Chaitanya Bala Lila: Childhood Pastimes of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu


Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita (4.7) says:

yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānir bhavati bhārata
abhyutthānam adharmasya tadātmāna sjāmy aham

“Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion—at that time I descend Myself.”

Time after time, yugas after yugas, when humanity fails, and when the creation is in a desperate need of the re-establishment of the principles of religion, then the personality of Godhead appears within this universe like an ordinary human to the rest of the world. But as time passes, He will, eventually, enlighten us of His original supreme position.

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was such a personality of Godhead, who descended upon us to re-establish the lost principles. His entire life he preached the ultimate truth, which ‘the Original Supreme Personality of Godhead,’ Lord Krishna Himself declared (in BG 9.28), that One who always thinks of Him, worships Him is freed from all the material mellows or miseries and will attain Him, finally. This is Krishna Consciousness, and the re-kindler of the fire, (The Hare Krishna Movement) is Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

After birth, The Personality of Godhead also lives like an ordinary human, but He maintains His superiority as the Supreme Lord. Just like, when Lord Krishna appeared as a human child, His activities were uncommon from His childhood, like the killing of the demon Putana or the lifting of Govardhana Hill. These pastimes could never be executed by an ordinary child. Similarly, although the pastimes of Lord Chaitanya, as described, might appear like the activities of an ordinary boy, they are uncommon pastimes, impossible for any men, let alone a child, to execute.

Childhood Pastimes of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

Announced His arrival

In His first childhood pastimes, when the Lord tried to walk, in His small footprints, the specific marks of Lord Vishnu were visible, namely the flag, thunderbolt, conchshell, disc, and fish. Seeing all these marks, His parents could not understand how those marks could be possible in their home. Later mother Sachi found out that all those marks were on the sole of Lord Chaitanya. Nilambara Chakravarti, a learned astrologer understood from the marks on the Lord’s lotus feet that child Nimai (Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu) was not an ordinary child but an incarnation of Narayana.

As the Lord began to crawl on His knees, He caused various wonderful things to be seen.

Resting on a Snake’s back

Chaitanya-Mahaprabhu-snakeOne day while Nimai was crawling upon His knees, a snake slithered through the courtyard. The Lord caught hold of it, simply to enact another pastime. The snake then coiled and the Lord lied down on the snake’s back. When the residents of the house saw Him they screamed, but the Lord calmly smiled and remained upon the snake looking very relaxed. The people shouted while Nimai’s parents waited in anxiety. The snake, who was actually, Lord Ananta Sesha (the resting couch of Lord Narayana), started to slither away when He heard all the crying and commotion. Little Nimai tried to stop Him but the ladies rushed over and gathered up Nimai into their arms. Some relatives tied a talisman upon Nimai for his protection, while some chanted benefice mantras and others poured Ganga water on different parts of His body. Some of them thought that the child had received a new life, while others realized that the snake was actually Ananta Sesha.

It starts at home

The Lord as a child, with His beautiful eyes, cried frequently. However, His real intention in crying was to induce everyone to chant the Lord’s Holy Name. The ladies would try one way or another to pacify Him, but the Lord would cry all the more. Nevertheless, as soon as the ladies chanted, “Hari! Hari!” a beaming smile would spread across the Lord’s exquisite moon-like face.

Thus discovering that the chanting pleased and placated Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, everyone would gather in His room and always repeat Lord Hari’s name whilst clapping their hands. Happily, therefore, everyone performed congregational chanting and Sachi devi’s house constantly resounded with the Lord’s transcendental name.

Causeless Mercy to a pure Brahmana

Once a very pious Brahmana, who was touring all over the country, traveling from one pilgrimage place to another, reached Navadvipa and became a guest in the house of Jagannatha Mishra. He worshiped Lord Krishna by chanting the gopala-mantra, and he would not eat anything other than the remnants of food he had offered to Sri Gopala. Jagannatha Mishra gave him all ingredients for cooking, and the brahmana prepared his food.

When the Brahmana was offering the food to Lord Bala-gopala (Child Krishna) in meditation, Nimai (Chaitanya Mahaprabhu) came before him and began to eat it, and because of this, the Brahmana thought the whole offering had been spoiled. Therefore by the request of Jagannatha Mishra, he cooked for a second time, but when he was meditating the child again came before him and began to eat the food, spoiling the offering again.

By the request of Jagannatha Mishra, the Brahmana cooked for the third time, but this time the child had been locked within a room. But the Lord was pleased with his devotee and He wanted to satisfy his desire of accepting the bhoga, so Lord came before him and began to eat the food, by making everyone sleep.

The Brahmana became greatly agitated by this and thought that Lord Bala-gopala was not willing to accept his food and therefore he ordained to fast. When Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu saw the Brahmana in that agitated state, He showed him His real avatar and told him,

Formerly I was the son of mother Yashoda. At that time too you were a guest in the house of Nanda Maharaja, and I disturbed you in this way. I am very much pleased with your devotion. Therefore I am eating the food you have prepared.

Understanding the favour offered to him by the Lord, the Brahmana was greatly pleased, and he was overwhelmed with the love of Krishna. He was thankful to the Lord, for he felt himself greatly fortunate. Then the Lord asked the Brahmana not to disclose the incident to anyone else. The Brahmana ecstatically danced, sang, laughed, and made loud roaring sounds, All glories to Lord Bala-gopala!

The thieves’ got hijacked

Chaitanya-Mahaprabhu-thief-storyIn His childhood, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was profusely decorated with gold ornaments. Once, when the Lord was playing outside His house, two thieves passing on the street saw the opportunity to rob Him. Therefore they took Him on their shoulders, pleasing Him by offering Him some sweetmeats. The thieves thought they would carry the child to the forest and then kill Him and take away the ornaments.

The Lord, then, expanded His illusory energy upon the thieves, so much so that instead of carrying Him to the forest they came right back in front of His house. This continued a few more times. When they realized this they became afraid because everyone from the house of Jagannatha Mishra and all the inhabitants of that quarter was busy searching for the child. Therefore, the thieves, thinking it dangerous left Him. The child was brought back to mother Sachi, who was in great anxiety, and she became satisfied.

Prasadam to cure

Once on Ekadashi in the house of a Pandita, there were arrangements for preparing special prasadam for Lord Vishnu. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu asked His father to go there to ask for the vishnu-prasadam pretending to be sick. The house was situated about two miles away.

When Jagannatha Mishra, on the request of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, went to ask for the prasadam, they were a little astonished. How did the boy know about the special prasadam? They immediately concluded that Nimai must have supernatural mystic power. Therefore they immediately sent the food to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu through His father. Nimai was feeling sick, but immediately after eating the Vishnu-prasadam He was cured, and He also distributed the prasadam among His playmates, thus signifying the power of prasadam.

The Supreme Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had such transcendental pastimes that are not even revealed in the Vedas, and anyone who hears them is freed from the bite of the serpent of material illusion. Hare Krishna!