Childhood Lilas

Asuras Putanaa and Trinavarta 

By Kamsa’s orders, the fierce demoness Putana went about killing children in towns, villages and pasture lands. Her only occupation was to kill babies. She had the power to assume any form she liked. She entered the house of Nanda and saw the divine child in the cradle, the cruel Putana took the babe on her lap and suckled it with her breasts containing poison. The Lord squeezed her breasts by his hands and sucked through them her vital breath. She screamed , her eyes bulged out, and at last she fell dead like a great mountain.

The Gopis with Rohini and Yasoda came rushing to the spot and took up the child, which was playing fearlessly on the body of Putana who was freed from her sins as she suckled the Lord. The smoke that arose out of her burning body was fragrant, like that of sandal wood, as the touch of Sri Krishna’s body purifies even the enemy. Putana became the foster mother of the Lord, although she had the evil intention of killing the child.

One day Yasoda was fondling the child on her lap. Suddenly Krishna became very heavy like a rock. She was not able to bear the weight of the child and so she left the child on the ground and proceeded to do some household work. A demon Trinavarta by name, a servant of Kamsa, carried away the child in the form of a whirlwind at the instigation of Kamsa.

The whole Gokula was wrapt in dust and darkness for sometime. The demon reached the sky but he was not able to proceed further on account of the heaviness of Krishna. The child gripped his neck tightly and the demon was strangled. He became powerless and could not throw down the wonder-child. His eyeballs protruded. He fell breathless from the sky with all his limbs shattered on the stones below. The Gopis and the Gopas saw Krishna lying unscathed and happy on the chest of the dead Asura and became immensely happy. They restored the child to Yasoda.

Universe in Krishna's Mouth

One day Yasoda took her child on her lap and suckled Him. She kissed her son again and again. Just at that time the child yawned. When he opened His mouth, the mother saw the whole universe within it. She saw the sky, the space between the earth and the sky, the sun, the moon, the stars, the four quarters, fire, air, oceans, continents, mountains, rivers, forests, islands, and all things in the universe, animate and inanimate.

Yasoda who saw the whole universe within the mouth of her own son, shuddered and closed her eyes immediately in great fear. She was struck with wonder. She requested Lord to resume the form as her son. (Krishna similarly displayed his Universal form to Arjuna also which has been narrated in BhagavadGita as Vishwarupa darshanam.)

Naming of Krishna

Gargacharya was the family priest of the Yadus. He came to Vraja, Nanda’s Gokula, one day at the request of Vasudeva. Nanda duly received him and requested him to perform the naming ceremony of the two boys.

Garga said, “The son of Rohini will charm his friends and relatives by his virtues. He will be called by the name ‘Bala’ on account of his infinite strength. This will be second name. He will bring together all the Yadus and remove all differences, and so he will be called by the name ‘Sankarshana’. This dark complexioned child assumes the human form in every Yuga. He has already appeared in three colours, white (Sukla), red (Rakta) and yellow (Pita). Now he has got the black colour. Therefore his name will be Krishna. Your son has very many names and forms. He will bring you prosperity and delight. He will protect you against all dangers. You will thoroughly triumph over all difficulties. He will bring extreme delight to all Gopas, cows and Gokula as well. O Nanda! Your son is equal to the Lord Narayana by his Guna, form, fame, grandeur and powers.”

Yashoda ties Krishna to a stone-mortar:


One day while mother Yashoda was breast-feeding her child Krishna, she saw that the milk in the oven was boiling over. Yashoda put aside Krishna and ran to settle the boiling milk. But Krishna became angry over this action of his mother and with a piece of stone he broke a pot full of butter. He collected the spilled butter and began to eat it in a secluded place. 

When mother Yashoda came back and did not found Krishna, she started searching for him in the house. After much effort, she found Krishna standing on a wooden grinding mortar that was kept upside down, and stealing yogurt from the vessel hanging from the ceiling on a swing. Krishna was feeding this yogurt to the monkeys (as if to show his gratitude and love for them for the help they had rendered during Ramavatara). With great anger she snatched a stick and ran after Krishna. 

When Krishna saw mother Yashoda coming towards him with a stick in her hand, he immediately jumped off from the wooden mortar and ran away in fear. Mother Yashoda ran after him and after a brief spell, she caught hold of him. Catching him by the arm, Yashoda raised her stick to hit him. But looking at his charming butter-smeared face she did not have heart to do so.

She threw away the stick but in order to punish him, she decided to bind him with some rope. So she brought a rope and taking Krishna to the wooden mortar used for de-husking she began to tie him to it, but found that the rope was falling short. She gathered more rope from the house and added to it, but at the end she found the same shortage. In this way she connected all the ropes available in the house, but when the final knot was added, she found it to be still short. Exhausted, she was utterly confused and could not understand how the rope remained short.

Then Krishna appreciated the hard labor of his mother and showed his compassion for her by submitting to being bound up by the ropes. No one can bind the Supreme Lord but when a devotee surrenders to the Lord whole-heartedly, the Lord also feels transcendental pleasure by submitting Himself to the protection of the devotee. This is exemplified by Krishna’s surrender to his mother Yashoda.

After binding her son, mother Yashoda engaged herself in the household work. The story further continues in the account of the deliverance of Kubera's sons from Narada's curse. (Click on Kubera's sons in the Contents column).