The Darling Of Gokula

The Darling Of Gokula

( – The Darling Of Gokula

(Automatic transcription): While introducing our last class entitled “Come Play With Me,” we mentioned that as Krishna grows up, he matures through three stages until he reaches adulthood, which is 16 years old, and he remains like that forever. The three stages, up until adulthood, are childhood (kaumara) from birth to five years of age, boyhood (pauganda) from six to ten years old, and youth (kisora) from 11 to 15 years old. Each of these stages lasts five years.

In this lecture, we will discuss in more detail the three stages of Krishna’s growing up. In researching for this particular lecture, I had to do a lot more research to fulfill my promise. I realized more than ever how much we owe to Srila Prabhupada and our previous acharyas. They have given us everything that’s meaningful in our lives – our scriptures, our way of life, the holy names of Krishna.

I came across two very beautiful verses that I would like to recite on behalf of all of us to honor our ever-well-wishers, our benefactors. Today, I read them in one of my favorite books. The translations are done by Gopinath Acharya Das, a devotee scholar from our Oxford project in ISKCON in England. These verses honor our benefactors:

“Let us bow down to them whose radiant sandals deliver those stuck in the dried mud of the ocean of life. By hearing the two syllables ‘Krishna’ from them, our hair dances as we are overcome by bliss. O Earth, for as long as sun and moon do shine, please bear that best of men, that pious person whose mind is motionless with joy as he remembers Hari, whose body bristles, whose eyes overflow with tears of bliss. Why bear the burden of those others who have resolved to come and go in this abode of death? Krishna, see the Rupa, goes for me.”

Now, let us go deeper into learning about these three stages of Krishna’s growing up. There’s a lot of nectar. At the beginning of his childhood, that very first stage of Kumara, I was reading that Krishna is very chubby, and his limbs are described as tender as blue lotuses. The edges of his eyes are white, and his small teeth are just beginning to show. The acharyas say that during this time, Mother Yashoda cannot take her eyes off her son as he sucks his big toe. While sometimes crying and sometimes laughing, he throws his legs up in the air like you see little toddlers do when they’re lying on their back.

Sri Rupa Goswami writes about this early stage of Krishna’s life again in Padavali very beautifully in text 107. He writes, “When can I see Krishna, lovely and alluring like a blooming blackwood? His lotus face pressed into his mother’s breast while he wiggles his lotus toes.” During this period of Krishna’s life, Mother Yashoda covers Krishna with protective charms. Every morning, she hangs a tiger’s claw around his neck and ties a cord around his waist and a string around his wrist. She also paints tilak marks on his forehead.

Another significant aspect of this period is Krishna’s discovery that he can have foodstuff other than his mother’s breast milk. He’s getting a little older, so he’s discovering he can have other things like butter and yogurt. The acharyas say he relishes these things with great enthusiasm, although he can’t have them all the time as he is still dependent on his mother’s breast milk. During this period, Mother Yashoda often takes Krishna in her lap and showers him with her love.

As Krishna grows older, around four or five years old, he starts walking about. At this stage, he and his friends begin to herd calves and play games in the fields just outside Gokula. Because they’re still young, they don’t go very far and remain under the watchful eyes of the older cowherd men. Krishna dresses like the cowherd men, wearing a short dhoti, carrying a stick in his hand, and wearing a peacock feather in his braided hair. The eating during this stage is done in a fun and loving way, with lots of joking. The cowherd boys and Krishna spend a lot of time joking.

Moving on to the next stage of Krishna’s growing up, his boyhood age called Poganda, which lasts from six to ten years old. In this phase of life, Krishna ventures out a little further into the many forests of Vrindavan to herd the cows with his friends. During this boyhood stage of Krishna’s life, a group of traveling minstrels, who travel and play music as a profession and to entertain people, returned to Vrindavan. They had visited Vrindavan when Krishna was just a baby and came again some years later when Krishna was a little older. They were amazed to see Krishna in this second stage.

“Oh Krishna, your abdomen is beautiful and fat. Your throat now has three lines like a conch, and your lips have stolen the redness of rubies. Like a moon on Earth, your attractive features give bliss to the eyes of your friends as they do to ours as well.” These minstrels were impressed by Krishna’s appearance.

In the middle stage of this boyhood period, Krishna becomes expert in herding cows and calves. People begin to notice his beautiful nose, neck, rounded chin, and cheeks. But the most striking component of Krishna’s beauty at this age is the sweetness that emanates from his form.

The final stage of Krishna’s boyhood period is marked by his changing mental disposition. Krishna’s friends start talking about him more, and often their senses and bodies become stunned when thinking about him. As Krishna enters his 13th year, his arms become muscular, his chest becomes broad, and his thighs become clearly masculine. At this age, Krishna begins the Rasalila with the young gopis of Vrindavan. It is described that all his bodily features become even more alluring than before. Three lines are clearly manifest on his abdomen near his navel.

Finally, when Krishna reaches the age of 16 years, he stops growing. He never ages further. The gopis speak about Krishna’s transition into youth and his ability to engage in more intimate pastimes with them. Fresh youth is considered the best age by the gopis. At this age, Krishna’s appearance changes further, his body becomes dark and glossy, and he starts dressing like a dancing actor on stage with elaborate knee-length Vaijayanti garlands made of five types of flowers. He becomes proficient in playing the flute, and it is said that some gopis believe Krishna’s ability to play the flute so well is due to him taking flute lessons from Srimati Radharani.

In conclusion, this video provides detailed insights into Krishna’s three stages of growth: childhood, boyhood, and youth. It highlights Krishna’s playful and endearing characteristics during each stage, as well as his interactions with Mother Yashoda, his friends, and the gopis of Vrindavan. The narration emphasizes the sweetness and beauty of Krishna’s form, his growing abilities, and the deep affection he evokes in others.

The Darling Of Gokula


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