Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: While Yaśodā performed her household chores, she wondered how to satisfy Kṛṣṇa’s desire for butter. “All the other gopīs prepare butter with their own hands to give to Kṛṣṇa with love and affection,” she thought. “Their butter is so sweet. Until now, I haven’t made butter myself; my servants and maidservants have done it for me. From now on, I’ll milk the cows with my own hands, put the milk on the fire and then I’ll personally make very sweet yoghurt from it. I’ll churn the yoghurt myself, so that my butter will be very sweet and tasty, and Kṛṣṇa will take it with great delight.”
Having made this decision, on the day of Divālī, Yaśodā sent all her servants and maidservants to the house of Nanda Bābā’s older brother, Upananda. She even sent Rohiṇī Maiyā off with Baladeva, because there was no one to help with the Divālī preparations at Rohiṇī’s palace. At dawn, as the reddish sun rose in the peace and calm of the early morning, Yaśodā was all alone, churning yoghurt. Yaśodā was very beautiful. If she were not, how could Kṛṣṇa be beautiful? The son cannot be so beautiful if the mother is not.
How can we describe Yaśodā’s beauty? Her breasts were so broad, that it seemed as if her slim waist would break if she bent down. She wore fine silk clothes. In India at that time, the art of making silk cloth was highly developed. A standard cloth sari for a lady was about ten yards. The weavers were so expert and the cloth so fine, that a full sari could be pulled through a hole no wider than one’s finger-nail. Yaśodā had put on especially fine silken cloth for the Divālī festival, and her feminine beauty shone through her clothing.
Mother Yaśodā prepared for churning by putting the pot of yoghurt next to a pillar, and supported the churning rod in the pot with thin ropes attached to the pillar. She then began to churn by pulling on the ends of the rope that was wrapped around the churning rod. She was very beautiful, resourceful and intelligent. That is why Kṛṣṇa was so attractive. If thousands of people were watching His activities, He would completely capture everyone’s attention.
What was Yaśodā’s mood while she was churning? She was remembering the sweet childhood pastimes of Bāla Kṛṣṇa and singing: “Govinda Dāmodara Mādhaveti, Govinda Dāmodara Mādhaveti, Govinda Dāmodara Mādhaveti, Govinda Dāmodara Mādhaveti.” Yaśodā was absorbed in singing, and thinking of Kṛṣṇa. Her heart was melting, her eyes were closed, and tears of love were flowing down her cheeks.
When Vaiṣṇavas sing in glorification of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, they accompany themselves with a special drum called the mṛdaṅga. The large end of the mṛdaṅga resounds deeply, “Tan! Tan!” and the small end gives a high sound, “Dik! Dik!” The singers also play small hand cymbals called karatālas, which chime sweetly.
While Mother Yaśodā was singing and churning, the rhythmic motion of the churning rod in the deep pot of yoghurt made a sound like the drum: “Dik, dik, tan! Dik, dik, tan!” At the same time, the golden chain on her neck, and the bangles on her wrists chimed in time like very sweet cymbals. Yaśodā was singing in time with the sounds of her bangles and the yoghurt pot. The ‘Dik tan’ sound of the churning was singing, “Fie on those who don’t worship Kṛṣṇa, and who don’t remember Kṛṣṇa! Fie on them! Fie on them! Dik-tan! Dik-tan!”
Yaśodā was totally absorbed. In the meantime, Kṛṣṇa awoke in the bed where He slept with His mother. His eyes were still closed, but He was searching for His mother with His hands, and whimpering softly: “Ma! Ma! Ma!” When He found that His mother was not there, He began to cry a little louder and rub His sleepy eyes with His little fists. At first, there were no tears. He just smeared the black kajal (eye-liner) that His mother had applied to His big eyes, which were very long, like the petals of a lotus flower.
When Kṛṣṇa could not find His mother, He began to weep: “I’ve just woken up, and I’m so hungry, but Mother has gone somewhere and left Me.” He cried, as babies do when they want their mother. Aftera while, he heard the sound of the churning and He realised that His mother could not hear Him. “Oh, she’s over there churning, ‘Dik-tan!’ ‘Dik-tan!’ and she’s singing, ‘Govinda Dāmodara Mādhaveti’, and that’s why she can’t hear Me.”
He began to cry more loudly, but still His mother did not come. Now He wanted to climb down from the bed, but it was high, so how could He get down? As the Supreme Lord, He is limitless, and the whole universe is within His body. However, playing the part of a small child, He could hardly get down from His bed. Kṛṣṇa lay on His stomach, put His feet over the side of the bed, and very carefully began to let Himself down, feet first.
Slowly He slid off the bed until His feet touched the ground, and then He began to walk towards His mother.
He was walking very unsteadily, staggering first to one side and then to the other, because He was still quite sleepy. He was crying, and tears were rolling down His cheeks. His tears were white like the River Ganges, and the streaks of smeared kajal (eye-liner) running down His face were black like the River Yamunā. He was weeping loudly now, but Yaśodā was so absorbed in her own singing and churning, that she could not hear Him.
At last, baby Kṛṣṇa came right up to Yaśodā. He caught hold of the churning stick with His left hand and the end of her veil with His right hand. Yaśodā, still absorbed, wondered, “What has stopped my churning?” Then she looked down and saw her baby Kṛṣṇa.
“Oh, Kṛṣṇa has come, and He’s crying.”
Yaśodā stopped churning at once, and took Kṛṣṇa in her lap. He was still weeping, so she wiped His tears with her veil, and began to relieve Him of His distress. She pacified Him, caressed Him, and put her breast in His mouth.
Now Kṛṣṇa stopped crying, but Yaśodā began to softly weep, and tears of love flowed gently down her cheeks. At the same time, her hair began to stand on end in her transcendental loving ecstasy. Advanced devotees experience eight bodily symptoms of transcendental ecstasy, and these symptoms all began to appear in Yaśodā.
Tears poured profusely from her eyes, her body trembled, and she began to perspire heavily. She was completely absorbed in her ecstasy of transcendental maternal affection for Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa was fully savouring that love. Kṛṣṇa sucked Yaśodā’s breast for some time, but He was still not satisfied, because He had been hungry for a long while.
Meanwhile, Yaśodā looked at the pot of milk that she had left heating, and saw that the milk was boiling over into the fire. Yaśodā realised that this milk was also a devotee, who was thinking, “I want to serve Kṛṣṇa, but Kṛṣṇa’s stomach is so vast that it can contain the whole universe, and there is enough milk in Yaśodā’s breasts to fill millions of oceans. Kṛṣṇa’s appetite is limitless, His stomach is limitless, and Yaśodā has an endless supply of milk. If Kṛṣṇa takes Yaśodā’s milk for millions of years, it will never be depleted. I will never have a chance to serve Kṛṣṇa in this lifetime, so what is the use of maintaining my life? It’s better if I die now.” That is why the milk was boiling over into the fire.
Wherever you find devotees, one symptom of their bhakti is that they feel humble and inadequate in their service to Kṛṣṇa: “My body, my mind and my senses are not engaged in serving Kṛṣṇa. What is the use of my life?”
We are not thinking like these devotees because we do not practice bhakti properly. When this intense desire for service arises during one’s practice, Kṛṣṇa will appear at once and award us His service. Or a devotee like Yaśodā will come and give us a chance to serve Kṛṣṇa.
When Yaśodā understood that this milk was desperately jumping into the fire, she told it, “All right, I will engage you in Kṛṣṇa’s service and I will serve Kṛṣṇa afterwards.” A real bhakta — a guru like this — engages newer and newer devotees in serving Kṛṣṇa. Gurudeva’s service is to engage qualified souls — those who are eager — in Kṛṣṇa’s service.
Yaśodā Maiyā is like a guru, teaching how to serve in the mood of parental love for Kṛṣṇa. In order to help the milk serve Kṛṣṇa, she had to put Kṛṣṇa down quickly, and run to the fire. This is the guru’s inclination and mood — to increase the service to Kṛṣṇa by engaging others. It is the first duty. That is why Yaśodā Maiyā wanted to put Kṛṣṇa aside.
Lola dāsī: You told the pastime in which the milk in the pot at the home of Mother Yaśodā was lamenting, “I am not able to serve Kṛṣṇa.” So now we understand that the milk in Goloka Vṛndāvana is conscious. My question is this: when the milk becomes rasagullās (Indian sweets) and each cowherd boy eats one rasagullā, how is it that the milk is eternal?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: When Kṛṣṇa ate the rasagullā, it entered His mouth and into His stomach. There it became eternally situated in His stomach; at the same time it was already eternal, for every thing related to Kṛṣṇa is eternal. Whatever Kṛṣṇa eats – all those things are eternal. Do you understand?
Śyāmarāṇī dāsī: No.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Kṛṣṇa is eternal, and in Vṛndāvana everything is eternal. So Kṛṣṇa ate the rasagullā and kept it in His stomach. If He can keep the entire world in His stomach, why can’t He keep a rasagullā in His stomach?
Śyāmarāṇī dāsī: Does that rasagullā remain eternally conscious?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Everything in Kṛṣṇa is conscious.
Śyāmarāṇī dāsī: It is inconceivable.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Yes.
lakṣāvṛteṣu surabhīr abhipālayantam
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
The transcendental realm is eternally adorned by millions of wish-fulfilling trees, by pavilions made of desire fulfilling jewels, and by innumerable wish-fulfilling cows. There, thousands upon thousands of Lakṣmīs, or gopīs, are rendering services to the Supreme Personality with great affection. I worship that original Supreme Personality, Śrī Govinda.
Śyāmarāṇī dāsī: I think this is one of those things we can only understand when we are there in Goloka Vṛndāvana.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: When you go there, then you will be able to understand.
Rāmacandra dāsa: Then also, we will not understand. Then we will understand only Kṛṣṇa; we will not think about how all this is happening.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: The entire world is present in Kṛṣṇa’s stomach. All persons and all living beings reside there, and they are also eternal. So the rasagullā is also eternal there.
Śyāmarāṇī dāsī: The rasagullā was previously milk. Does it become another living being when it becomes a rasagullā?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Kṛṣṇa can take many forms, His abode can take many forms, and His associates may also take many forms. So why can the milk not take many forms?
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