Yaśodā Mātā along with svarūpa-śakti and Her expansions always serves Śrī Kṛṣṇa in the eternal world with great love. They make unlimited loveful preparations for Kṛṣṇa. How tasteful are those things? Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Lord Himself, is now very eager to relish those things. God creates and manifests so many things in this world but everything is not offered for God. People are thieves and steal and enjoy whatever they can. But no one can create anything. God creates everything. Yet people cheats others and say, “This is mine. I made this.” And they do not offer anything to God.
īśāvāsyam idam sarvaṁ
yat kiñca jagatyāṁ jagat
tena tyaktena bhuñjīthā
mā gṛdhaḥ kasya svid dhanam
“Everything animate or inanimate that is within the universe is controlled and owned by the Lord. One should therefore accept only those things necessary for himself, which are set aside as his quota, and one should not accept other things, knowing well to whom they belong.”
The Vrajavāsīs know how to use everything properly. Mundane people hide something, keeping it for themselves, or using it for their own followers, lovers, friends and relatives.
However, Yaśodā Mātā and the Vraja-devīs show how to properly serve, using everything for Kṛṣṇa.
Once, Acyutānanda Prabhu was a small baby in the house of Advaita Ācārya. Everyday his mother went in the early morning to bathe in the Gaṅgā. She had prepared many fruits and flowers for worship. She came back and performed abhiṣeka, and then offered some bhoga for the Deity. One day she was late and Acyutānanda was a little disturbed because his mother had not yet returned.
He thought, “Why is she late?”
When his mother returned she saw Acyutānanda was eating a banana and she was very upset. She said, “I had put this banana aside to offer to Thakurji. Ripe bananas are very sweet and tasty, but why have you eaten it?”
“I offered it and then ate it,” Acyutānanda said.
She said, “You don’t know any mantra or process, how could you offer it?”
Acuyatananda said, “I offered it with a mantra.”
“What mantra do you know?”
“The gaura-gopāla-mantra,” he said. “I offered this banana with that mantra, then Mahāprabhu and Kṛṣṇa Themselves came and ate it and gave Me the prasādam, and I also ate.”
“Who gave you the gaura-gopāla-mantra?” his mother asked. “Where did you get it from? Who is your Guru?”
“Guru?” Acyutānanda said. “Gaurahari is all-in-all. He is our Guru. He came to our house and I offered Him obeisance and was very dear to Him, and with His love, His power and mantra came to me.”
If anyone properly respects Vaiṣṇava ācāryas, they are very affectionate and become close to one. There is no need to write a paper, saying, “I’m yours, you are mine.”
Any dog or cat does not sign any paper or deed, saying, “He is my owner.” The owner of the dog doesn’t give his dog a mantra. How does the dog stay nearby his guardian? How does the dog follow his guardian’s footsteps? In the western countries, do rich men give mantras to the dogs? Do they make the dogs write, “I am your disciple and follower?” The man will give all his property and wealth for the service of his dog because the dog is close to him.
Does this love and affection have any value, or is only outward acceptance of a mantra or dīkṣā the most important thing? One thing is pāñcarātrika, according to formality, and one is svārasikī, natural and spontaneous. Where there is natural love and affection, there is no need of a mantra or anything else.
Śrī Gaurahari never gave anyone dīkṣā-mantras, but the whole world follows Him. Rūpa and Raghunātha did not give mantra and dīkṣā, but now still everyone follows their footsteps. Why is this? They have eternal love, and anyone who comes near them, respects and offers them obeisances, their love comes to him. When the Sun rises he doesn’t give mantra and dīkṣā to the world, but everyone takes the energy from the sun. Then the whole world is the Sun’s disciples. Without the Sun no one would have any life.
If anyone respects Guru and Vaiṣṇavas, mercy comes from them.
When you have respect and love for ordinary people, then some relationship is established, and one becomes close to them. How can one achieve this intimate friendship? There is no need of any payment—respect is enough.
Yaśodā Mātā checks on all the services going on in Nanda-bhavana. She goes to the kitchen, and then comes and out looks towards the cowshed. She goes to Kṛṣṇa’s room to see if everything is ready for His bath. She then comes back out and sees many servants carrying in many pots filled with milk.
She asks, “Where is Kanhaiyā and Dāū Bhaiyā? Why are They late?”
Someone replied, “They saw many fruits ripe up in the trees. They went to the top of a tree on very thin branches to pick the fruits.”
Yaśodā Mātā became worried. “What if They fall and break Their limbs?” She asks.
She sends people to bring Kṛṣṇa down, but He doesn’t listen. He next climbs a mango tree and plays there and collects so many mangoes, distributing them to His friends. He collects bael fruits and gives them to the monkeys. But they don’t how to open them. Kṛṣṇa breaks open the bael fruit and gives it to the monkeys. They eat it and all their hair and face becomes covered in the juice, and when it dries, it becomes stiff and spiky.
Kṛṣṇa next collects jackfruits and coconuts, and so many other fruits.
Kṛṣṇa thought, “In my pastimes as Rāma, I did not give My friends the monkeys and other animals anything nice. I could not repay them. Now everything is available in Vraja-maṇḍala. In Nanda-bhavana, there’s a big garden with so many fruits. I will give this to all My friends.”
A little later, Yaśodā Mātā sees some other servants bringing in things from the cowshed and asks about Her Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva.
“They will be late, “Yaśodā Mātā says, “They must come, bathe and take prasādam.”
They servants reply, “Now, Kṛṣṇa is feeding the small baby cows. They cannot go out in the bright and hot sun. Kṛṣṇa collects soft grass and gives to them. Their hooves and mouths are very soft. When any grass tip touches their lips, they jump and shake. Kṛṣṇa slowly gives them very soft grass, opening their mouths for them. They chew it, and become very happy.
A little later, Yaśodā Mātā asks another group coming in, “Why haven’t my sons come back yet?”
“Two young bulls were fighting very ferociously,” they replied. “They were both very angry. They were fighting, like they would not stop until one of them died or broke their horns. Kṛṣṇa went and told them, ‘Stop, stop, I will give you nice food. Don’t fight, come to one side.’ Then one went to Kṛṣṇa’s side, and another bull went to Baladeva’s side. But they were very angry, and looked at each other with red eyes. They snorted and stomped their hooves. Baladeva said, ‘Silent, be peaceful.’ And Kṛṣṇa said, ‘Calm down!’ Then they lead them to the kuṇḍa, and made them bathe. Kṛṣṇa bathed them nicely, and made their brains cool, and then said, ‘Are you better now?’”
Older bulls carry heavy pots up the hill to Nanda-bhavana in carts. Kṛṣṇa gives big baskets of fruit and says to the bull drivers, “Take them to Nanda-bhavana.”
Then Kṛṣṇa continues to restlessly play with all the sakhās.
The driver says, “Yaśodā Mātā is calling you, please come now with us.”
But Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva don’t want to give any extra weight to the bulls, and tell the drivers They are coming in soon.
The drivers unload their carts at Nanda-bhavana and meet with Yaśodā. She asks them about Kṛṣṇa and they reply, “He was loading the carts with baskets of fruit. We told Him to come with us, but He declined, and said He was just coming.”
In the kitchen room, Rohiṇī is present with the gopīs. Yaśodā Mātā went in and said to Rohiṇī Mātā, “Dear sakhī, please go and bring Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. They are busy playing and wrestling. Please bring them back quickly. They are very restless and will not listen to me. Only you can control Them. Sometimes They run and I try to catch Them but cannot.”
Rohiṇī is slimmer than Yaśodā Mātā; therefore, she has an easier time catching Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma.
When Rohiṇī Mātā found the boys and called them to come, They ran away very quickly. Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma are tricky. They run in different areas, making it impossible to catch them both.
What could Rohiṇī Mātā do? She is very clever and knows perfectly well how to catch the two restless boys.
She takes a peacock feather in her hand and calls, “Wait. I know a mantra. By waving this feather You will come to me. And if You don’t come, You will become more and more sleepy the farther You run, until You fall asleep in your tracks.”
Kṛṣṇa thinks, “I don’t want to fall asleep,” and comes straight to Rohiṇī Mātā’s arms.
Then Baladeva Prabhu thinks, “Hey! She is my mother,” and He runs and catches hold of her as well.
She knew that if she tried to run and catch Them then They would never come for breakfast, but peacock feathers have the power to attract Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa has so much love for the peacocks and their feathers. If you show a child anything he likes, he will become very happy and greedy to have it and will forget his other preoccupation.
Back in Nandagrāma, everyone is anxious for Kṛṣṇa to arrive back from the cowshed. They think, “When will Kṛṣṇa return?” Everyone is waiting. Some hold flowers, some have sandal paste; sages, priests and brāhmaṇas have water from the holy places to sprinkle on Him as He comes while reciting Vedic mantras. The mothers are holding ghee lamps waiting to perform ārati. Some hold garlands and flower petals to offer Kṛṣṇa or sprinkle on Him. Some have fruits to give Him.
Vraja-rāja Nanda Mahārāja is eagerly waiting for Kṛṣṇa to come back. Nanda Bābā has so much love for Kṛṣṇa. He feels he has not seen Kṛṣṇa for so long and feels such great separation.
When Kṛṣṇa arrives in Nanda-bhavana, with Baladeva and Rohiṇī, Yaśodā Mātā and the other mothers weep, and milk flows from their breasts. They think, “When can I take Kṛṣṇa in my lap?” Nanda Bābā embraces Kṛṣṇa, then Yaśodā Mātā picks Him up and carries Him into her room, where she gives Him her breast milk. Her heart is very soft. Only Kṛṣṇa knows how soft her heart is. For a few minutes, she takes Kṛṣṇa into a room, and gives Him breast milk. Kṛṣṇa drinks this, and He wants to take more and more, but on the other side, everyone is waiting for Him. They cannot tolerate His absence also.
Yaśodā Mātā said, “My dear son, this milk is not enough for You. I know You are very hungry and thirsty. Come with me. First You will bathe and dress, then take breakfast. All the sages, brāhmaṇas and priests are waiting for You to come, and they will bless You, then will all take their meal with You.”
“Everyone is very sad,” Yaśodā Mātā said, “They have been waiting for You, but You tarried for so long. Kiśorīji and the gopīs have made so many things, but it will become cold and dry. Why didn’t you come sooner? I have arranged everything for You.”
Kṛṣṇa replied, “I go to milk the cows every day and I give them food. The calves said that they would not stay in the cowshed. They wanted to come back inside with Me. They were running and running behind Me, and I tried to make them pacified, I put them in the cowshed from one way and they ran behind and came back another way. Also the young bulls were fighting with each other to come inside. I told them to be peaceful a little while and I would go with them to the forest but they didn’t want to wait. They said, ‘We will go with You to Your room in Nanda-bhavana. So many nice things have been arranged by Yaśodā Mātā. We will eat with You.’ ”
Yaśodā Mātā laughed and smiled. She said, “Really! But Kṛṣṇa, cows eat straw and grass. Why would they want laḍḍus, halavā, chapattis and rice? This is not their food. You can’t eat straw and grass, and they can’t eat chapatti, rice and dāl.”
“No mother,” Kṛṣṇa said. “You don’t know! They were all running behind Me. Anyhow I pacified them and said, ‘take rest for a while and I’ll return soon.’”
“Now Your body is full of dust, dirt and clay” Yaśodā Mātā said, “You must take bath and dress nicely.”
“What can I do?” Kṛṣṇa said. “When I was coming back, the sakhās were playing, swimming, jumping in Pāvana Sarovara, and collecting lotuses flowers and seeds. In all the excitement I got a little dirty.”
“Are You not hungry?” Yaśodā Mātā asked.
“How will I be hungry?” Kṛṣṇa said. “There are honey nests, and I drank this honey and ate so many fruits in the garden. I also ate lotus stems and roots. Also, many people brought gifts for Me and I ate those. I am not really hungry.”
“I don’t believe You,” Yaśodā Mātā said, “You are skinny, your belly is touching Your back.”
The Vraja-devīs are waiting for Kṛṣṇa’s darśana and they want to drink His nectarful beauty.