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Sri Nandotsava

[On this most excellent and auspicious day of Nanda Mahotsava, a celebration for the Appearance of Sri Krishna, under the guidance and by the unlimited and causeless mercy of Guru and Gauranga, we are allowed the opportunity to present this nectarean hari-katha spoken by the sweet, lotus lips of our beloved Srila Gurudeva, Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Vana Gosvami Maharaja on September 6 of 2015, in Russia, during the 18th year of his preaching mission.]

Nanda Mahotsava Celebrations

Yesterday, we held a very nice celebration for Sri Krishna’s Janmashtami (Appearance Day), and today is also a super excellent and auspicious day as it is Nanda Mahotsava (a festival celebrating the Appearance of Nanda Maharaja’s son). Since Krishna appeared in the house of Nanda Maharaja, on this day, Nanda held a great festival and offered many donations to all of the Vrajavasis.

nanda ke ānanda bhayo jaya kanhaiyā lāl kī hāthī dīno ghoḍā dīno aur dīnī pālakī

Nanda Ke Ananda Bhayo, traditional Vraja song

[Nanda Maharaja is embedded in bliss! All glories to the darling Kanhaiya! In happiness, Nanda Maharaja gave elephants, horses and palanquins. All glories to the darling Kanhaiya! ]

The Vrajavasis sing this song describing Krishna as the embodiment of divine bliss. Now, divine bliss has arrived in the house of Nanda Maharaja, causing everyone’s heart to be completely overjoyed with transcendental happiness; Krishna is known as ananda-kanda (the source of transcendental bliss), Krishnachandra.

I mentioned yesterday how when transcendental bliss manifests in the heart of someone, jada-ananda (material bliss) automatically disappears. In this material world, most people want material bliss. What is this material bliss?

Some examples of jada-ananda include - bhojana-ananda (desire to satisfy the senses of the belly by eating), some develop an intense greed for eating various types of delectable foods. Others may have shayana-ananda (desire to sleep on a soft bed). Most want a wife or husband, wealth, house, car, credit cards or many different kinds of material desires. However, when transcendental bliss manifests, meaning when Krishna appears in one’s heart, they will lose all sorts of aspirations for material bliss.

In Vrindavana, all of the residents believe Krishna is not only the son of Nanda Baba and Mother Yashoda, but their son also. This is why all of them are submerged in aprakrita-ananda, divine bliss. Nanda and Yashoda are especially absorbed in the bliss of Sri Krishna. Feeling an abundance of joy and generosity on this day, Nanda Maharaja distributed all kinds of donations to the brahmanas (priests) and also to many others.

‘Hāthī dīno ghoḍā dīno aur dīnī pālakī’ — Nanda Maharaja offered palanquins as gifts to the elderly so they can sit and be comfortably carried as they travel. To the young girls and boys, he gave very strong horses for them to ride on nicely. Anyone middle-aged received elephants as a donation, so they could also travel. Hence, three kinds of donees – old, middle-aged and young people. In this manner, Nanda Maharaja distributed donations to everyone. There were also many kinds of delicious food preparations gifted - laddus, kachoris, etc. Young people, who were more able to chew, received laddus and kachoris to eat. The elders, with less ability to bite, were given sweet liquids like rasa-malai and other drinks. Many sweets were distributed and all of the Vrajavasis were very pleased.

As sung in these verses:

nanda ke ānanda bhayo jaya kanhaiyā lāl kī hāthī dīno ghoḍā dīno aur dīnī pālakī

In Vraja, everyone was so happy. Yogamaya (Vrinda-devi) beautifully decorated everything in Vrindavana, all the trees were ornamented very nicely with blossomed flowers and ripened fruits.

yamunā-puline, kadamba-vana meń, chavi kaun dekhi āja

śyāma baḿśīdhārī, maṇi-mañcopari, kare līlā rasarāja

kṛṣṇa-keli sudhā-prasravana

aṣṭa-dalopari, śrī rādhā śrī hari, aṣṭa-sakhī parijana

sugīta-nartana, saba sakhī-jaṇa, sevita yugala-dhane

kṛṣṇa-līlā lakhi, prakṛti-sundarī, bikharāye śobhā vane

gṛha na jāuń, vane meń praveśuń, līlā-rasa ke tare

tyāgi kula-lāja, bhajo vraja-rāja, vinoda binatī kare

radhe radhe radhe jay jay jay śrī radhe

Yamuna Puline Kadamba Vana Men

[O sakhi! My dear girlfriend! What have I seen today? In a kadamba grove on the banks of the Yamuna, a beautiful blackish boy holding a long flute (vamshi) is seated upon a throne of jewels, performing His pastimes as the King of all transcendental mellows!

Situated upon the eight petals of the jewelled altar is Sri Radha and Sri Hari surrounded by Their attendants the eight chief gopis. There Krishna performs His amorous pastimes which are just like a waterfall of nectar.

By singing sweet songs and by dancing nicely, all the gopis satisfy the treasured Divine Couple. Thus I am beholding Krishna’s pastimes with His beautiful female consorts expanding throughout the splendorous forest.

For the sake of the mellows of such pastimes, I will not go to my home, but I will instead enter into the forest. Renouncing all shyness due to fear of family members, just worship the Lord of Vraja. This is the humble submission of Bhaktivinoda.]

In Nanda-bhavana, Nanda Maharaja very nicely celebrated the birth of his son, and all the Vrajavasis were completely absorbed in Krishna’s divine love. Nanda Maharaja held a very beautiful celebration and Yogamaya (Vrinda-devi) perfectly decorated the atmosphere with flowers, fruits, leaves and trees. Everything was beautifully adorned. She arranged every flower to bloom causing so much pollen to cover the air; it appeared as if the entire sky became coloured, a variety of different coloured pollen created the appearance of a painted sky. Since ananda-kanda Krishna (the embodiment of divine bliss) was present, everyone’s heart was completely immersed. All of the demigods and demigoddesses arrived in Vrindavana in the form of human beings to take darshana of Sri Krishna. Lord Shiva came also.

Appearance of Lord Shiva at Nanda-bhavana

Yet, Shivaji appeared like a yogi (yoga practitioner), with dreadlocks, a snake around his neck and different coloured pieces of cloth. Shivaji was thinking, “My Lord Krishna performs sweet lilas (pastimes) in Vraja, especially His childhood pastimes. I must see for myself how sweet He is!” Shivaji arrived playing his damaru (drum), with his trishula (trident) in his other hand. As he entered the house of Nanda Maharaja, he was singing, “alakha niranjana, alakha niranjana, alakha niranjana…” Krishna was inside a room and thought, “O, My pure devotee Shivaji has come, I have to give darshana to him.” For this reason, Krishna began crying. Mother Yashoda thought, “O, perhaps this yogi knows some mystic powers and is disturbing the mind of my son.” Afraid of the yogi Shivaji, Mother Yashoda did not want to give him Krishna’s darshana.

Still, Shivaji thought, “I have to take His darshana!” He began to play the damaru again and once more, baby Krishna began crying. The Lord was thinking, “I have to give darshana and bless him.” Then, all of the sakhis (girl-friends) told Mother Yashoda, “Oh, this yogi has come, he must give darshana to your son Krishna.” Nevertheless, Yashoda-maiya insisted on not giving him darshana of her baby Krishna. Vatsalya-bhava (parental mood) was rising in the heart of Mother Yashoda. However, Krishna kept on weeping and weeping until finally, Mother Yashoda covered Krishna with a cloth, put kajala (black eye-cosmetic) on His forehead and other ornaments and brought Him out.

The split second Mother Yashoda showed baby Krishna to Shivaji, Shivaji became so absorbed in a transcendental trance. Finally, Krishna stopped crying and then Mother Yashoda instructed, “Yogi, you can stay very close to our village, whenever my son cries, you can come and give darshana to Him.” Following her orders, Lord Shiva stayed in one place very close to Nandagaon, where he could easily show up as needed.

Arrival of Putana in Vraja

In this way, Krishna performed many sweet lilas in Nandagaon. Brahma, Narada, Indra, all the demigods and demigoddesses arrived at Vraja to take darshana of Govinda. Meanwhile, in Mathura, Kamsa was very afraid of Lord Vishnu’s advent. One day, by Yogamaya’s power, an aerial voice manifested and told Kamsa, “Your killer, Krishna, has now taken birth in Vraja.” Now in great fear, Kamsa was always contemplating, “How will I kill this boy?”

Kamsa summoned his asuras (demons); Putana, Aghasura, Bakasura and Trinavarta, and instructed all of them to kill Krishna. Putana spoke up first, “I can kill Krishna for you with my mystic powers!” Kamsa sarcastically replied, “How will they possibly let you in Vraja? Your form is so beautiful and attractive, your legs are like elephant legs, your nose is ten metres long and your hair is so attractive, like the flames of a fire. How will the Vrajavasis possibly allow you to enter Vraja?” “Don’t worry! I have mystic powers. Without going to a beauty parlour, I can manifest a nice and beautiful young form,” answered Putana.

If you do not have an attractive form, you can always visit a beauty salon and they will make you up so nicely, no one will recognize you. With great confidence, Putana assured Kamsa, “Without going to a beauty parlour, I can manifest very nice curly hair extending below my knees. Without an operation, I can manifest the beautiful nose of a young lady, as like Lakshmi in Vaikuntha.” Accordingly, she manifested the very enticing form of a young damsel. She then smeared her breasts with poison. Putana was convinced she could simply breastfeed baby Krishna her poison and He would die. Arrogantly, Putana arrived in Vraja as a very attractive young lady, similar to a queen of Vaikuntha.

At that time, Vrajavasis were celebrating the first six days of Krishna’s life. According to Vedic culture, on the sixth day of a new-born baby, demigods and demigoddesses are worshipped. A nice celebration was taking place and all of the Vrajavasis were very happy; the entire day and night all were coming to take govinda-darshana and there was no one really checking who was arriving or leaving Vraja. Putana thought, “Oh, this is a very nice place, no one is guarding, there is no supervisor and no one can stop me.” Unlike an airport where there are advanced security systems with x-rays to scan your entire body, even detecting metal plates in your bones, at that time in Vraja, there was no x-ray or security. She thought anyone could seemingly enter and take darshana of Govinda. But Yogamaya keeps a safeguard and double-checks anyone attempting to enter Vraja; if you are not performing bhajana and sadhana (spiritual practices), you will not be allowed to enter Vraja.

Once, Kamsa tried to enter Vraja, however, Yogamaya picked him up and placed him in the water of one pond. Subsequently, Kamsa was transformed into a very old lady with sagging cheeks, no teeth, a patch of white hair on the back of her skull, sinking eyes and a very long nose. Noticing the older woman, all of the Vrajavasis asked, “Hey, where have you come from?” Somewhat perplexed, the elder woman was stunned and did not know how to answer. In response, all the young ladies of Vraja began to beat her. Then, Paurnamasi (Yogamaya) caught her once more and again placed her in the waters of the pond, at once returning Kamsa back to his original handsome form. Afterward, he went back to Mathura and never returned to Vrindavana. As I mentioned, unqualified people can never enter Vraja, they are always checked at the door by Yogamaya.

Now a question may arise: how did Putana enter Vraja? Since Yogamaya arranges everything in krishna-lila, it was actually Yogamaya who permitted Putana to enter. Krishna was thinking, “I will perform the sweet pastime of killing the demon Putana.” According to her concocted plan, in the form of a very beautiful young lady, she adopted a parental mood and attempted to breastfeed Krishna snake poison from her breast. Therefore, Yogamaya only allowed Putana to enter Vraja to fulfil Krishna’s desire.

aho bakī yaṁ stana-kāla-kūṭaṁ

jighāṁsayāpāyayad apy asādhvī

lebhe gatiṁ dhātry-ucitāṁ tato ’nyaṁ

kaṁ vā dayāluṁ śaraṇaṁ vrajema

Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.2.23)

[Alas, how shall I take shelter of one more merciful than He who granted the position of mother to a she-demon [Putana] although she was unfaithful and she prepared deadly poison to be sucked from her breast?]

Shukadeva Gosvamipada told Pariksit Maharaja, “Who does not want shelter on the lotus feet of Sri Krishna, the embodiment of divine love?”

‘Aho bakī yaṁ stana-kāla-kūṭaṁ. The sister of Bakasura, Putana, pretended to have matri-bhava (motherly love), except that her intentions were actually to kill Krishna.

aho bakī yaṁ stana-kāla-kūṭaṁ

jighāṁsayāpāyayad apy asādhvī

lebhe gatiṁ dhātry-ucitāṁ tato ’nyaṁ

kaṁ vā dayāluṁ śaraṇaṁ vrajema

Putana manifested the form of a very young and attractive damsel, like a queen of Vaikuntha. With their variety of mystic powers, demons can easily manifest very nice long eyes, reaching the ears like the form of a fish. Just as an artist would paint, she had elongated eyes, eyebrows in the shape of bows and a beautifully straight nose and long curly hair reaching below the knees. She resembled a majestic being with a glowing face and teeth shining as bright as the luminous moon. Her attractive lips were reddish in colour and her gums resembled the colour of pomegranate. She even manifested an attractive throat, shaped like a conch, and lovely cheeks, shining like two rasagullas.

In such a manner, Putana manifested into the beautiful form of a young woman, mirroring that of a demigoddess. She wore a very nice and elegant silken sari and in her hand, she held a small bag. Perhaps, there was no money in the bag, it could have been empty. (Gurudeva laughs) Actually, some people do state, “I’m very rich”, yet there is nothing inside their bags. So, Putana had a slender waist and big chest with splendid legs and feet. Prior to this, her feet were similar to those of an elephant, however, now they were very attractive. In this form, she walked very nicely, chewing one betel nut while holding a gorgeous lotus flower in one hand. She was completely intoxicated with her own madonmadati-yauvane (youthful form). Similarly, we hear this in the song about Srimati Radhika:

madonmadāti-yauvane pramoda-māna-maṇḍite

priyānurāga-rañjite kalā-vilāsa-paṇḍite

ananya-dhanya-kuñja-rājya-kāma keli-kovide

kadā kariṣyasīha māṁ kṛpā-kaṭākṣa-bhājanam

Sri Sri Radha-kripa-kataksha-stava-raja (5)

[O You who are intoxicated by Your youthfulness, who are decorated with the delightful ornament of sulky anger, who revels in Your lover’s attachment to You, and who are supremely proficient in the art of loving affairs. O You who are the most learned in knowledge of loving sports within the realm of Your confidential, auspicious forest groves, when will You make me the recipient of Your merciful sidelong glance?]

Srimati Radhika becomes completely intoxicated with Her youthful form and does not regard others.

Similarly absorbed in her beauty, Putana did not care about anyone else while thinking, “I am now Miss Universe.” Previously no one would even look her way, but now everyone, intoxicated by her beauty, was saying, “Look how beautiful she is!” Gently rotating a lotus flower in her hand, she strolled around in a carefree way while thinking, “Everything else is useless.” After witnessing her beauty, all of the villagers were surprised. The Vrajavasis asked, “Who is this coming?” Some Vrajavasis carrying water pots on their heads stopped to get a glimpse of the very beautiful form of Putana. As one, two, then three girls inattentively stopped, they crashed into each other and all of their pots broke as they fell on the floor. Captivated by Putana’s gorgeous form, everyone was drawn to stare at her beauty and were in awe of the effulgence emanating from her attire. All of the Vrajavasis were thinking, “Perhaps Lakshmi-Devi has arrived from Vaikuntha.” As a result, no one bothered to question her or inquire who she was or where she had come from. She very easily strolled directly into the house of Nanda Maharaja. At that moment, Mother Yashoda placed baby Krishna in a small palanquin and entered a separate room to finish some work. Everything was perfectly arranged by Yogamaya, it was she who guided Putana to Vraja. How else could Putana possibly enter Vraja? Only by Yogamaya’s guidance and permission could she be allowed entry.

Putana is quite ugly and pungent odours poured from her body because she killed new-born babies and drank their blood. In Srimad-Bhagavatam, Shukadeva Gosvami explains, “pūtanā bāla-ghātinī śiśūṁś cacāra nighnantī — Putana killed small babies and sucked their blood, that is why her body emanates this rancid smell.” One’s body smell stems from the food that one eats; if you eat bad food, a bad smell will come. For example, if you consume onion, garlic, meat, fish or eggs, a foul scent transpires from your body. Instead, if you only eat sweet sattvika-prasada (food in the mode of goodness and offered to the Lord), then a sweet fragrance will come from your body. Do you understand? Every day, you must only eat prasada without garlic or onions. Then, our body will have a very sweet scent. Is this true or not? This is the truth. As I said, without applying any perfume, a sweet fragrance will come out of your body. When all you eat is maha-prasada (the remnants of food offered to the deity), there will no longer be the need to put any kind of perfume. We must eat only maha-prasada every day,

mahā-prasāde govinde

nāma-brahmaṇi vaiṣṇave

svalpa-puṇyavatāḿ rājan

viśvāso naiva jāyate

Skanda Purana (Utkala-khanda)

[Those who have very few pious activities to their credit can never develop faith in maha-prasada, in Sri Govinda, in the holy name of the Lord, or the Vaishnavas.]

Maha-prasada is very powerful. Due to Putana’s consumption of bad things, a very foul smell emanated from her body, although, with her mystic powers, she covered all of these bad qualities. Externally, Putana looked very attractive, yet, internally she was full of many unpleasant things. The Sanskrit name Putana consists of two words—‘puta’ and ‘na’puta means ‘pure’ and na means ‘not’. Putana literally means ‘not pure’. She is apavitra (impure) as amongst other sinful activities, she drinks the blood of small babies and she consumes onion, garlic, and eats all other sorts of stupid, nonsensical things.

Now, Putana directly entered Krishna’s room where He was sleeping on a very soft, plush palanquin. By Yogamaya’s arrangement, at that moment, Mother Yashoda and Rohini-devi were not in the same room. Newborn Krishna was now alone with the demon Putana and she thought, “This is a great opportunity, I have to kill Krishna now.” When she had entered the room, Krishna closed His eyes and contemplated, “How will I kill Putana?” He then recalled the pastimes of Bali Maharaja’s daughter, Ratnavali.

Putana’s Previous Life & Ratnavali’s Desire

In Srimad-Bhagavatam, Shukadeva Gosvamipada explains, at the very moment Bali Maharaja offered a donation to the brahmanas, Lord Vamanadeva appeared, and Bali Maharaja’s daughter, Ratnavali, became so attracted by His beautiful form. Upon seeing Lord Vamanadeva’s beauty, Ratnavali thought, “Oh, what a splendid and attractive form, I must feed Him my breast milk.”

When you see a cute infant, a parental mood automatically enters your heart. Especially women, if they see a small baby, they instinctively desire to embrace and kiss him or her. Likewise, when Ratnavali noticed Vamanadeva Bhagavan, she became very attracted to Him and thought, “I must breastfeed Him.” But afterwards, when Lord Vamanadeva took all the property of her father Bali Maharaja, Ratnavali became very upset. At that point she said, “This boy is a big cheater. He fooled my father by showing His small feet and ended up taking all of his property. One day, I have to kill this boy by putting poison on my breast and breastfeeding Him.” Lord Vamanadeva, who is aware of everything, thought to Himself, “She cannot kill Me because I am Bhagavan. Still, I have to fulfil Ratnavali’s desire of Me sucking her breast.”

For this reason, in krishna-lila when Ratnavali appeared in the form of Putana, Krishna decided, “I have to deliver Putana from this demon body. Putana has now arrived in My Vraja disguised in a vatsalya-bhava (parental mood) form.” Enacting the role of a mother, she placed Krishna on her lap and attempted to breastfeed Him. At that time, Krishna was merely a six day old baby, He had yet to develop any teeth, He would suck with His soft gums like the mouth of a fish. If you put your finger in a fish’s mouth, it closes it and begins to suck, much like a newborn. Hence, baby Krishna’s sweet lotus mouth is like the mouth of a fish.

However, Putana force-fed Krishna Her breast milk, which was full of poison. Initially, Krishna did not want to suck the breast of Putana. Finally, He simply touched her breast and began to suck out her life-air and it appeared as if Putana was suffering from a serious heart attack. During a heart attack, a person begins to sweat so much at first. Later, it becomes very difficult for one to breathe and so much chest pain begins to grow. So, just by placing His soft lips on her, Putana started to feel the same symptoms as someone who was having this kind of heart attack.

Putana’s Demise at the Hands of Baby Krishna

Putana’s arms possess the strength of ten thousand elephants, yet now, she could not remove a newborn Krishna from her breast. Despite her feeble efforts, He kept Himself latched on, sucking out her life-air. Eventually, she lamented, “What will I do now?” There was so much sweat pouring out of her body and a great amount of pain in her heart. Unable to maintain her mystic form, she reverted to her original form, putana-sharira, (Putana with a gigantic body) with very wide legs, like elephant legs. If you went to the market, you would most certainly not find any shoes in her size. The shoe-salesman would not even be able to measure her foot; it would be impossible. (Gurudeva laughs) So all the despicable features of her original form now reappeared.

At that moment she thought, “I must return to Mathura, there, Kamsa and all of his associates will force Krishna off my breast.” She then began flying in the sky and as she flew off, a big storm appeared. As occurs during a large storm, all the branches of the trees in the area began strongly swinging. The trees were thinking, “What is happening?” During the storm, Putana was flying over the sky and on her chest, Krishna was still latched on. All of the Vrajavasis began frantically running and looking towards Putana, while asking, “Where’s Krishna?” Eventually, someone noticed and exclaimed, “He is on the chest of Putana!”

Just as Putana entered Mathura, her very large body fell from the sky and into the garden of Kamsa, resulting in the destruction of all the trees in Kamsa’s garden, much like the chaos caused by an aeroplane crash. Upon landing, Putana left her body. After arriving at the scene, all the Vrajavasis saw the gigantic, deceased body of Putana and they quickly realised that Krishna was safe. He was calmly and quietly sitting on Putana’s chest. Putana’s body was rather large, requiring them to use a ladder to reach the top, there were no elevators back then. (Gurudeva laughs) Before completely fainting, Mother Yashoda yelled, “Where’s my lala (dear son)?” When the Vrajavasis brought Krishna from the chest of Putana and offered Him to Mother Yashoda, she then returned to consciousness.

The Vrajavasis decided they had to burn Putana’s body. Srimad-Bhagavatam describes the process of how they handled the burning of her gigantic body. With axes, they cut her body into pieces and threw them in the fire. To everyone’s astonishment, something unusual occurred; when they placed her body in the fire, a very sweet fragrance appeared, resembling that of a very sweet incense, like chandana (sandalwood paste). How could this be possible? Her entire life she drank blood and ate garlic and other stupid things. How could there be such a pleasant odour coming from her body? If you consume onion or garlic and throw your body into the fire, a bad smell will surely come. (Gurudeva laughs) However, if you only eat maha-prasada and your body were to be placed in the fire, a sweet fragrance would spread. Which do you desire? Maha-prasada or onion and garlic? After our deaths, we will not stick around to realise the smells coming out of our bodies. So, why did such a pleasant smell, like chandana or camphor, come from Putana’s burning body? The reason is that Krishna touched her body with His lotus mouth, instantly purifying it and resulting in this sweet fragrance when burned. This is true. The moment Krishna touches someone’s body, it will have a sweet smell and all the bad things will instantly go away. Srimad-Bhagavatam discusses these things, why a sweet smell came from Putana’s body when they burned it.

Actually, Krishna delivered Putana to Goloka for her to become a maidservant of Mother Yashoda. Shukadeva Gosvamipada has very nicely glorified this putana-vadha-lila (deliverance of Putana) and explained one essential teaching behind this lila; regardless of circumstance, if you surrender to Krishna, He will accept you. Krishna is incredibly merciful and wondrous, He never looks at anyone’s faults. In her life, Putana never performed any bhajana and sadhana. Instead, she disguised herself in a form with matri-bhava and attempted to kill Krishna. Despite all of this, Krishna still accepted and delivered her.

Bolo Vrindavana Bihari Lala ki jaya!

(Jaya jaya Sri Radhe!)

Date: 6 September 2015 Location: Russia


Transcriber: Unknown

First Editor: Unknown

Second Editor: Sanatanа dasа (USA)

Integrity Check: Divya-premamayi dasi (Slovakia)

Proofreaders: Damodarа dasа (UK), Chandrika dasi (UK)

Image: Navina-krishna dasa (Holland)

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