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Krsna and His Friends Playing with Nanda

Vatsalya-rati is described as follows in the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (2.5.33): When a living entity is situated on the platform of vatsalya-rati, he thinks of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His childhood feature. In this feature, the Lord has to be protected by the devotee, and at this time the devotee takes the position of being worshiped by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The feelings of paternal love are called vatsalya-rati. When the devotee is situated on this platform, he wants to maintain the Lord like a son, and he desires all good fortune for the Lord. He offers blessings to the Lord by touching His feet and head. As a parent of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the devotee sometimes chastises the Lord and considers himself to be the Lord's maintainer. This transcendental sense of being the maintainer of the supreme maintainer is very pleasing both to the devotee and to the Supreme Lord.

On the platform of parental love, the qualities of santa-rasa and dasya-rasa are fully developed in another form-the sense of maintaining the Lord. Therefore on the platform of parental love there exists a combination of four transcendental qualities-santa, dasya, sakhya, and the qualities of paternity, which put the devotee in the position of a maintainer. Thus on the platform of parental love the four qualities of transcendental love are present.

Those devotees relating to Krsna in paternal love include Krsna's mother, Yasoda, his father, Maharaja Nanda, along with his aunts, uncles, and similar relatives. the The elder gopis and gopas serve Krsna as His relatives, who are also called worshipable superiors.

"When ecstatic love develops into the relationship of parenthood and becomes steadily established, the relationship is called vatsalya-rasa. The exhibition of this vatsalya-rasa standard of devotional service can be found in the dealings of Krsna with His devotees who represent themselves as superior personalities like father, mother and teacher.

Learned scholars have described the impetuses for parental love for Krsna, existing in the elderly personalities who are in relation with Him, as follows: "The Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose bodily complexion is just like a bluish, new-grown lotus flower, whose body is very delicate and whose lotus eyes are surrounded by scattered hair as black as bees, was walking on the streets of Vrndavana when mother Yasoda, the beloved wife of Nanda Maharaja, saw Him. Immediately the milk began to flow from her breasts, soaking her body." Some specific provocations for parental love of Krsna are listed as His blackish bodily hue, which is very attractive and pleasing to see, His all-auspicious bodily features, His mildness, His sweet words, His simplicity, His shyness, His humility, His constant readiness to offer respect to the elderly and His charity. All of these qualities are considered ecstatic provocations for parental love.

In Srimad-Bhagavatam, Tenth Canto, Eighth Chapter, verse 45, it is stated by Sukadeva Gosvami that mother Yasoda accepted Lord Krsna as her son, although He is accepted in the Vedas as the King of heaven, in the Upanisads as the impersonal Brahman, in philosophy as the supreme male, by the yogis as the Supersoul and by the devotees as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Once mother Yasoda addressed one of her friends in this way: "Nanda Maharaja, the leader of the cowherd men, worshiped Lord Visnu, along with me, and as a result of this worship, Krsna has been saved from the clutches of Putana and other demons. The twin arjuna trees were, of course, broken due to a strong wind, and although Krsna appeared to have lifted Govardhana Hill along with Balarama, I think that Nanda Maharaja actually held the mountain. Otherwise how could it have been possible for a little boy to lift such a great hill?" This is another example of ecstasy in parental love. This kind of parental love is generated in a devotee out of his conviction, in love, that he himself is superior to Krsna and that without being taken care of by such a devotee Krsna could not possibly live. One devotee therefore prayed to the parents of Lord Krsna as follows: "Let me take shelter of the elderly parental devotees of Lord Krsna. They are always anxious to serve Krsna and to maintain Him, and they are always so kind to Him. Let us offer our respectful obeisances unto them for being so kind to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the parent of the whole universe!"

There is a similar prayer by a brahmana who says, "Let others worship the Vedas and the Upanisads, and let others worship the Mahabharata if they are afraid of material existence and want to become liberated from that condition. But as far as I am concerned, I wish only to worship Maharaja Nanda, because the supreme absolute Personality of Godhead, Krsna, is crawling in his courtyard as his own child."

Following is a list of respectful personalities who enjoy parental affection toward Krsna: (1) mother Yasoda, the Queen of Vraja, (2) Maharaja Nanda, the King of Vraja, (3) mother Rohini, the mother of Balarama, (4) all the elderly gopis whose sons were taken away by Lord Brahma, (5) Devaki, the wife of Vasudeva, (6) the other fifteen wives of Vasudeva, (7) Kunti, the mother of Arjuna, (8) Vasudeva, the real father of Krsna and (9) Sandipani Muni, Krsna's teacher. All these are considered respectable elderly personalities with parental love for Krsna. This list is in order of superior importance, and thus we can see that mother Yasoda and Maharaja Nanda are considered to be the supermost of all elderly personalities."

Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 43

Mother Yasoda and Father Nanda

"In Srimad-Bhagavatam, Tenth Canto, Ninth Chapter, verse 3, Sukadeva Gosvami gives Maharaja Pariksit a description of the form and beauty of mother Yasoda. He says, "My dear King, the wide hips of mother Yasoda were surrounded by silk and linen clothes, and her breasts were flowing with milk because of her affection. When she was churning butter and tightly holding the rope, the bangles on her hands and the earrings on her ears were moving, and from the nice decoration in her hair the flowers were slackening and falling down. Due to her excessive labor, there were drops of perspiration on her face."

There is another description of mother Yasoda in a devotee's prayer: "Let me be given protection by mother Yasoda, whose curly hairs are bound with thread, whose hair is very brightly beautified by the vermilion placed in the part and whose bodily frame derides all her ornaments. Her eyes are always engaged in seeing the face of Krsna, and thus they are always filled with tears. Her complexion, which resembles the bluish lotus flower, is enhanced in beauty by her dressing herself with many colorful garments. Let her merciful glance fall on all of us so that we may be protected from the clutches of maya and smoothly progress in our devotional service!"

There is the following description of mother Yasoda's affection for Krsna. After rising early in the morning, mother Yasoda first of all offered her breast milk to Krsna, and then she began to chant various mantras for His protection. Then she would decorate His forehead very nicely and bind His arms with protective talismans. By all of these activities, it is definitely understood that she is the emblem of all maternal affection for Krsna.

The description of Nanda Maharaja's bodily features is as follows. The hairs on his head are generally black, but some of them are gray. His garments are of greenish color, like the new-grown leaves of a banyan tree. His belly is fatty, his complexion is exactly like the full moon, and he has a beautiful mustache. When Krsna was a baby, one day He was walking in the courtyard, capturing the finger of His father, and because He could not walk steadily He appeared to be almost falling down. While Nanda Maharaja was giving protection to His transcendental son in this way, all of a sudden there were drops of tears in his eyes, and he became overwhelmed with joy. Let us all offer our respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of King Nanda!

....When Nanda Maharaja saw the beauty of child Krsna, with tiger nails on His chest, a complexion like the new-grown tamala tree, beautifully decorated tilaka made with cow's urine, arm decorations of nice silk thread, and silk clothes tied around His waist--when Nanda Maharaja saw his child like this, he never became satiated by the child's beauty."

Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 43
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.

Worshipable Superiors