Understanding the Tenth Canto Chronology

When Śukadeva Gosvāmī finished describing the dynasty of Yadu, as well as the dynasties of the moon-god and sun-god, Mahārāja Parīkṣit requested him to describe Lord Kṛṣṇa, who appeared with Baladeva in the Yadu dynasty, and how Kṛṣṇa performed His activities within this world. Kṛṣṇa is transcendental, the King said, and therefore to understand His activities is the occupation of liberated persons. Hearing of kṛṣṇa-līlā is the boat by which to achieve the ultimate goal of life. Except for an animal killer or one who is following a policy of suicide, every intelligent person must strive to understand Kṛṣṇa and His activities.

Kṛṣṇa was the only worshipable Deity for the Pāṇḍavas. When Mahārāja Parīkṣit was in the womb of his mother, Uttarā, Kṛṣṇa saved him from the attack of the brahma-śastra. Now Mahārāja Parīkṣit asked Śukadeva Gosvāmī how His Lordship Baladeva, the son of Rohiṇī, could have appeared in the womb of Devakī. Why did Kṛṣṇa transfer Himself from Mathurā to Vṛndāvana, King Parīkṣit asked, and how did He live there with His family members? What did Kṛṣṇa do in Mathurā and Vṛndāvana, and why did He kill His maternal uncle Kaṁsa? For how many years did Kṛṣṇa reside in Dvārakā, and how many queens did He have? 

Mahārāja Parīkṣit asked Śukadeva Gosvāmī all these questions. He also requested Śukadeva Gosvāmī to describe other activities of Kṛṣṇa about which he could not inquire.

When Śukadeva Gosvāmī began to speak about Kṛṣṇa consciousness, Mahārāja Parīkṣit forgot the fatigue brought about by his fasting. Enthusiastic to describe Kṛṣṇa, Śukadeva Gosvāmī said, “Like the waters of the Ganges, descriptions of the activities of Kṛṣṇa can purify the entire universe. The speaker, the inquirer and the audience all become purified.”

Mother earth assumed the shape of a cow and approached Lord Brahma for relief. Brahma, accompanied by Lord Shiva and other demigods, offered prayers to please Lord Vishnu, who informed Brahma that He would appear on the surface of the earth to mitigate the burden created by the demons.

After marrying Devaki, Vasudeva was returning home with her on a chariot driven by Kamsa, her brother. When Kamsa heard an ominous voice, he was ready to kill Devaki, but Vasudeva diplomatically began to instruct him not to.

Because Kamsa was not satisfied with Vasudeva’s instructions, Vasudeva devised a plan. He offered to bring Kasa all of Devak’s children so that Kamsa could kill them, but Kasa refused and instead arrested and imprisoned both Devak and Vasudeva and killed six of their sons, one after another.

Krsna has threefold pastimes – the Vraja-lll, Mthura-lll and Dvrak-lll. In the Tenth Canto of rmad-Bhgavatam there are ninety chapters which describe all these lilas, including Krsna’s dancing with the gops, known as the rasa-lila.

Kamsa, under the protection of his father-in-law Jarasandha, oppressed the members of the Yadu dynasty. Some of them sought shelter with Kamsa, as nominal friends.After Kamsa killed the six sons of Devaki, Anantadeva entered Devaki’s womb and was transferred to the womb of Rohini by the manipulation of Yoga-maya.

Baladeva, Sankarsana, was transferred from the womb of Devaki to the womb of Rohini following the orders of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. After Yoga-maya transferred the seventh child of Devaki to Rohini’s womb, the Supreme Personality of Godhead appeared within Vasudeva’s heart and transferred Himself into Devaki’s heart.

The demigods came to offer prayers to the Lord, and they explained that the Supreme Personality of Godhead descends because the spiritual soul is more important than the gross body, and the Supersoul, Paramatma, is still more important than the soul. the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, Hari in His original form, appeared as Viṣṇu so that His father and mother could understand that their son was the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Because they were afraid of Kaṁsa, when the Lord appeared as an ordinary child they took Him to Gokula, the home of Nanda Mahārāja.

Putana killed

(6th Chapter) Krishna only six days old.

While Nanda Mahārāja, the King of Vraja, was thinking about Vasudeva’s words concerning disturbances in Gokula, he was a little afraid and sought shelter at the lotus feet of Śrī Hari. Meanwhile, Kaṁsa sent to the village of Gokula a Rākṣasī named Pūtanā, who was wandering here and there killing small babies. Of course, wherever there is no Kṛṣṇa consciousness, there is the danger of such Rākṣasīs, but since the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself was in Gokula, Pūtanā could expect nothing there but her own death.

One day, Pūtanā arrived from outer space in Gokula, the home of Nanda Mahārāja, and by displaying her mystic power, she assumed the disguise of a very beautiful woman. Taking courage, she immediately entered Kṛṣṇa’s bedroom without anyone’s permission; by the grace of Kṛṣṇa, no one forbade her to enter the house or the room, because that was Kṛṣṇa’s desire. The baby Kṛṣṇa, who resembled a fire covered by ashes, looked upon Pūtanā and thought that He would have to kill this demon, the beautiful woman. Enchanted by the influence of Yoga-māyā and the Personality of Godhead, Pūtanā took Kṛṣṇa upon her lap, and neither Rohiṇī nor Yaśodā objected. The demon Pūtanā offered her breast for Kṛṣṇa to suck, but her breast was smeared with poison. The child Kṛṣṇa, therefore, squeezed Pūtanā’s breast so severely that in unbearable pain she had to assume her original body and fell to the ground. Then Kṛṣṇa began playing on her breast just like a small child. When Kṛṣṇa was playing, the gopīs were pacified and took the child away to their own laps. After this incident, the gopīs took precautions because of the attack of the Rākṣasī. Mother Yaśodā gave the child her breast to suck and then laid Him in bed.

Meanwhile, Nanda and his associates the cowherd men returned from Mathurā, and when they saw the great dead body of Pūtanā, they were struck with wonder. Everyone was astonished that Vasudeva had foretold this mishap, and they praised Vasudeva for his power of foresight. The inhabitants of Vraja cut the gigantic body of Pūtanā into pieces, but because Kṛṣṇa had sucked her breast, she had been freed from all sins, and therefore when the cowherd men burned the pieces of her body in a fire, the smoke filled the air with a very pleasing fragrance. Ultimately, although Pūtanā had desired to kill Kṛṣṇa, she attained the Lord’s abode. From this incident we gain the instruction that if one is attached to Kṛṣṇa somehow or other, even as an enemy, one ultimately attains success. What then is to be said of devotees who are naturally attached to Kṛṣṇa in love? When the inhabitants of Vraja heard about the killing of Pūtanā and the welfare of the child, they were very much satisfied. Nanda Mahārāja took the baby Kṛṣṇa on his lap and was filled with satisfaction.

Tṛṇāvarta killed

(7th Chapter) – after a full year passed (varṣepūrṇe).

When Śrī Kṛṣṇa was only three months old and was just trying to turn backside up, before He even attempted to crawl, mother Yaśodā wanted to observe a ritualistic ceremony with her friends for the good fortune of the child. Such a ritualistic ceremony is generally performed with ladies who also have small children. When mother Yaśodā saw that Kṛṣṇa was falling asleep, because of other engagements she put the child underneath a household cart, called śakaṭa, and while the child was sleeping, she engaged herself in other business pertaining to the auspicious ritualistic ceremony. Underneath the cart was a cradle, and mother Yaśodā placed the child in that cradle. The child was sleeping, but suddenly He awakened and, as usual for a child, began to kick His small legs. This kicking shook the cart, which collapsed with a great sound, breaking completely and spilling all its contents. Children who were playing nearby immediately informed mother Yaśodā that the cart had broken, and therefore she hastily arrived there in great anxiety with the other gopīs. Mother Yaśodā immediately took the child on her lap and allowed Him to suck her breast. Then various types of Vedic ritualistic ceremonies were performed with the help of the brāhmaṇas. Not knowing the real identity of the child, the brāhmaṇas showered the child with blessings.

Another day, when mother Yaśodā was sitting with her child on her lap, she suddenly observed that he had assumed the weight of the entire universe. She was so astonished that she had to put the child down, and in the meantime Tṛṇāvarta, one of the servants of Kaṁsa, appeared there as a whirlwind and took the child away. The whole tract of land known as Gokula became surcharged with dust, no one could see where the child had been taken, and all the gopīs were overwhelmed because He had been taken away in the dust storm. But up in the sky, the asura, being overburdened by the child, could not carry the child far away, although he also could not drop the child because the child had caught him so tightly that it was difficult for him to separate the child from his body. Thus Tṛṇāvarta himself fell down from a very great height, the child grasping him tightly by the shoulder, and immediately died. The demon having fallen, the gopīs picked the child up and delivered Him to the lap of mother Yaśodā. Thus mother Yaśodā was struck with wonder, but because of Yoga-māyā’s influence, no one could understand who Kṛṣṇa was and what had actually happened. Rather, everyone began to praise fortune for the child’s having been saved from such a calamity. Nanda Mahārāja, of course, was thinking of the wonderful foretelling of Vasudeva and began to praise him as a great yogī. Later, when the child was on the lap of mother Yaśodā, the child yawned, and mother Yaśodā could see within His mouth the entire universal manifestation.


(Chapters 9-10) – in the beginning of the third year during Kārttika month (tṛtīya-varṣārambhekārtike) (2 years and 2 months).

One day, the maidservants being engaged in other work, mother Yaśodā was churning the yogurt into butter herself, and in the meantime Kṛṣṇa came and requested her to allow Him to suck her breast milk. Of course, mother Yaśodā immediately allowed Him to do so, but then she saw that the hot milk on the oven was boiling over, and therefore she immediately stopped allowing Kṛṣṇa to drink the milk of her breast and went to stop the milk on the oven from overflowing. Kṛṣṇa, however, having been interrupted in His business of sucking the breast, was very angry. He took a piece of stone, broke the churning pot and entered a room, where He began to eat the freshly churned butter. When mother Yaśodā, after attending to the overflowing milk, returned and saw the pot broken, she could understand that this was the work of Kṛṣṇa, and therefore she went to search for Him. When she entered the room, she saw Kṛṣṇa standing on the ulūkhala, a large mortar for grinding spices. Having turned the mortar upside down, He was stealing butter hanging from a swing and was distributing the butter to the monkeys. As soon as Kṛṣṇa saw that His mother had come, He immediately began to run away, and mother Yaśodā began to follow Him. After going some distance, mother Yaśodā was able to catch Kṛṣṇa, who because of His offense was crying. Mother Yaśodā, of course, threatened to punish Kṛṣṇa if He acted that way again, and she decided to bind Him with rope. Unfortunately, when the time came to knot the rope, the rope with which she wanted to bind Him was short by a distance equal to the width of two fingers. When she made the rope longer by adding another rope, she again saw that it was short by two fingers. Again and again she tried, and again and again she found the rope too short by two fingers. Thus she became very tired, and Kṛṣṇa, seeing His affectionate mother so tired, allowed Himself to be bound. Now, being compassionate, He did not show her His unlimited potency. After mother Yaśodā bound Kṛṣṇa and became engaged in other household affairs, Kṛṣṇa observed two yamala-arjuna trees, which were actually Nalakūvara and Maṇigrīva, two sons of Kuvera who had been condemned by Nārada Muni to become trees. Kṛṣṇa, by His mercy, now began to proceed toward the trees to fulfill the desire of Nārada Muni.

Move from Gokula to Vrindavana

(Chapter 11) Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma and all the cowherds move to Vṛndāvana. This happened a few days after Damodāra-līlā (katicid-dināntevṛndāvana-praveśaḥ) (2 years and 2 months). 

Vatsa Charana Lila

(Chapter 11.37) Kṛṣṇa began herding the calves 2-3 months after moving to Vṛndāvana (dvi-tra-māsānantaraṁvatsa-cāraṇārambhaḥ) (2 years and 4-5 months). 

When the yamala-arjuna trees fell, they made a tremendous sound, like that of falling thunderbolts. Being surprised, Kṛṣṇa’s father, Nanda, and the other elderly inhabitants of Gokula went to the spot, where they saw the fallen trees and Kṛṣṇa standing between them, bound to the ulūkhala, the wooden mortar. They could find no cause for the trees’ having fallen and Kṛṣṇa’s being there. They thought this might be the work of some other asura who had met Kṛṣṇa on this spot, and they inquired from the playmates of Kṛṣṇa about how the whole incident had taken place. The children properly described how everything had happened, but the elderly persons could not believe the story. Some of them, however, thought that it might be true, since they had already seen many wonderful incidents in connection with Kṛṣṇa. Anyway, Nanda Mahārāja immediately released Kṛṣṇa from the ropes.

In this way, Kṛṣṇa, at every day and every moment, displayed wonderful incidents to increase the parental affection of Nanda Mahārāja and Yaśodā, who thus felt both surprise and joy. The breaking of the yamala-arjunas was one of these wonderful pastimes.

One day a fruit vendor approached Nanda Mahārāja’s house, and Kṛṣṇa gathered some food grains with His little palms and went to the vendor to exchange the grains for fruit. On the way, almost all the grains fell from His palms, only one or two grains remaining, but the fruit vendor, out of full affection, accepted these grains in exchange for as much fruit as Kṛṣṇa could take. As soon as she did this, her basket became filled with gold and jewels.

Thereafter, all the elderly gopas decided to leave Gokula because they saw that in Gokula there was always some disturbance. They decided to go to Vṛndāvana, Vraja-dhāma, and the next day they all departed. In Vṛndāvana, both Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, after finishing Their childhood pastimes, began to take charge of the calves and send them to the pasturing grounds (go-caraṇa). During this time, a demon named Vatsāsura entered among the calves and was killed, and another asura, in the shape of a big duck, was also killed. The playmates of Kṛṣṇa narrated all these stories to their mothers. The mothers could not believe their children, Kṛṣṇa’s playmates, but because of full affection they enjoyed these narrations of Kṛṣṇa’s activities.

Vatsāsura, Bakāsura and Vyomāsura killed

(10.11.41-54) during that time (tatravatsa-baka-vyoma-vadhaḥ) (2 years and 4-5 months). 

Once, when Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma were playing on the bank of the Yamunā, a demon of the name Vatsāsura assumed the shape of a calf and came there intending to kill the brothers. By taking the shape of a calf, the demon could mingle with other calves. Kṛṣṇa, however, specifically noticed this, and He immediately told Balarāma about the entrance of the demon. Both brothers then followed him and sneaked up upon him. Kṛṣṇa caught hold of the demon-calf by the two hind legs and tail, whipped him around very forcibly and threw him up into a tree. The demon lost his life and fell down from the top of the tree to the ground. When the demon lay dead on the ground, all the playmates of Kṛṣṇa congratulated Him, “Well done, well done,” and the demigods in the sky began to shower flowers with great satisfaction. In this way, the maintainers of the complete creation, Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, used to take care of the calves in the morning every day, and thus They enjoyed Their childhood pastimes as cowherd boys in Vṛndāvana.

All the cowherd boys would daily go to the bank of the River Yamunā to water their calves. Usually, when the calves drank water from the Yamunā, the boys also drank. One day, after drinking, when they were sitting on the bank of the river, they saw a huge animal which looked something like a duck and was as big as a hill. Its top was as strong as a thunderbolt. When they saw that unusual animal, they became afraid of it. The name of this beast was Bakāsura, and he was a friend of Kaṁsa’s. He appeared on the scene suddenly and immediately attacked Kṛṣṇa with his pointed, sharp beaks and quickly swallowed Him up. When Kṛṣṇa was thus swallowed, all the boys, headed by Balarāma, became almost breathless, as if they had died. But when the Bakāsura demon was swallowing up Kṛṣṇa, he felt a burning fiery sensation in his throat. This was due to the glowing effulgence of Kṛṣṇa. The demon quickly threw Kṛṣṇa up and tried to kill Him by pinching Him in his beaks. Bakāsura did not know that although Kṛṣṇa was playing the part of a child of Nanda Mahārāja, He was still the original father of Lord Brahmā, the creator of the universe. The child of mother Yaśodā, who is the reservoir of pleasure for the demigods and who is the maintainer of saintly persons, caught hold of the beaks of the great gigantic duck and, before His cowherd boy friends, bifurcated his mouth, just as a child very easily splits a blade of grass. From the sky, the denizens of the heavenly planets showered flowers like the cāmeli, the most fragrant of all flowers, as a token of their congratulations. Accompanying the showers of flowers was a vibration of bugles, drums and conchshells.

When the boys saw the showering of flowers and heard the celestial sounds, they became struck with wonder. When they saw Kṛṣṇa, they all, including Balarāma, were so pleased that it seemed as if they had regained their very source of life. As soon as they saw Kṛṣṇa coming towards them, they one after another embraced the son of Nanda and held Him to their chests. After this, they assembled all the calves under their charge and began to return home.

Vymoasura is mentioned in 37th Chapter:
One day, while tending the cows, Kṛṣṇa, Balarāma and the cowherd boys became engrossed in playing hide-and-go-seek. Some of the boys took the role of sheep, some the role of thieves, and others shepherds. The shepherds would search for the sheep when the thieves stole them. Taking advantage of this game, a demon named Vyoma, sent by Kaṁsa, dressed himself like a cowherd boy and joined the band of “thieves.” He abducted a few cowherd boys at a time and threw them into a mountain cave, keeping them there by blocking the entrance with a boulder. Gradually Vyomāsura abducted all but four or five cowherd boys. When Kṛṣṇa saw what the demon was doing, He ran after him, grabbed him and killed him just as one would kill a sacrificial animal.

BrahmāVimohana Lila

Brahmaji stole the cowherd boys and calves (Chapters 12-14) in the autumn after the third year passed and the fourth year started, (tṛtīyepūrṇecaturthārambheśaradibāla-vatsa-haraṇaṁ) (little more than 3 years)

[Note: At this time Gopala actually entered paugaṇḍa age but it was manifested only after a year passed. (ref. 10.12.41] Paugaṇḍa age manifested (10.12.37) – in the beginning of the fifth year (paṣcamārambhepaugaṇḍa-prakāśaḥ) (little more than 4 years).

One day Kṛṣṇa wanted to enjoy a picnic lunch within the forest, and therefore He went out early into the forest with the other cowherd boys, accompanied by their respective groups of calves. While they were enjoying their picnic, Aghāsura, the younger brother of Pūtanā and Bakāsura, appeared there, desiring to kill Kṛṣṇa and His companions. The demon, who had been sent by Kaṁsa, assumed the form of a python, expanding himself to a length of eight miles and the height of a mountain, his mouth seeming to extend from the surface of the earth to the heavenly planets. Having assumed this feature, Aghāsura lay on the road. Kṛṣṇa’s friends, the cowherd boys, thought that the demon’s form was one of the beautiful spots of Vṛndāvana. Thus they wanted to enter within the mouth of this gigantic python. The gigantic figure of the python became a subject for their sporting pleasure, and they began to laugh, confident that even if this figure were dangerous, Kṛṣṇa was there to protect them. In this way, they proceeded toward the mouth of the gigantic figure.

Kṛṣṇa knew everything about Aghāsura, and therefore He wanted to forbid His friends to enter the demon’s mouth, but in the meantime all the cowherd boys, along with their groups of calves, entered the mouth of that gigantic figure. Kṛṣṇa was waiting outside, and Aghāsura was waiting for Kṛṣṇa, thinking that as soon as Kṛṣṇa entered he would close his mouth so that everyone would die. While waiting for Kṛṣṇa, he refrained from swallowing the boys. In the meantime, Kṛṣṇa was thinking of how to save the boys and kill Aghāsura. Thus He entered the mouth of the gigantic asura, and when He was within the demon’s mouth along with His friends, He expanded His body to such an extent that the asura suffocated and died. After this, Kṛṣṇa, by casting His nectarean glance upon His friends, brought them back to life, and with pleasure they all came out unhurt. Thus Kṛṣṇa encouraged all the demigods, and they expressed their pleasure and happiness. For a crooked, sinful person there is no scope for sāyujya-mukti, or becoming one with the effulgence of Kṛṣṇa, but because the Supreme Personality of Godhead entered the body of Aghāsura, by His touch this demon got the opportunity to merge into the existence of the Brahman effulgence and thus attain sāyujya-mukti.

When this pastime was performed, Kṛṣṇa was only five years old. One year later, when He was six years old and He stepped into the paugaṇḍa age, this pastime was disclosed to the inhabitants of Vraja. Parīkṣit Mahārāja inquired, “Why is it that this pastime was disclosed only after one year and yet the inhabitants of Vraja thought that it had been performed that very day?” 

Although the incident concerning Aghāsura had been performed one year before, when the cowherd boys were five years old, when they were six years old they said, “It happened today.” What happened was this. After killing Aghāsura, Kṛṣṇa, along with His associates the cowherd boys, went for a picnic within the forest. The calves, being allured by green grasses, gradually went far away, and therefore Kṛṣṇa’s associates became a little agitated and wanted to bring back the calves. Kṛṣṇa, however, encouraged the boys by saying, “You take your tiffin without being agitated. I shall go find the calves.” And thus the Lord departed. Then, just to examine the potency of Kṛṣṇa, Lord Brahmā took away all the calves and cowherd boys and kept them in a secluded place.

When Kṛṣṇa was unable to find the calves and boys, He could understand that this was a trick performed by Brahmā. Then the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the cause of all causes, in order to please Lord Brahmā, as well as His own associates and their mothers, expanded Himself to become the calves and boys, exactly as they were before. In this way, He discovered another pastime. A special feature of this pastime was that the mothers of the cowherd boys thus became more attached to their respective sons, and the cows became more attached to their calves. After nearly a year, Baladeva observed that all the cowherd boys and calves were expansions of Kṛṣṇa. Thus He inquired from Kṛṣṇa and was informed of what had happened.

When one full year had passed, Brahmā returned and saw that Kṛṣṇa was still engaged as usual with His friends and the calves and cows. Then Kṛṣṇa exhibited all the calves and cowherd boys as four-armed forms of Nārāyaṇa. Brahmā could then understand Kṛṣṇa’s potency, and he was astonished by the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa, his worshipable Lord. Kṛṣṇa, however, bestowed His causeless mercy upon Brahmā and released him from illusion. Thus Brahmā began to offer prayers to glorify the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

For His satisfaction, Brahmā first praised the beauty of the Lord’s transcendental limbs and then declared that His original identity of sweetness is even more difficult to comprehend than His opulence. Only by the devotional process of hearing and chanting transcendental sounds received from Vedic authorities can one realize the Personality of Godhead. It is fruitless to try to realize God through processes outside the scope of Vedic authority.

The mystery of the Personality of Godhead, who is the reservoir of unlimited spiritual qualities, is inconceivable; it is even more difficult to understand than the impersonal Supreme. Thus only by the mercy of God can one understand His glories. Finally realizing this, Brahmā repeatedly condemned his own actions and recognized that Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the ultimate shelter of the universe, is Brahmā’s own father, the original Nārāyaṇa. In this way Brahmā begged the Lord’s forgiveness.

Brahmā then glorified the inconceivable opulence of the Personality of Godhead and described the ways in which Brahmā and Śiva differ from Lord Viṣṇu, the reason for the Supreme Lord’s appearance in various species of demigods, animals and so on, the eternal nature of the pastimes of the Personality of Godhead, and the temporality of the material world. By knowing the Supreme Personality in truth, the individual spirit soul can achieve liberation from bondage. In actuality, however, both liberation and bondage are unreal, for it is only from the living entity’s conditioned outlook that his bondage and liberation are produced. Thinking the personal form of Lord Kṛṣṇa illusory, fools reject His lotus feet and look elsewhere to find the Supreme Self. But the futility of their search is the obvious proof of their foolishness. There is simply no way to understand the truth of the Personality of Godhead without His mercy.

Having established this conclusion, Lord Brahmā analyzed the great good fortune of the residents of Vraja and then personally prayed to be born there even as a blade of grass, a bush or a creeper. Indeed, the homes of the residents of Vṛndāvana are not prisons of material existence but rather abodes envied even by the jñānīs and yogīs. On the other hand, any home without a connection to Lord Kṛṣṇa is in fact a prison cell of material existence. Finally, Brahmā offered his whole self at the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord and, praising Him again and again, circumambulated Him and took his leave.

Lord Kṛṣṇa then gathered the animals Brahmā stole and led them to the place on the Yamunā’s bank where the cowherd boys had been taking lunch. The same friends who had been present before were sitting there now. By the power of Kṛṣṇa’s illusory energy, they were not at all aware of what had happened. Thus when Kṛṣṇa arrived with the calves, the boys told Him, “You’ve returned so quickly! Very good. As long as You were gone we couldn’t take even a morsel of food, so come and eat.”

Laughing at the words of the cowherd boys, Lord Kṛṣṇa began taking His meal in their company. While eating, Kṛṣṇa pointed out to His young friends the skin of the python, and the boys thought, “Kṛṣṇa has just now killed this terrible snake.” Indeed, later they related to the residents of Vṛndāvana the incident of Kṛṣṇa’s killing the Agha demon. In this way, the cowherd boys described pastimes that Lord Kṛṣṇa had performed in His bālya age (one to five), even though His paugaṇḍa age (six to ten) had begun.

Śukadeva Gosvāmī concludes this chapter by explaining how the gopīs loved Lord Kṛṣṇa even more than they loved their own sons.

Go Charan Lila

Krishna started herding the cows (10.15.1) on śukla-aṣṭamī of Kārtika month [Gopastami] (tatrakārtika-śuklāṣṭamyāṁ go-cāraṇārambhaḥ) (4 years, 2 months and 2 weeks).


(Chapters 16-17) – in the summer of the fifth year (paṣcamasyanidāghekāliya-damanaṁ) (4 years and appr. 10 months).

[Note: Due to ecstasy, Sri Suka Muni described this līlā out of sequence by mentioning it after killing of Dhenukāsura.]

In His sixth year Gopala was immersed in herding the cows – (ṣaṣṭhe go-cāraṇa-kautuka-mātraṁ). Govinda entered kaiśora age in the beginning of the seventh year (saptamārambhekaiśora-praveśaḥ) (little more than 6 years).

Dhenuka killed

(15th Chapter) during the time and season when the tāla-fruits are ripe (tatraivapakva-tālāvasaredhenuka-vadhaḥ). On that evening also the gopīs for the first time manifested their loving mood described in 10.15.43. (little more than 6 years).

How Lord Balarāma and Lord Kṛṣṇa, while tending Their cows in the pastures of Vṛndāvana, killed Dhenukāsura, enabled the residents of Vṛndāvana to eat the fruits of the tāla trees

Pralamba killed

(18th Chapter) – in the summer of the seventh year (saptamasyanidāghepralamba-vadhaḥ) (6 years and appr. 10 months).

While playing happily in Vṛndāvana, Lord Baladeva climbed up on the shoulders of the demon Pralamba and struck his head with His fist, destroying him.

Veṇu-gītā pastime

(21st Chapter) – in the eighth year during Aśvina [Sept-Oct] month (aṣṭamasyāśvineveṇu-gītaṁ) (7 years and 1 month).

how Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa entered the enchanting forest of Vṛndāvana upon the arrival of autumn, and the praises the young cowherd girls sang when they heard the vibration of His flute. 

Govardhana Lila

Sri Krishna lifted Govardhana (24th Chapter) – in His eighth year on the first day of the waxing moon in Kārttika month (kārtīkegovardhanoddharaṇaṁ) (7 years, 2 months and 7 days).

Indra Surabhi Govinda-abhiṣeka

(27th Chapter) – in the beginning of Krishna’s eighth year, on śukla-ekādaśī of Kārtika month (aṣṭamārambheevakārtika-śuklaikādaśyāṁgovindābhiṣekaḥ) (7 years, 2 months and 17 days).

Journey to Varuṇa’s planet

(10.28.1-11) – on the following dvādaśī (dvādaśyāṁ ca varuṇa-loka-gamanaṁ) (7 years, 2 months and 18 days).

how Lord Kṛṣṇa brought Nanda Mahārāja back from the abode of Varuṇa 

Brahma-hrada Lila

Sri Krishna’s Vrajavāsīs bathed in Brahma-hrada (10.28.16) – on Karttika purnima; (tat-pūrṇimāyāṁ brahma-hradāvagāhanaṁ) (7 years, 2 months and 21 days).

and how the cowherd men saw Vaikuṇṭha.

Vastra-haraṇa līlā

(22nd Chapter) – in the winter of Krishna’s eighth year (hemantevastra-haraṇaṁ) (7 years and apx. 3 months).
how the marriageable daughters of the cowherd men worshiped Kātyāyanī to get Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa as their husband, and how Kṛṣṇa stole the garments of the young girls and gave the girls benedictions.

Yajna Patni Anugraha lila

(23rd) Krishna shows mercy to the wives of the sacrificial brāhmaṇas (23rd Chapter) – in the summer of His eighth year (nidāgheyajṣa-patnī-prasādaḥ) (7 years and appr. 10 months).

how Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, after inducing the cowherd boys to beg for food, showed mercy to the wives of some brāhmaṇas performing a sacrifice and made the brāhmaṇas themselves feel remorse.

[Note: In 10.24.1 tika, Sri Jiva Goswami says that these līlās are described out of chronological order because of Śukadeva Gosvāmī’s lack of self-control due to his prema (prema-vaivaśyāt).


(Chapters 29-33) – in the beginning of His ninth year, in the autumn season (navamasyaśaradirāsa-līlā) (8 years and 1.5 months).

A)  how Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, intending to enjoy the rāsa dance, engaged in arguments and counterarguments with the gopīs. Then there is a description of the beginning of the rāsa dance and the Lord’s pastime of disappearing from the midst of the gopīs.

B) how the gopīs, tormented through the long night by separation from Kṛṣṇa, wandered like madwomen from forest to forest in search of Him. 
When Śrī Kṛṣṇa suddenly disappeared from the arena of the rāsa dance, the gopīs, their minds fully absorbed in thoughts of Him, began looking for Him in the various forests. From all the moving and nonmoving creatures they asked for news of Kṛṣṇa’s whereabouts. Finally they became so distraught that they began imitating His pastimes

C) how Śrī Kṛṣṇa manifested Himself in the midst of the gopīs, who had become extremely disturbed by their separation from Him. After He consoled them, they expressed to Him their deep feelings of ecstasy.

The gopīs having shown in various ways their great eagerness to see Kṛṣṇa, the attractor of Cupid, He appeared before them wearing silken yellow garments and a beautiful flower garland. Some of the gopīs, overwhelmed with ecstasy at seeing Him, grasped His hands, others placed His arm on their shoulders, and others accepted the remnants of betel nut He had chewed. Thus they served Him.

Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s rāsa dance, which He enjoyed with His beloved girlfriends in the forests along the Yamunā River.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, is most expert in the knowledge of transcendental moods. In the company of the gopīs, who were tightly bound to Him by the ropes of affection and totally dedicated to His service, the Lord expanded Himself into numerous forms. The gopīs became intoxicated with their enthusiasm to enjoy the rāsa dance, and thus they began satisfying Kṛṣṇa’s senses by singing, dancing and gesturing amorously. The sweet voices of the gopīs filled all the directions.

Even after Lord Kṛṣṇa manifested Himself in numerous forms, each gopī thought He was standing next to her alone. Gradually the gopīs became fatigued from the continuous dancing and singing, and each of them placed her arm on the shoulder of the Kṛṣṇa standing beside her. Some gopīs smelled and kissed Kṛṣṇa’s arm, which bore the fragrance of the lotus and was anointed with sandalwood paste. Others put Kṛṣṇa’s hand on their bodies, and yet others gave Kṛṣṇa pleasure by embracing Him lovingly.

Lord Kṛṣṇa, being the Supreme Absolute Truth, is the only actual enjoyer and object of enjoyment. Although He is one without a second, He expands Himself into many forms to increase His personal pastimes. Therefore great scholars say that Kṛṣṇa’s rāsa-līlā is like a child’s playing with His own reflection. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is self-satisfied and fully endowed with inconceivable, transcendental opulences. When He exhibits such pastimes as the rāsa-līlā, all living beings, from Brahmā down to the blades of grass, become merged in the ocean of astonishment.

When Mahārāja Parīkṣit heard the narration of Kṛṣṇa’s conjugal pastimes with the gopīs, which superficially resemble the activities of lusty, wanton persons, he expressed a doubt to the great devotee Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī. Śukadeva dispelled this doubt by stating, “Since Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the absolute enjoyer, such pastimes as these can never be contaminated by any fault. But if anyone other than the Supreme Personality of Godhead tries to enjoy such pastimes, he will suffer the same fate that someone other than Lord Rudra would suffer if he attempted to drink an ocean of poison. Moreover, even one who only thinks of imitating Lord Kṛṣṇa’s rāsa-līlā will certainly suffer misfortune.”

The Supreme Absolute Truth, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, is present within the hearts of all living entities as their indwelling witness. When out of His mercy He exhibits His intimate pastimes to His devotees, these activities are never besmirched by mundane imperfection. Any living being who hears of the spontaneous loving attraction the gopīs felt for Lord Kṛṣṇa will have his desires for material sense gratification destroyed at the root and will develop his natural propensity for serving the Supreme Lord, the spiritual master, and the Lord’s devotees.

Ambika-vana Gamana Lila

To observe the Shiva ratri festival (Phalguna Krishna chaturdasi) Nanda Baba and his clan travel to Ambikā-vana on chaturdasi (10.34.1-3 (śiva-rātri-caturdaśyāmambikā-vana-yātrā) (8 years, 6 months and 6 days).

One day Nanda Mahārāja and the other cowherd men placed their family members on their bullock carts and went to the Ambikāvana forest to worship Lord Śiva. After bathing in the Sarasvatī River and worshiping Lord Sadāśiva, a form of Lord Viṣṇu, they decided to spend the night in the forest. As they slept, a hungry serpent came and began to swallow Nanda Mahārāja. Terrified, Nanda cried out in distress, “O Kṛṣṇa! O my son, please save this surrendered soul!” The cowherd men immediately awoke and began beating the serpent with wooden torches, but the serpent would not release Nanda. Then Lord Kṛṣṇa came and touched the serpent with His lotus foot. The serpent was immediately freed from his reptilian body and appeared in his original form as a demigod. He told them about his previous identity and described how he had been cursed by a group of sages. Then he offered his homage at the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and, on the Lord’s order, returned to his own abode.

Śaṅkhacūḍa killed

(10.34.25-32) – in Phālguna [Purnima] month (phālgunyāṁśaṅkhacūḍa-vadhaḥ) (appr. 8.5 years).

During the Dola-pūrṇimā festival, Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva enjoyed pastimes in the forest with the young women of Vraja. The girlfriends of Baladeva and those of Kṛṣṇa joined together and sang about Their transcendental qualities. When the two Lords became absorbed in singing to the point of apparent intoxication, a servant of Kuvera’s named Śaṅkhacūḍa boldly came forward and began abducting the gopīs. The young girls called out, “Kṛṣṇa, please save us!” and He and Rāma began to chase after Śaṅkhacūḍa. “Don’t be afraid!” Kṛṣṇa called out to the gopīs. In fear of the Lords, Śaṅkhacūḍa left the gopīs aside and ran for his life. Kṛṣṇa chased after him, swiftly approached him and with a blow of His fist removed Śaṅkhacūḍa’s jewel, together with his head. Then Kṛṣṇa brought the jewel back and presented it to Lord Baladeva.

Ariṣṭāsura killed

(10.36.1-15) – on the full moon of Caitra month (April) (ekādaśasyacaitra-paurṇamāsyāmariṣṭa-vadhaḥ [and Radha-kunda formed]) (10 years, 7 months and 21 days).

The demon Ariṣṭa wanted to kill Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, and thus he assumed the form of a huge bull with sharp horns. Everyone in Kṛṣṇa’s cowherd village became terrified when Ariṣṭāsura approached it, but the Lord pacified them, and when the bull demon charged Him He seized him by the horns and threw him about six yards. Though weakened, Ariṣṭa still wanted to attack Kṛṣṇa. Thus, dripping with sweat, he charged the Lord once again. This time Kṛṣṇa grabbed his horns, threw him to the ground and thrashed him like a pile of wet clothing. The demon vomited blood and gave up his life. Then Kṛṣṇa and Rāma, while being honored by the demigods and cowherd boys, returned to the village.

Keśī killed

(10.37.1-8) – on the twelfth day of the dark fortnight of Phālguna (dvādaśasyagauṇa-phālguna-dvādaśyāṁkeśi-vadhaḥ) (11 years, 6 months and 4 days). 

On Kaṁsa’s order the Keśī demon assumed the form of a huge horse and went to Vraja. As he approached, his loud neighing terrified all the inhabitants, and they began looking for Śrī Kṛṣṇa. When He saw the demon, Kṛṣṇa came forward and challenged him to come near. Keśī charged Kṛṣṇa and tried to strike Him with his front legs, but the Lord seized them, whirled the demon around several times, and then threw him a distance of one hundred bow-lengths. Keśī remained unconscious for some time. When the demon regained consciousness, he furiously charged Kṛṣṇa again, his mouth agape. The Lord then thrust His left arm into the horse demon’s mouth, and as Keśī tried to bite the arm, it felt like a red-hot iron rod. Kṛṣṇa’s arm expanded more and more, finally choking the demon, and in extreme agony Keśī gave up his life. Lord Kṛṣṇa then removed His arm. He stood calmly, showing no pride at having killed the demon, as the demigods showered down flowers from the sky and glorified the Lord with prayers.

Krishna Mathura Gamana Lila

Uncle Akrura takes Krishna and Balarama to Mathura (39th Chapter “Viraha Gita”) on Phalguna Krishna trayodashi, (11 years, 6 months and 5 days).

Akrūra’s trip from Mathurā to Vṛndāvana, his meditation on Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma along the way and the honor the two Lords showed Akrūra upon his arrival.
Akrūra informed Lord Kṛṣṇa and Lord Balarāma of Kaṁsa’s plans and his activities in Mathurā; what the gopīs cried out in distress when Kṛṣṇa left for Mathurā; and also the vision of Lord Viṣṇu’s abode that Akrūra saw within the water of the Yamunā.

Kaṁsa killed

(44th Chapter) – on the fourteenth day of the dark fortnight of Phālguna month [2 days later] (taccaturdaśyāṁkaṁsa-vadhaḥ) (11 years, 6 months and 6 days).

Lord Kṛṣṇa entered the city of Mathurā, killed a washerman and bestowed benedictions upon a weaver and a garland-maker named Sudāmā. 

the benediction Trivakrā (Kubja) received, the breaking of the sacrificial bow, the destruction of Kaṁsa’s soldiers, the inauspicious omens Kaṁsa saw and the festivities at the wrestling arena.

 Lord Kṛṣṇa killed the lordly elephant Kuvalayāpīḍa, how Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma entered the wrestling arena and what Kṛṣṇa said to the wrestler Cāṇūra.

Deciding to wrestle, Lord Kṛṣṇa faced off against Cāṇūra, and Lord Baladeva took on Muṣṭika. Battling arm to arm, head to head, knee to knee and chest to chest, the opponents attacked each other so fiercely that they appeared to be harming even their own bodies. The ladies in the arena, seeing the violent battle, began to condemn the King and all the members of the assembly: “A respectable audience should never have allowed a wrestling match between such huge wrestlers, whose limbs are as tough as lightning bolts, and such tender young boys, who are just entering youth. An intelligent person should never enter an assembly if he sees injustice being done there.” Because Vasudeva and Devakī did not fully understand the power of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, they became extremely unhappy when they heard the women of the audience speak these words.

Śrī Kṛṣṇa then grabbed Cāṇūra’s arms, whirled him around several times and threw him to the ground, killing him. Muṣṭika met a similar fate: after being struck powerfully by Lord Baladeva’s palm, he began vomiting blood and then fell down dead. Thereupon the wrestlers named Kūṭa, Śala and Tośala came forward, but Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma easily killed them with the blows of Their fists and feet. The remaining wrestlers, fearing for their lives, all fled.

Except for Kaṁsa, everyone present cheered Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. The King, in a rage, stopped the festive music and ordered that Vasudeva, Nanda, Ugrasena and all the cowherds be severely punished and that Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma be driven from the assembly. Kṛṣṇa became furious when He heard Kaṁsa speak this way, and He instantly leapt onto the lofty royal dais. He grabbed Kaṁsa by the hair, hurled him down onto the floor of the wrestling ring and threw Himself on top of him. In this way, Kaṁsa met his death. Because out of fear Kaṁsa had always thought of Kṛṣṇa, after his death he gained the liberation of having a form like the Lord’s.

Kaṁsa’s eight brothers then attacked Kṛṣṇa, but Balarāma easily killed each of them with His club, just as a lion kills defenseless animals. Kettledrums resounded in the sky as the joyful demigods rained down flowers and chanted the glories of Lord Kṛṣṇa and Lord Balarāma.

The wives of Kaṁsa, grieving for their husband, lamented that he had died because of his violence toward other living beings and his lack of respect for Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Soul, who creates, maintains and destroys the entire universe. The Lord consoled the widows, had the funeral rites performed for Kaṁsa and his brothers and then released His mother and father from bondage. Kṛṣṇa offered obeisances at His parents’ feet, but they, now understanding Him to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead, did not embrace Him.

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