Glorious Lord of the Universe though he was, he sometimes danced like a child, sometimes sang loudly and behaved like a wooden doll under the control of the Gopis (cowherd women), when they encouraged him with their clapping of hands and coaxings. Commanded by them, sometimes he would bring articles like a wooden stool, a measure or a pair of wooden sandals, and sometimes he would swing up his arms bringing delight and affection to his own people and his devotees. To the people who recognize him as God, he thereby demonstrates his subservience to the will of his servants. The glorious Lord thus brought great joy to the life of people in Vraja through his child-like playful activities.
Hearing the vendor’s cry, “Oh people, purchase fruits”, Krsna rushed to her quickly with food grains in the hollow of his palms to give in exchange of fruit, desirous of getting the fruits, though he himself is the bestower of fruits of actions, prayers, etc. to all. The fruit- seller -woman filled the hollow of the palms of his hands from which grains were slipping down through the gap between them and the basket of fruits was filled with precious stones.
On one occasion, queen Rohini called (Bala-) Rāma and Kṛṣṇa, the uprooter of the Arjuna trees, who were engrossed in playing with children on the bank of the river. When both the sons, being deeply interested in play, did not come back despite her calling, Rohini sent Yasoda who was so affectionate to her child. Yasoda, with her breasts overflowing with affection for her child, repeatedly shouted for her child , who along with his elder brother was playing with the children beyond the usual time-limit. “Oh Krsna, Krsna of lotus-eyes! Child! Come up and suck at my bosom. Enough of playing. You must be feeling fatigued with hunger and exhausted with exertions in playing, my sonny.
Oh Rama! Come quickly with your younger brother. Oh child. It is very early in the morning that you had break fast.You must take food now, Oh delight of the family. Oh Son, Nanda, the head of this Vraja who is about to take his meals is waiting for you. Do come and bring joy to us both. Oh boys! You return to your houses. Your body has been covered with dust, Oh child! Go and take your bath. The star, presiding over your birth, is in the ascent. Get purified by bath, and give cows to Brahmanas. Behold your play-mates. They have been washed and well-adorned by their mothers. You also take your bath, have your meals, and after getting well-adorned, go to play.” In this way, Yasoda whose mind was bound with the ties of maternal affection, regarded, Kṛṣṇa, the crown of all as her child. She took both Rama and Kṛṣṇa by hand, and brought them to her house, and made them perform the auspicious rites.
Observing extremely ominous portents in the Bṛhad vana (Gokula), elderly Gopas (cowherds) like Nanda and others met in a conference and deliberated the measures to be adopted in the interest of Vraja. Out of them, a cowherd called Upananda, who was senior to others in wisdom and age, and who was endowed with a penetrating insight into the exigencies of the time, place and things (situation), and a well-wisher of Balarama and Kṛṣṇa advised as follows: “We, the well-wishers of Gokula should now migrate from this place; for, terrible portents of an evil nature foreboding destruction of our children are visiting this place.
This child Krsna certainly had a miraculous escape with great difficulty from the ogress (Putană), the slayer of children. It was surely through the grace of Lord Hari, that the cart did not fall on Kṛṣṇa.He was carried away to the skies, the region of birds, by a demon in the form of a whirlwind. He fell on a rock, but was protected by great gods (our deities). It is sheerly due to the protection afforded by Lord Acyuta that this child or any other boy should not die on getting in between the (Arjuna) trees (as they crashed). Before Vraja is not overtaken by any calamity indicated by these evil portents, let us repair to some other place along with our children and followers and attendants.
There is a virgin forest tract called Vṛndāvana which along with its sacred hills, pasturage, trees and plants, is suitable to our cattle and fit to be a happy settlement to our milk men, women and cattle. Let us, therefore, shift there, this very day. Get our carts and vehicles ready. Be quick (No delay please). If you so approve of it, let our wealth, the herds of cattle, go ahead in advance.” Having heard the speech of Upananda with concentration of mind (and attentively), all the cowherds of which Nanda. was the leader, approved of it, and repaired to their houses, Oh King.
Then Nanda summoned together all the Gopas and directed (spoke) as follows: “Tomorrow we shall go from this place to Vṛndāvana. Be prepared. Don’t delay.” Unanimously approving his speech, all Gopas ex claimed “That’s right! Very good”. They got their respective conveyances ready with their effects, packed and loaded. Having put into their carriages the aged persons, young children and their women-folk along with utensils and other accessories, the Gopas who were all alert carried bows already strung, in their hands.
Keeping their wealth of cattle in their front in advance, accompanied by their family priests, they started on their journey with a flourish of blowing horns and sounding trumpets on all sides. Mounted on chariots, the Gopa women of lovely complexion, with fresh application of saffron-paint to their breasts, wore strings of gold coins round their necks, and put on excellent garments, they felt supremely happy and sang the sportive acts of Krsna.So also Yasoda and Rohini occupied the same carriage, and were eager to hear the sportive acts of their dear children, shone (brightly) with Krsna and Ráma (on their laps).
Entering Vṛndāvana which was pleasant in all seasons, they, with a crescent-shaped formation of their vehicles, set up the habitation (for them and the cattle), semicircular like unto the half disc of the moon. Beholding the forest of Vṛndāvana, the Govardhana hill (nearby), and the sand-banks of the Yamuna, the hearts of Rama and Krsna surged with great joy. In this way, giving delight to the inhabitants of Vraja with their child-like sportive activities and sweet lisping, they, in due course, began to tend calves. In the vicinity of their habitation, and in the company of cowherd boys, they tended the calves, taking with them various articles of play.
Sometimes they played on flutes. Sometimes they used fruits of the Bilva tree or of the Emblic Myrobalan (amalaka) for throwing as balls; sometimes they played kicking those with their feet, making a tinkling noise of small bells (of the anklets); sometimes they imitated the cattle with two three boys as the tender of cattle, sometime they played the part of bellowing and fighting bulls. Sometimes they imitated the cries of birds like swans and peacocks. In this way they roved, simulating ordinary children.
On one occasion, while both Rama and Kṛṣṇa were pasturing the calves along with their friends, a demon came there, with the intention of killing Krsna and Balarama. On seeing him assume the form of a calf and mix with the herd of calves, he (Krsna) pointed him out to Balarama, and slowly approached the demon, posing as if he knew nothing about him. Catching hold of him by his hind legs and tail, and whirling him round, he hurled him lifeless to the top of the wood-apple (Kapittha) tree.
The huge-bodied demon (who assumed his demonic form at the time of death) fell down along with wood-apples which were made to fall (with the impact of the huge dead body). Astonished to see him fall, all the children cried out, “Bravo! Well-done!” Gods being highly delighted, showered flowers. The sole protectors of all the worlds became the two tenders of calves, and with the breakfast in their wallet, roamed about leading the calves in their charge to pasture.
On one occasion, all the cowherd boys wanted to take their respective herd of calves to water. They went to a tank of water, made the calves to drink and they also drank from it. The boys saw there standing a monstrous creature like unto a peak of a mountain sundered by (Indra’s) thunder bolt, and slipped off the mountain and they got terrified. It was verily a powerful demon called Baka who assumed the form of a stork. Swooping down suddenly, the powerful monster with a sharp beak, swallowed up Kṛṣṇa.Perceiving Krsna swallowed up by a big crane, children like Balarama (but not Balarama) became stupefied like organs and senses of the body in the absence of the vital breath.
But Baka had to vomit out Kṛṣṇa, the son of a cowherd (Nanda), but (as a matter of fact) the father of god Brahma, the creator of the world, as Kṛṣṇa burnt like fire the root of his palate. Finding him unhurt, Baka again. attacked Kṛṣṇa with his bill, to kill him. As Baka, the friend of Karsa, rushed at him, Kṛṣṇa, the protector of the righteous, caught hold of him by the two. halves of the bill, and while the children were looking on, tore him up like a blade of grass in a sportive way, and brought delight to residents of the celestial world. The denizens of heaven then showered the slayer of the demon Baka with jasmine and other flowers from the celestial garden Nandana, and praised him, expressing delight by blowing of conchs, and sounding of drums, beholding which the cowherd boys stood agape with amazement.
On finding Krsna safely released from the mouth of Baka and return to the playground, children like Balarama and others, like unto senses would do to the vital breath, embraced him and felt relieved and happy. Collecting their calves together, they returned to Vraja and reported (sang) that exploit (of Krsna). Astonished to hear it, Gopa men and women, who had an intensely loving regard for him, gazed at him with eager eyes, as if he had returned from the land of the dead. They said, “how wonderful yet pitiable that this child should have so many mortal enemies. However, it is they who suffered the evil consequences, as they spelt terror to others previously.
However terrible-looking the demons are, they dare not and cannot overpower him at all. Approaching him with a desire to kill, they themselves get destroyed like moths in fire.Oh! The words of those who are conversant with the Brahman, never prove to be untrue. What the worshipful Garga predicted has been exactly found to be true (by experience).” In this way, recounting with joy the stories of Krishna and Rama, Nanda and other cowherds passed their time happily and did not experience the agonies of samsara.In this way, they (Krsna and Rama) passed their childhood at Vraja in child-like sports such as hide-and-seek, constructing dams in play, jumping like monkeys and the like.