There was a fruit seller who lived in Mathurā. She had heard from some persons who were coming to Mathurā from Gokula that a very beautiful and charming child of about two years old, the son of Nanda and Yaśodā, lived in Gokula. She wanted to have darśana of Him, so she took some fruits in her basket and went to the area of Nanda Bhavan, the home of Nanda Mahārāja. There she called, “Oh, phala lo, phala lo, take fruits, take fruits.”
In Mathurā and Vṛndāvana, there were many fruit sellers everywhere, and she would also sell fruits in that way. But when she came to Nanda Bhavan, sometimes Kṛṣṇa was sleeping, sometimes He was playing here and there, and sometimes He was in the lap of Yaśodā, drinking breast milk. Therefore, she never had a chance to see Him. One day she said, “Today I will go and not return until I have had His darśana.” She made a vow to ‘do or die.’ The objective of her life was fixed. We should also try to make a vow like this. Having made this promise, she called out, “Phala lo, phala lo.” Gradually she forgot to say this and instead called, “Govinda lo, Govinda lo, take Govinda, take Govinda. Dāmodara lo, take Dāmodara, Mādhava lo, take Mādhava. Govinda Dāmodara Mādhaveti.”
The easiest way to see Kṛṣṇa is to perform nāma-saṅkīrtana. The fruit seller adopted this process, as did the gopīs. When Kṛṣṇa disappeared from the rāsa dance, they sang His names so that He would come back. Like other fruit sellers, this lady was practiced in carrying her basket on her head, not touching it with her hands. She could even dance easily without it falling from her head. In this way, from morning until twelve she looked for Kṛṣṇa.
At last she became tired and sat down at the door of Nanda Bhavan. “How will I see Kṛṣṇa?” she thought. At this time Kṛṣṇa took some corn, wheat, and other grains from the storehouse. He was quite naked, wearing around His waist only a gold chain with tinkling bells, the sweet sound of which sometimes charmed even Himself. He picked up some grains, but as He walked over to the fruit seller, the grains fell through His fingers; only two or three remained. With very greedy eyes, Kṛṣṇa looked toward the very sweet golden, yellow and reddish fruit – bananas, mangos, grapes, kadamba, and so many others. “Oh, give Me fruits, give Me fruits,” He said to her. The fruit seller looked at Him and became totally charmed.
“I will give them to You if You sit on my lap and call me ‘Mother’.”
This was a very big problem for Kṛṣṇa. “If I am seen sitting on her lap and addressing her as Mother,” He thought, “everyone will laugh. What should I do?” He quickly looked here and there to see if anyone was watching. When He saw that there were no witnesses, then very quickly, for a moment, He sat on the lap of that fruit seller and said, “O Mother, give Me fruits,” and then jumped off. The fruit seller happily began to give Him fruits.
“What do You want?” she asked.
He replied, “I want this and I want that.”
At first He held out His hands, and then, as He took more and more fruit, He held both arms close to His chest. She gave Him two, three, four, five fruits and more, until His arms were filled up.
Looking here and there and dancing, He then went to His mother and put all the fruits in her veil.
“Oh, from where have You brought the fruits?” she asked Him, and quickly she began to distribute them. Although hundreds of gopīs came and took those sweet fruits, the supply never diminished. It was unlimited.
And what became of that fruit seller? She simply sat there deep in thought. Her heart had been stolen by Kṛṣṇa, and without her heart, she could only be absorbed in remembering Him. After some time, someone came and asked her, “Why are you here? What are you doing?” Somehow she remembered her duties. She took her basket and started for her home in Mathurā. Midway, near to where the Yamunā was flowing, she began to wonder, “Why is my basket so heavy?” When she removed it from her head, she saw that it was full of diamonds and other jewels. She became astonished. She put it back on her head, but then threw it into the Yamunā. She had no need at all for the jewels. What became of her, no one knows. In the eyes of the world, she had become totally mad.
Do you know what became of her? She became greater than Devahūti. She was not concerned about whether her veil was on her head or off, whether she was naked, or what her condition was. She was always in trance. In fact, she entered a state even greater than trance. Kṛṣṇa immediately took her body, her outer shell, and gave her a greater position than He gave Pūtanā, sending her to Goloka Vṛndāvana to serve Him there. Kṛṣṇa is so kind. She had no special relationship with Kṛṣṇa; her bhakti was like śānta-rasa, the mood of neutrality, which is devoid of a mood of service. Still, thinking her to be like a mother, Kṛṣṇa had called her ‘Mother’ and gave her a position far superior to Pūtanā, Kubjā, and others. He is so merciful. Try to quickly realize all these truths. If your bhakti is very high, then in one birth you can achieve a destination like this. Pūtanā went to Goloka, but the fruit seller lady went to Vṛndāvana, which is superior.
―Śrīla Bhaktivedanta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja
Image/Art made possible by Krishnapath.org