Chapter XXXVI - 132 Home | Index | Previous | Next

"On the ever-fresh, ever-spring sands of the cool Yamuna, He played about gracefully and gladly, regardless of night and day, with His friends, the calves and the cowherd boys. The parents had to send servants to seek them out and bring Him with His followers, willy nilly, to their home."

"As the days passed thus at home and outside, He grew up into a charming boy. Though the parents did not want Him to, He unleashed the cows and calves of the stall, drove them along the route taken by the village cattle, and put them too, on the common road to the verdant pasture ahead. Like the other boys, He had a stick leaning on His shoulder, a length of cloth wound round His head. Walking along with supreme self-confidence He appeared as magnificent as a royal lion cub."

"He played in fun with His companions; He sang aloud the sweetest tunes, with the left palm covering the left ear. At this, the cows which were voraciously munching the green grass would stop as if too entranced to continue; they stared delightedly, listening to the divine melody. They stood, with ears alert, lest they miss the message calling them to bliss; with eyes half-closed, as if they were immersed in the depths of Dhyana! The calves that had nuzzled at the udders eager to have their fill, stood still, drinking instead the divine strains of Krishna's song. It was a thrilling scene, for all who witnessed it."

"O king! I cannot tell you the number or nature of the Leelas of Gopala. All were wondrous and awe-inspiring, all were full of Ananda, conferring Ananda. Sometimes, He would challenge His comrades and swing round the stick in His hand, so fast that the eye could see no stick! At this, the comrades, gathered around Him and prayed that they may be taught how to turn it so. For Him who turns the universe with all its contents so fast around, turning a stick is no special accomplishment; it is a feat that no teaching can impart. The poor fellows did not grasp this reality behind their playmate."

"Often-times, He played on trees, the game of the hunt for the thief! When the pursuers climbed behind Him, He took refuge on the topmost branch, a branch so thin and weak that it will swing when a squirrel walks on it! He could not be captured at all! Yes, indeed! How can He be caught by one and all? Only the pure of heart can capture Him."

"To all appearance, Gopala will be with His comrades, in the woods and groves; He will be playing with them, making them happy with many a practical joke and hilarious game; He will move with them, His hands placed endearingly on their shoulders; but, in a moment, he will disappear and be away from sight. Meanwhile, He would confront His companions in a clever disguise, so perfect that they will deem Him to be a stranger, with whom they should not talk. But, He will surprise them with a burst of laughter and the exclamation, 'It is I, It is I, you couldn't discover Me'. This threw the boys into amazement, or sometimes, even fright."

"The day passed thus; when dusk fell, He returned to the village with His friends, quite innocently, as if nothing had happened to disturb His equanimity. On certain days, the mother insisted that He should stay at home and not go into the pastoral groves. Those days, the cowherd boys and the cows and calves walked heavy with grief, slowly to the grove; they lay under the trees listless and alone, not caring to eat or drink, but, with eyes longing for the arrival of Ananda-Krishna, who alone could put life into them."