The Glorious Month of Damodar, Part 21


Mother Yasoda Chastising Krsna
Trichinopoly, c. 1820

Oct 27, 2014 — CANADA (SUN) — Srila Prabhupada's Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.31, October 11, 1974 in Mayapur.

Chastising Krsna

One of the central themes of Damodar-lila is the service rendered by Mother Yasoda, who was duty-bound to chastise her errant son. In a lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam, Detroit, August 5, 1975, Srila Prabhupada explained:

isvarah paramah krsnah
anadir adir govindah

"He's the supreme controller, but He is controlled by His devotee, Srimati Radharani. He is controlled. So it is not to be easily understood what is the pastimes between... But Krsna is willingly agreed to be controlled by His devotee. That is Krsna's nature. Just like mother Yasoda. Mother Yasoda is controlling Krsna, binding Him: "You are very naughty? I will bind you." Mother Yasoda has a stick, and Krsna is crying. Krsna is crying. These things you study.

It is stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Kunti's prayer, how she is appreciating that "My dear Krsna, You are the Supreme. But when under the stick of mother Yasoda you are crying, that scene I want to see." So Krsna is so bhakta-vatsala that He is the supreme controller. But a devotee like mother Yasoda, a devotee like Radharani, devotees like gopis, devotees like the cowherds boy, they can control Krsna. That is Vrndavana life."

On many occasions, Srila Prabhupada described the position of the pure devotee whose duty it is to chastise the Lord, such as Mother Yasoda punishing Damodar by tying him to the grinding mortar. There are also pastimes in which the pure devotees are being punished by some demon, in order to illustrate a particular aspect of the Absolute Truth -- for example, Prahlad being punished by his father, Hiranyakasipu, and being saved by Lord Nrsimhadeva.

Durga's name is often mentioned with respect to lessons being demonstrated by punishment. In this passage from Srimad Bhagavatam 6.17.15 Purport, the duty of chastisement is illustrated by both Durga Ma and Mother Yasoda:

    "Because Citraketu was undoubtedly a Vaisnava, he might have been surprised that Parvati had cursed him. Therefore the goddess Parvati addressed him as putra, or son. Everyone is the son of mother Durga, but she is not an ordinary mother. As soon as there is a small discrepancy in a demon's behavior, mother Durga immediately punishes the demon so that he may come to his senses. This is explained by Lord Krsna in Bhagavad-gita (7.14):

    daivi hy esa guna-mayi
    mama maya duratyaya
    mam eva ye prapadyante
    mayam etam taranti te

    "This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it." To surrender to Krsna means to surrender to His devotees also, for no one can be a proper servant of Krsna unless he is a proper servant of a devotee. Chadiya vaisnava-seva nistara payeche keba: without serving a servant of Krsna, one cannot be elevated to being a servant of Krsna Himself. Therefore mother Parvati spoke to Citraketu exactly like a mother who says to her naughty child, "My dear child, I am punishing you so that you won't do anything like this again." This tendency of a mother to punish her child is found even in mother Yasoda, who became the mother of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Mother Yasoda punished Krsna by binding Him and showing Him a stick. Thus it is the duty of a mother to chastise her beloved son, even in the case of the Supreme Lord."

This duty of the mother to punish the Supreme Child has been given by Sri Krsna to His transcendental servant, in the perfection of a reciprocal loving relationship. Srila Prabhupada explains that this is the Lord's causeless mercy, in a lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam, March 4, 1976, Mayapur:

    "Therefore Lord's name is bhakta-vatsala. He can offer to His bhakta any position, more than Himself. Just like mother Yasoda. She is bhakta, and Lord has given her the position for punishing Him. Mother Yasoda is threatening Krsna that "Krsna, You were very naughty. Now I shall bind You." So Krsna, out of being afraid, was crying. So Krsna has given the position to the bhakta that "You chastise Me. I'll accept it." This is bhakta's position. This is Krsna's causeless mercy. He can do that."

In the Eighth Chapter of Srimad Bhagavatam, 10th Canto is a description of Sri Krsna's pastimes as a small boy, playing with Balaram, friends and cows, and eating dirt. The latter pastime resulted in Krsna being reprimanded by Mother Yasoda, who was then given a glimpse of the Lord's universal form, in His open mouth:

    "Sukadeva Gosvami next described how the two children crawled, walked on Their small legs, played with the cows and calves, stole butter and other milk products and broke the butter pots. In this way, he described many naughty activities of Krsna and Balarama. The most wonderful of these occurred when Krsna's playmates complained to mother Yasoda that Krsna was eating earth. Mother Yasoda wanted to open Krsna's mouth to see the evidence so that she could chastise Him. Sometimes she assumed the position of a chastising mother, and at the next moment she was overwhelmed with maternal love. After describing all this to Maharaja Pariksit, Sukadeva Gosvami, at Maharaja Pariksit's request, praised the fortune of mother Yasoda and Nanda. Nanda and Yasoda were formerly Drona and Dhara, and by the order of Brahma they came to this earth and had the Supreme Personality of Godhead as their son."
    (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.8 Summary)

In his Bhaktivedanta Purports to Bhagavatam 10.8.34-35, Srila Prabhupada explains that:

    "Mother Yasoda was agitated by Krsna's restless misbehavior. Her house was full of sweetmeats. Why then should the restless boy eat dirt in a solitary place? Krsna replied, "My dear mother, they have plotted together and lodged a complaint against Me so that you will punish Me. My elder brother, Balarama, has joined them. Actually, I have not done this. Take My words as true. Do not be angry and chastise Me.'"

And as Krsna tried to convince Yasoda that He had not eaten earth, and his friends were just lying about him, He offered to let her look into His mouth:

    "Krsna presented Himself as an innocent child to increase the transcendental ecstasy of maternal affection. As described in the sastra, tadana-bhayan mithyoktir vatsalya-rasa-posika. This means that sometimes a small child speaks lies. For example, he may have stolen something or eaten something and yet deny that he has done so. We ordinarily see this in the material world, but in relation to Krsna it is different; such activities are meant to endow the devotee with transcendental ecstasy. The Supreme Personality of Godhead was playing as a liar and accusing all the other devotees of being liars. As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.12.11), krta-punya-punjah: a devotee may attain such an ecstatic position after many, many births of devotional service. Persons who have amassed the results of a vast amount of pious activities can attain the stage of associating with Krsna and playing with Him like ordinary playmates. One should not consider these transactions of transcendental service to be untruthful accusations. One should never accuse such devotees of being ordinary boys speaking lies, for they attained this stage of associating with Krsna by great austerities (tapasa brahmacaryena samena ca damena ca)."

In the same way that Mother Yasoda's duty is to chastise the Lord, for His pleasure, so His childhood friends were deputed to punish Him by lying about eating the dirt.

In a lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam, October 11, 1974, Mayapur, Srila Prabhupada explains that while the conditioned souls may be fearful of big or threatening men, Krsna is never fearful:

    "Therefore Kunti is astonished, vimohayati, that "This is my astonishment, that how Krsna is afraid of His mother? The... Everyone is afraid of Krsna." That Krsna, Kunti admits that... Therefore it is called lila. Everything, whatever Krsna does, it is lila. Lila means He's enjoying that fearful attitude of Himself. Everyone prays Him as the Supreme Lord. He is adored, He's worshiped. Nobody can be fearful to Him. Nobody goes to Krsna: "I have come to chastise You, Krsna." That is not possible. Nobody goes to the temple with the attitude, with a stick--"Sir, I have come to chastise You." Everyone is praying. So when Krsna thinks that "I want to be chastised," at that time He become subordinate to His devotee to be chastised. This is Krsna's lila. Krsna agrees that "Nobody comes to chastise Me, all My devotees. If some devotee comes to chastise Me, I would like it." So Krsna accepts such great devotee as His mother and father, and they are able to chastise Krsna.

    So these people, these Mayavadi people, they are trying to become one with the God. But a devotee doesn't like to be one with God but better than God or higher than God. That is devotee's position. Devotee's so powerful that Krsna, a devotee can claim to become higher than God. They can produce God. Just like Yasoda-mata, Devaki. He (she) produced God. And God agrees. These Devaki and Vasudeva, they underwent severe penances, austerities. Without any conjugal union, they undergone tapasya. And Krsna came to them, that "What do you want?" "Now I, we want a son like You." So Krsna said, "Who can be equal to Me? That is not possible. I shall become your son." This is the reason that Krsna took birth as the son of Devaki, because they become... Krsna... Vasudeva and Devaki or mother Yasoda or Nanda, they became the father and mother of Krsna, and now they are chastising Krsna. It is not so easy thing. They had to undergo thousands of years in penances to take this position of chastising Krsna."

Particularly at this time of year, as we observe the Disappearance day of Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, it's interesting to consider how Srila Prabhupada had his own family pastimes of being chastised by his mother and father, and who the personalities were that served in this lifetime as the mother and father of Sri Damodar's servant, His Divine Grace. On a morning walk, October 3, 1975 in Mauritius, Srila Prabhupada gave an interesting glimpse into this aspect of his life:

    Prabhupada: … In my childhood I would not take medicine. Exactly like this, now also. (laughter) So I was given medicine by force in the spoon. Two men will catch me and my mother take me on the lap and then force and I shall take. I never agreed to take any medicine.

    Harikesa: Should we do that now, Srila Prabhupada?

    Prabhupada: Then you'll kill me.

    Harikesa: You would not go to school either.

    Prabhupada: I don't like... Yes.

    Harikesa: You were telling us last year, you wanted to play mrdanga.

    Prabhupada: Yes. [ ]

    Prabhupada: (break) ...disagreement between my father and mother. My father would give me all independence, and mother was going that "You are spoiling the child by giving too much independence."

    Harikesa: Just see.

    Prabhupada: That is going on. Just like mother Yasoda. She would chastise Krsna. But you will never find Nanda Maharaja is ever chastising. Rather, when Krsna was chastised, Nanda Maharaja would come back and take Him on the lap: "All right, I shall punish Your mother," and call him (her?), chastise. And then Krsna will stop His mouth: "No, no. Don't do this." It is natural that when the child is in the lower stage, minor stage, the mother takes more care. That is natural.


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