Sri Krsna's Vrindavan Associates – Subala, Part 9


The Toll Pastime

Feb 10, 2011 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of Sri Krsna's transcendental Vrindavan associates.

In our last segment of this series, we presented the transcendental pastime of Sri Krsna and His dearmost friend, Subala, in their enterprise of growing and selling pearls. Written by Srila Raghunath das Goswami, Mukta Caritram, or the History of the Pearl, gives us a wonderful glimpse into the activities of Vraja's boyhood friends.

There are a few more pastimes of Krsna and His gopa friends that involve Subala which we would like to mention before moving on to another of the Lord's priya-narma intimate friends. Subala is among the very closest of Krsna's Vrindavan friends, as is Arjuna. Together, they have many pastimes with the other cowherd boys like Sridama, who is one of the Lord's priya-sakha friends:

gatah kutra vayasyah stha
sridaman subalarjuna
sarve bhavanto dhavanto
vegenayam tu harshatah
krishnayam payayitva ga
viharama yatha-sukham
vahinyam avagahya ca

    "Where are My friends? Sridama! Subala! Arjuna! Everyone happily run here! We will make the cows drink from the Yamuna, and then We will play as We like! We will dive into the river flowing with sweet, pure, cool water!"

    (Sri Brhad-Bhagavatamrta, 1.7.43, by Srila Sanatana Goswami)

Another of the famous pastimes in which Subala played a role was the Toll Pastime, which is described by Srila Raghunatha Dasa Goswami in his Sri Dana-keli-cintamani, which opens with this verse:

    "May Sri Sri Gandharva-Giridhari's (Radha-Krsna's) intently playful quarrel over a toll of milk-products at the base of Govardhana Hill, where Their friends, filled with hundreds of desires for their friend's victory, spoke many clever, crooked words, protect you all."

The reader will recall that in the story of Sri Krsna's pearl-growing pastime, He threatened the gopis that if they could not afford the exorbitant prices being charged for His pearls, he would put them in jail – the same jail that Radha was expert at escaping from in the pastime of the milk tolls.

From Srila Raghunatha Goswami's 'Cintamani Jewel of the Toll Pastime', we hear Krsna's conversation with His gopa friends, including Subala, the toll booth collector. They are discussing how obstinate the gopis are in refusing to pay the toll:

    "…These wicked girls are ignoring My toll and proudly going away. Just see their arrogance. My friends, I will now single-handedly force them to pay the toll.

    Sound the flutes and buffalo-horn bugles! Stop these girls! With My own arms I will personally stop Radha, the leader of these crooked-hearted girls!

    O Subala, O leader of thousands of toll-collectors, you forcibly stop Visakha! O Ujjvala, O protector of the toll-booth, O My friend, you stop Citra-devi! O Vasanta, O leader of the assembly, you stop Campakalata and Tungavidya! O Kokila, O most expert leader of thousands of guides, you stop Lalita.

    Speaking many arrogant words, the cowherd boys surrounded Radha and Her friends and stopped them from proceeding. Radha jubilantly assailed Krsna with many crooked words which were actually disguised prayers of glorification. Krsna appeared to become angry, and He said to proud Radha:

    My dear proud thief, I know that You regularly travel in these forest pathways, carefully hiding these milk-products and lucratively selling them in the black market. By good fortune You have now fallen into My hands. I will now arrest You, bind You with ropes, and take You before King Kamadeva."

    (Sri Dana-keli-cintamani, Verses 33-37, by Srila Raghunatha Dasa Goswami)

Many of the pastimes shared by Krsna and His friend Subala center on the various tricks they played together with the other gopas, usually at the expense of the gopis. One of these pastimes, however, involves Subala playing tricks on Radha's mother-in-law, Jatila. Jatila often criticized Krsna for His distractions with the wife of her son. These pastimes are described by Srila Prabhupada in various chapters of Nectar of Devotion, where Jatila's expressions are given as examples of various shades of transcendental anger. The following passage describes the divine qualities of 'Haughtiness, resulting in dishonorable words':

    "In the Vidagdha-madhava, Jatila, the mother-in-law of Radharani, began to criticize Krsna in this way: "Krsna, You are standing here, and Radharani, who has just been married to my son, is also standing here. Now I know both of You very well, so why should I not be very anxious to protect my daughter-in-law from Your dancing eyes?" This is an instance of dishonorable words used to indirectly criticize Krsna."

    (Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 30)

This Vidagdha-madhava, a seven act play by Srila Rupa Goswami, describes numerous pastimes involving both mother-in-law Jatila and Krsna's confidential friend Subala, who plays many tricks on Jatila as part of the arrangements he helps to make for Radha and Krsna. We will summarize these pastimes in tomorrow's segment, the last in our series on Subala gopa.


Series Introduction
Subala – Part 1
Subala – Part 2
Subala – Part 3
Subala – Part 4
Subala – Part 5
Subala – Part 6
Subala – Part 7
Subala – Part 8


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