Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Today, I am asking a question. Do you know why and how Brahmājī stole the friends and calves of Śrī Kṛṣṇa? Who will answer? Do you know?
Nitāi-Caitanya dāsa: I just know it is līlā. Maybe he was testing Kṛṣṇa?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: You can hear from Padmanābha Mahārāja.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: Śrī Kṛṣṇa performs His pastimes for many purposes. By performing one pastime, He accomplishes many things. Ordinarily Lord Brahmā would not have done such a thing, because he understands Kṛṣṇa’s position. He is the ādi-guru, the first guru, in our sampradāya. By Yogamāyā’s potency, some questions came to his mind, “Who is this small cowherd boy? How can He be the Supreme?”
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: This is wrong. Mādhava Mahārāja will explain.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: In Vraja, when Kṛṣṇa used to return from cow grazing, all of the motherly gopīs would embrace Him with more affection than they would their own sons. They thought, “Mother Yaśodā is always taking Kṛṣṇa in her arms and sleeping with Him. If He were our son, we would be able to show Him our love in the way she does.”
When Kṛṣṇa milked the cows, those cows would think, “If Kṛṣṇa becomes our baby, we would be able to feed Him as much milk as He desires, directly from our udders.” Also, the young gopīs thought, “If Kṛṣṇa becomes our beloved, our lives will be successful.”
As the Supreme Personality of Godhead and thus knowing everyone’s mind, Kṛṣṇa considered, “I must fulfill their desires.”
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: You left something out.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: I was going to mention it.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Why didn’t you tell it before?
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: While playing with His friends like an ordinary boy, He performed the pastime of killing Aghāsura. Lord Brahmā was passing by and thought, “Is Kṛṣṇa the Supreme Personality of Godhead or just an ordinary boy?”
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: No. You still did not come to the point. He knew Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Lord. When Kṛṣṇa killed Aghāsura, Lord Brahmā saw Aghāsura’s soul enter into Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet. He thought, “How wonderful this is! I want to see more sweet pastimes.” That is why he thought of stealing the calves and boys.
In the meantime, Kṛṣṇa was thinking how to fulfill four wishes: (1) the desire of all of the teenage gopīs; (2) the desires of the cows and mothers; (3) the desire of Lord Brahmā; and (4) His own desire to taste the affection of these associates.
When Kṛṣṇa was contemplating in this way, Yogamāyā at once appeared to Him and said, “Prabhu, you are thinking about tasting these relationships, so I will arrange for this right away.” This is why she caught hold of Brahmā and brought him under her influence. She made this thought arise in him: “I am Brahmā. I should steal away the cowherd boys and calves. Then I will see what He will do. Maybe He will come to me and ask where they are.”
Brahmā saw all the cowherd boys sitting together, with Kṛṣṇa in the center, absorbed in laughing and joking and enjoying prasādam. By the influence of Yogamāyā, Brahmā thought, “This is the perfect time to steal the boys and calves.” He created very green grass far away, and the calves became allured to go there and graze. At that time Brahmā stole them and put them in a cave.
Kṛṣṇa told His friends, “Just wait here and take prasādam while I personally go to look for the calves.” Then, as soon as Kṛṣṇa left the cowherd boys, Brahmā took them and put them in the cave, and then he returned to Brahma-loka.
Who were the calves and cowherd boys stolen by him? The real cowherd boys and calves are nitya-parikaras (eternal associates) of Kṛṣṇa. Lord Brahmā is not qualified to even touch the dust of their feet, what to speak of kidnap them.
Actually, there were three sets of boys: The first set was the original cowherd boys and calves. Yogamāyā created the second set, which Lord Brahmā stole, and Kṛṣṇa personally expanded as the third set.
Vrajanātha dāsa: Where did the first set stay when the illusory set was stolen?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Kṛṣṇa told Yogamāyā, “Please cover them in such a way that they will sit and take their meal, and the calves will graze as usual. No one, not even Baladeva Prabhu or any Vrajavāsī, should see them.”
Yogamāyā thus covered the original cowherd boy associates of Kṛṣṇa for one year. No Vrajavāsī could see them, and even Baladeva could not see them. When Kṛṣṇa was with them, they had been eating yogurt and rice just as He was doing. Now that Kṛṣṇa had left just as they were about to put their next morsel of prasādam (Their mothers had offered the prasādam to the Deity of Śālagrāma in their homes) in their mouths, they began thinking, “We will not eat anything until our sakhā, Kṛṣṇa, returns to us. Being worried that we are not eating without Him, He will surely return very soon.” In this way, for one year Yogamāyā influenced their minds in thinking that Kṛṣṇa would return in the very next moment, and this year passed for them like a moment.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: Was this something like the rāsa-līlā in relation to time? Kṛṣṇa’s yogamāyā potency expanded the rāsa-līlā to last for the duration of a night of Brahmā, but the gopīs experienced it to be less than a moment.
Vrajanātha dāsa: When Lord Brahmā went to his own planet, his guards questioned him, “Who are you?”
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Lord Brahmā said, “You are my guards. You do not recognize me?”
The guards replied, “You are not Brahmā. Our Prabhu is on His throne and managing everything. He told us that if an imposter tries to come in, we should not allow him entrance.”
Lord Brahmā wondered, “Why is this happening?” Then, in his trance of meditation he realized, “I have made a mistake.” There is so much deep siddhānta in this pastime.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: This brings a question: There is a similar occurrence in Rāma’s pastimes. The demon Rāvaṇa could not take the real Sītā-devī; he could only take an illusory Sītā. We were discussing this in Alachua the other day. It was the illusory Sītā who was taken by Rāvaṇa. The whole pastime of her residing in Rāvaṇa’s kingdom took place with this illusory Sītā. It was this Sītā who was in the Aśoka garden, feeling great separation from Lord Rāma.
So the question is, how can an illusory Sītā feel such separation?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Because she was created by Yogamāyā, she had such power and mood. The illusory material māyā, Mahāmāyā, would not have been able to do something like this, but Yogamāyā can do so.
Vrajanātha dāsa: And the real Sītā was protected by Agni all that time.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Later, when Lord Rāmacandra finally met the real Sītā, it seemed like only one second had passed.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: Going back to brahma-vimohana līlā, this brings a question. You mentioned that there were four reasons why Kṛṣṇa performed this pastime. Of these, which is the main reason? Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu had external and internal reasons for appearing, so is there any order in the reasons regarding this pastime with Brahmā? The internal reason for Mahāprabhu’s appearance was to taste rasa. Can we say there is a main reason for Kṛṣṇa manifesting this pastime with Brahmā?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Mahāprabhu’s second reason was to give rāgānuga-mārga, the third was because of Advaita Ācārya’s prayer, and the fourth was this:
yadā yadā hi dharmasya
glānir bhavati bhārata
tadātmānaṁ sṛjāmy aham
O Bhārata, whenever there is a decline of dharma (religion) and an in crease in adharma (irreligion), at that time I manifest My eternally perfect form in this mundane world.
And there are so many other reasons.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: Can we say that the main reason for brahma-vimohana-līlā was for Śrī Kṛṣṇa to taste the vātsalya-prema of all the cows and gopīs?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Kṛṣṇa externally performed this pastime to satisfy the desire of Lord Brahmā, and internally to fulfill the desires of the young gopīs, the mothers, and the cows.
This is very mysterious. What can you pay me for this? Only daṇḍavat-praṇāma?
Vrajanātha dāsa: Śrīla Gurudeva, Vṛndā has a question. Navadvīpa is like Vṛndāvana. It is gupta, or hidden, Vṛndāvana. All rasas, namely, dāsya (servitorship), sakhya (friendship), vātsalya (parenthood), and mādhurya (amorous love) are present in Vṛndāvana. Regarding Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s pastimes, all rasas must also be present. How is mādhurya-rasa present in Mahāprabhu’s līlā?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Mahāprabhu is the gupta-avatāra, the hidden incarnation. Everything is present within Him and His abode, but it is hidden. Vṛndāvana, Rādhā-kuṇḍa, Śyāmakuṇḍa, Girirāja Govardhana, Nandagrāma, Varṣāṇā, and all other pastime places are situated in Navadvīpa, but in a hidden way. Only those who take shelter of an elevated Vaiṣṇava and Śrī Kṛṣṇa can see this.
Vṛndā-devī dāsī: How did Mahāprabhu experience mādhurya-rasa if outwardly the sakhīs and mañjarīs are not present there?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: He does so by mind. Everything is eternally present there, although it is not manifest externally.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: Śrīla Gurudeva, the other day you said that Kṛṣṇa, in the form of Mahāprabhu, was fulfilling His three desires* in a hidden way in Navadvīpa; and when He took sannyāsa and went to Purī with Rāmānanda Rāya and Svarūpa Dāmodara, He outwardly fulfilled these desires. So were His desires fulfilled, or not fulfilled, in Navadvīpa? Did He have to take sannyāsa to fulfil His desires?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Everything is already fulfilled in Mahāprabhu. He took sannyāsa for the benefit of the jīvas of the world. “Rāga-mārga bhakti loke karite pracāraṇa – He wanted to propagate devotional service in the world on the platform of spontaneous attraction.”
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja:
mānuṣaṁ deham āsthitaḥ
bhajate tādṛśīḥ krīḍā yāḥ
śrutvā tat-paro bhavet
When the Lord assumes a human-like body to show mercy to His devotees, He engages in such pastimes as will attract those who hear about them to become dedicated to Him.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Now, I have a question: Why did Brahmā test Kṛṣṇa? What was the reason?
Tīrthapāda dāsa: The basic answer is that this is part of a pastime.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: This is part of a pastime, of course; but why was this pastime performed?
Govinda dāsa: Brahmā did this because Kṛṣṇa wanted to accomplish many other pastimes by this one.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: What were those pastimes?
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: When Śrī Kṛṣṇa killed the demon Aghāsura, Lord Brahmā saw Aghāsura’s soul come out of his body and enter Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet. Seeing this, Brahmā wanted to witness more sweet pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: This is all right. Can you explain further?
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: There are many reasons why this pastime had to take place.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Why?
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: The cows and elderly gopīs of Vṛndāvana had a desire to have Kṛṣṇa as their own son. They wanted to breastfeed Him, to give Him their milk.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: And the teenage gopīs wanted Kṛṣṇa as their beloved.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: Therefore, during that pastime, those teenage gopīs were betrothed to Kṛṣṇa, who was then in the form of the innumerable cowherd boys.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: Knowing the desire of Kṛṣṇa, Yogamāyā attracted Brahmājī to steal the cowherd boys and calves.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: In brahma-vimohana-līlā, Lord Brahmā began to think, “I just saw that Kṛṣṇa killed the demon Aghāsura, and the demon’s soul entered into Kṛṣṇa’s body. Yet, I also see Him sitting among His friends. He looks almost like an ordinary cowherd boy.” In this way, the question came into his mind, “How can He be the Supreme Lord of all?”
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: No. He only thought, “I want to see some more sweet pastimes.” To fulfil Kṛṣṇa’s desire, Yogamāyā came and made that thought enter his mind.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: At that time he questioned Kṛṣṇa’s supremacy and power.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: No. He thought, “What will Kṛṣṇa do if I steal His cowherd boys and calves?”
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: Yogamāyā then made the calves wander some distance away from the place where Kṛṣṇa was taking breakfast with His cowherd friends. Kṛṣṇa told His friends, “Don’t be disturbed. I will go and find the calves.”
He then went to search for the calves. In the meantime Lord Brahmā came, stole the cowherd boys by his mystic power, and put them to sleep in a cave.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Is he speaking correctly?
Vrajanātha dāsa: No.
Prema-prayojana dāsa: In the same way that Rāvaṇa cannot steal Sītā, Lord Brahmā cannot steal the cowherd boys. Lord Brahmā merely thought that he had stolen them.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Try to hear this with attention.
Prema-prayojana dāsa: The cowherd boys are eternal associates of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. How can any person who is insignificant in comparison to them steal them away and exert his influence over them? This is quite impossible. Actually, Yogamāyā gave him the impression that he had stolen the boys and put them in a cave. He then returned to Brahma-loka, but when he reached there he was not allowed entrance to his palace.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: Yogamāyā made the second set of boys.
Prema-prayojana dāsa: And Śrī Kṛṣṇa made a third set. The original boys were still on the bank of the Yamunā, and Yogamāyā made the second set.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: There were three sets: One set consisted of the original boys and calves, and they were covered by Yogamāyā. Mahāmāyā made the second set…
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: Yogamāyā made the second set.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: No, it was Mahāmāyā. Mahāmāyā made a replica of those same cowherd boys and calves, and this was the second set, the set that Brahmājī stole.
Regarding the third set, Kṛṣṇa personally expanded as that third set. This is the thing I wanted to tell you. This is very mysterious, very mysterious.
Balarāma dāsa: What happened to the original set of cowherd boys?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Yogamāyā covered them so that no one would be able to see them. Neither Lord Brahmā nor the Vrajavāsīs, nor even Baladeva Prabhu, could see them. Being covered by Yogamāyā and under her influence, the year passed in a flash for them.
Śrīpāda Viṣṇu Mahārāja: Śrīla Gurudeva, what is the need of Mahāmāyā creating the other cowherd boys? Why not Yogamāyā?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: If Yogamāyā had created them, how would Brahmā have been able to steal them?
Śrīpāda Viṣṇu Mahārāja: Even though Brahmā is the head of our sampradāya and he is able to watch this līlā?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Still. Being influenced by Yogamāyā, even Balarāma did not understand what was actually taking place, so what to speak of Brahmā.
Nṛhari dāsa: I read that Śrīla Madhvācārya omitted this chapter about Lord Brahmā in his commentary.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Yes, but Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His followers have accepted it. Śrīla Madhvācārya considered, “Brahmājī is my Gurudeva. He cannot be bewildered by illusion.” Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu reconciled this. He explained that this is one of the very sweet pastimes of Kṛṣṇa. By performing this pastime, Kṛṣṇa fulfilled the desires of the cows, mothers, and young gopīs.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: Madhvācārya did not write commentaries on the fourteenth and fifteenth chapters of the Tenth Canto (the chapters describing Brahmā stealing the cows and cowherd boys). It is not that he took out those chapters; rather he did not write commentaries on them.
Śrīpāda Sajjana Mahārāja: Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī did not mention in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam that Śrī Kṛṣṇa went to Brahma-loka and took the form of Lord Brahmā.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: It has been told in other Purāṇas and in the commentary of Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura. What happened when Brahmājī went to Brahma-loka?
Śrīpāda Sajjana Mahārāja: When Brahmājī reached there, the guards blocked the door and told him, “Get out! Get out! You are an impostor!”
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: “Our Brahmājī is already here.”
Śrīpāda Sajjana Mahārāja: “And He told us to keep the impostor from entering here.”
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Then what did Brahmā do?
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: Brahmājī then returned to Earth and meditated on the possible reasons why his servants had treated him in that way. During his trance of meditation, he realized that Śrī Kṛṣṇa was behind the whole incident. Kṛṣṇa had ordered them to do so; He had bewildered them.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: There he realized.
Śrīpāda Sajjana Mahārāja: Brahmā returned to Earth after one year of Earth-time. He saw that so many wonderful pastimes had taken place in Vraja during that year, like the betrothal of the young gopīs. He looked in the cave where he had put the cowherd boys and calves created by Yogamāyā, and saw that they were still there. Then he looked further and saw that all of the calves and cowherd boys were continuing to play with Kṛṣṇa as before. He then saw those cowherd boys transforming into the four-armed forms of Śrī Kṛṣṇa known as Lord Nārāyaṇa. Seeing this, he understood that Śrī Kṛṣṇa had personally taken the form of all of His cowherd boyfriends and calves.
Śyāmarāṇī dāsī: Was it Yogamāyā or Mahāmāyā who created the set of cowherd boys stolen by Brahmā?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: It was actually Yogamāyā, but she acted through the agency of her shadow, Mahāmāyā. It was the action of Yogamāyā, but through Mahāmāyā. Do you understand?
Śyāmarāṇī dāsī: Are you referring to the same Mahāmāyā who controls the material world?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Yes. She who was Yogamāyā with Yaśodā, and who came with Vasudeva Mahārāja to Mathurā, at once became Mahāmāyā for Kaṁsa.** They are the same māyā, but by action, or function, they are known as Yogamāyā or Mahāmāyā.
Vrajanātha dāsa: Mādhava Mahārāja said that the gopīs worshiped Kātyāyanī, Mahāmāyā, and it was that same Mahāmāyā who bewildered Brahmā.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: For the gopīs, that Māyā was Yogamāyā. Māyā is one, and by her function she is two. When she acts upon Kṛṣṇa and His associates, she is Yogamāyā. When she acts to bewilder the conditioned living entity, then she is Mahāmāyā.
Someone may say, “Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja is a most angry person.” Another person may say, “No, he is very loving.” The first person saw me chastising someone, and therefore his idea is that I am an angry person. The second person saw my very sweet behaviour and thinks, “Oh, he loves everyone.”
Śrīpāda Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Śrīla Madhvācārya has not written any commentary to brahma-vimohana-līlā.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Brahmā was Śrī Madhvācārya’s guru, so Madhvācārya considered, “My gurudeva can have no fault.” It is for this reason that he has not written a commentary to this pastime.
Śrīpāda Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Lord Brahmā is our guru also, so how are we to understand this ‘fault’ of his?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Mahāprabhu was very liberal.
He did not see this from only one angle.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: It was through Brahmā that Kṛṣṇa performed so many pastimes. Kṛṣṇa was able to fulfil the vrajagopīs’ desires, the mothers’ desires, and the cows’ desires.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: So many of Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes manifested from this one incident, so why should Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī refrain from commenting on it? Why should Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī or Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī leave this out?
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: Or Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: They did not avoid writing commentaries on this pastime.
Śrīpāda Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Brahmājī is our ādi-guru (first, original guru). He is a great Vaiṣṇava. Being a great Vaiṣṇava, why could he not see the original cowherd boys and calves?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: He was influenced by some māyā. He was born from a lotus flower, so some defect must be there. That was the defect.*** The influence of Kṛṣṇa’s māyā was so much greater than the power of Brahmā.
Baladeva thought, “Why are all these things going on?” He told Kṛṣṇa, “O Prabhu, without Your mercy, no one can understand Your pastimes. Even I cannot understand; what to speak of Brahmā and others?
Śrīpāda Nemi Mahārāja: Are the gopīs with whom Kṛṣṇa dances married to the same cowherd boys with whom He plays in the daytime?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: [To Vrajanātha dāsa] What did he say?
Vrajanātha dāsa: At the time of brahma-vimohana-līlā, all the gopīs married the gopas. Then, after the līlā was over, did they remain married to those gopas?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Yes. They married only one time, not two. After that one time, they simply thought, “This is my husband.”
Vrajanātha dāsa: The first question is about brahma-vimohana-līlā. When all the cowherd boys were in mystic slumber for one year [and Krsna took their forms so that their mothers would not miss them and worry], in that year Kṛṣṇa [in the forms of those cowherd boys] married [was betrothed to] all the gopīs. After the cowherd boys came out from their mystic sleep, how did they understand that they had been married? That must have been a surprise for them. How do we reconcile that? Who explained to them that they were married?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: It is all due to Yogamāyā. All of Kṛṣṇa’s desires are fulfilled by Yogamāyā. The gopīs never thought, “Kṛṣṇa is my husband,” and the friends considered, “This lady is my wife.” Otherwise, how could there be parakīya-bhāva (the mood of a paramour)? Do you understand?
Vrajanātha dāsa: In that year, when Kṛṣṇa expanded Himself as all the cowherd boys, Gargamuni said, “All the gopas should now marry with gopīs.” At that time the young gopas and gopīs were promised to each other for marriage in the future. All the gopīs thought, “I will marry this gopa in the future.” When the gopas came out from their sleep caused by Brahmā, did the gopas understand, or not understand, by Yogamāyā’s influence that they were going to marry this or that gopī?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: By the power of Yogamāyā they considered, “She is my wife.” Otherwise, there would be no parakīya-bhāva.
Śrīpāda Sādhu Mahārāja: Balabhadra Prabhu is asking: In brahma-vimohana-līlā it is stated that one year after Kṛṣṇa expanded Himself as all the cowherd boys and calves, He revealed Himself to Brahmājī. Why did Brahmā see the four-armed Viṣṇu forms of Śrī Kṛṣṇa rather than two-handed Vrajendra-nandana Kṛṣṇa?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Brahmā’s worshipable Deity is four-armed Viṣṇu. Viṣṇu told Brahmājī, “You should know that I, your worshipful Deity, am performing these miracles.” Later on, Kṛṣṇa showed His two-armed form to Lord Brahmā in order to convince him, “I am the same Lord.” This particular pastime, brahma-vimohana-līlā, was a revelation of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s aiśvarya.
Śrīpāda Giri Mahārāja: Brahmā is always a pure devotee?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: He is a śuddhā-bhakta, but not a rasika bhakta. He may become a rasika bhakta in the future.
Moreover, there are so many Brahmās. Our Brahmā requested Kṛṣṇa that he become the foot-dust of the residents of Vṛndāvana; this is not an ordinary prayer.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: Brahmājī became a mountain in Varsānā (Brahma-parvata) by performing worship of Rādhā.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Yes. Śaṅkara manifests in Nandagaon as the mountain Nandīśvara Hill, and Brahmā as Brahma-parvata in Varsānā.
Brahmā is our ādi-guru (the first guru in our Brahma-Madhva Gauḍīya sampradāya), not Śaṅkara. In this way, we follow Brahmā, not Śaṅkara.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: Śaṅkara is followed by Viṣṇusvāmī of the Rudra sampradāya.
Devotee: While speaking about brahma-vimohana-līlā yesterday, you mentioned that there were three sets of cowherd boys and calves. The set that was placed in the cave by Brahmā was created by Yogamāyā, and another set was Kṛṣṇa’s expansions. Where were the original cowherd boys and calves?
Vrajanātha dāsa: Gurudeva, you said previously that they remained in the same place, taking prasādam, and it seemed to them that Kṛṣṇa returned a moment after He had left them.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: Yogamāyā covered them so that Brahmā could not see them.
Vrajanātha dāsa: So they were taking prasādam for one year?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Yes, by the influence of Yogamāyā.
Śrīla Gurudeva further explained that, regarding the suffering of the Vrajavāsīs, we should always remember this important point: since Śrī Kṛṣṇa was so near to the Vrajavāsīs, they did not experience even the slightest amount of suffering.
In brahma-vimohana-līlā also, Śrī Kṛṣṇa apparently allowed the sakhās to remain unconscious for one full year. Yet in reality the sakhās did not feel any distress. In this pastime, Kṛṣṇa actually caused three identical sets of sakhās to manifest.
The sakhās and calves that Śrī Brahmā stole and closed inside the cave were actually all figures constructed by Yogamāyā, but Brahmājī had no notion of this.
Like a spinning firebrand, Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes constantly pass from one universe to another, so the real sakhās and calves were instantly transferred to a different universe and continued to play with Kṛṣṇa there.
Śrī Kṛṣṇa himself became the third set of all the sakhās and calves, and for one year he spoke, acted and behaved just as the originals would. No one had any suspicion that this was happening. During this time, all the sakhās, who were actually all Kṛṣṇa, were married to all the young girls of Vraja. The question may arise, wherever the real sakhās were, when they returned after one year, how did they know to consider a particular gopī their wife? The answer is that at the conclusion of this pastime Śrī Kṛṣṇa had his internal potency, Yogamāyā, imbibe the sakhās with memories of being married to a particular gopī.
One may ask, “Why does Śrī Kṛṣṇa perform pastimes in such a way that it outwardly seems that the Vrajavāsīs were enduring great suffering?”
The answer is simply that Śrī Kṛṣṇa is icchāmaya, he is full of beautiful, transcendental desires. As soon as a desire arises in him, he performs a pastime in which he fulfils his desire. And there is another consideration:
eka līlāya karena prabhu kārya pāñca-sāta
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Antya-līlā 2.169) thus, through performing one pastime he accomplishes five or seven purposes.
In other words, by performing a single pastime, Śrī Kṛṣṇa accomplishes many tasks. Now listen to all the tasks Śrī Kṛṣṇa accomplished through brahma-vimohana-līlā:
When Brahmājī desired to see the pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Lord showed him many of his pastimes. He even showed him a pastime by which Brahmājī could not return to his own personal abode in Brahmaloka. Śrī Kṛṣṇa took the form of Brahmā and instructed the guards to prohibit the impostor Brahmā, who would be arriving soon, from entering the palace. When Brahmājī reached his palace gate, his own guards accused him of being an impostor and forced him to turn away, something Brahmājī could never have even imagined would be possible.
Later, Śrī Kṛṣṇa showed Brahmājī that, what to speak of the calves and sakhās, even the sticks the sakhās carried were actually four-armed Viṣṇu forms, each carrying a conch, chakra, club and lotus. Through this pastime, Śrī Kṛṣṇa instructed Brahmājī, “Oh Brahmā, Even the sticks in Vraja are worthy of your worship.”
The mothers in Vraja constantly longed to have Kṛṣṇa as their own son. “If Śrī Kṛṣṇa was my own darling baby boy,” they thought, “then I would always be able to affectionately caress him as Yaśodā does now.” to answer this prayer, Śrī Kṛṣṇa became the sons of all those mothers for one year and fulfilled the desires of all the elderly gopīs who were filled with parental love for him.
The mother cows thought, “if Kṛṣṇa was my calf, I would give him my milk until he became totally full.” So Śrī Kṛṣṇa became their calves for one year and fulfilled the desires of all the mother cows.
But the most important thing he accomplished was fulfilling the desire of all the young gopīs. With intense desire, all the young gopīs in Vraja constantly prayed, “If Kṛṣṇa was my husband, my life would be successful.” therefore, Śrī Kṛṣṇa became the sakhās and married all of the gopīs. Thus in that year he actually fulfilled their heart’s desire. (Rays of The Harmonist Kārttika 2010)
* “Desiring to understand the glory of Rādhārāṇī’s love, the wonderful qualities in Him that She alone relishes through Her love, and the happiness She feels when She realizes the sweetness of His love, the Supreme Lord Hari, richly endowed with Her emotions, appeared from the womb of Śrīmatī Śacī-devī, as the moon appeared from the ocean” (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 1.6).
** “Vasudeva took Kṛṣṇa to Gokula and brought the girl Yogamāyā back from the bed of Yaśodā. As long as she was with Vasudeva, she remained as Yogamāyā; but when she arrived in the jail of Kaṁsa, and Kaṁsa lifted her up to kill her, then the activities of Mahāmāyā began, and Yogamāyā, in an invisible form, began her own activities. Exactly when she changed to her shadow form, no one knew. Seeing this, it must appear to most persons that they are one and the same potency, but they are not one. When she was placed in the jail and Kaṁsa grabbed her, she became eight-armed Durgā. He became astonished and frightened, and said, “Oh! You are directly my worshipable goddess!” But ultimately, when she left her form as Yogamāyā, and how she did this and that – it is all durvitarkyā, inconceivable” (Going Beyond Vaikunṭḥa, Chapter 8).
*** It is not that Śrīla Gurudeva is actually criticizing Brahmājī here. He is absorbed in remembering the words of the gopīs as they conversed with Kṛṣṇa at Kurukṣetra after a long period of separation. Kṛṣṇa had told them that He is God, and in their mood of considering Him only as their most beloved, they told Him the following:
“The gopīs said, ‘Brahmā was born from the lotus-navel of Padmanābha Viṣṇu, so he is like that lotus flower. His intelligence is quite dull, because he has come from the stem of an inert lotus. How can demigods like Brahmā know anything? They can pray to You and believe that You are the Supreme Lord. They can believe that You can create this entire universe in a second and then destroy it. They can glorify You like this, but we have known You from the beginning of Your birth, and we know You at this very moment. These demigods and yogīs may pray to You for salvation, or they can pray to You that Your lotus feet may appear in their hearts. They should do so, because they are as foolish as anything. We are not like them, for we are very clever and intelligent’ ” (The Origin of Ratha-yātrā, Chapter 6).
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