not a plaything to close a temple or to start a temple. When we open a temple we are inviting Krsna. So you can't say to Krsna, go away. You have no feeling what are the ideals of a temple. You should always consider that we have invited Lord Caitanya, Lord Jagannatha, and Radha Krsna, and if we close it, it is an insult. How can we call Them, and then say get out. We should always feel when we open a temple that the Deity is living and not dead stone or wood. It is a great offense. Before opening a temple it must be considered a hundred times, and after opening it cannot be closed. It must be maintained.
I like America very much. So many good boys have come to me from America. Unless your country is good, how could good boys and girls come? You are not poverty sticken. That is a great qualification. You have all good qualities. You are open-minded people. So please go on breaking every month the records of how money you send to BBT. The more you go on in this way, the more your country will go on everlastingly. I see in your country that the girls are being exploited. They are taught to be independent so they become the playthings for sex. So where is the freedom? I want that they live, man and wife together, chant Hare Krishna and be happy.