All the residents of Vrindavan loved and adored six-year-old Krishna. They had witnessed many wondrous and miraculous feats, which made them love him even more. Every day, the Gopis would make special foods and tell their sons, the cowherd boys, to give them to Lord Krishna, when they ate lunch together.
One such day, as the boys sat in a circle around Krishna, offering him special treats and eating their own, Krishna noticed that the calves were missing. As the boys were very hungry, Krishna told them to keep eating. He set out to look for the cows. Krishna searched everywhere, but he could not find them. He returned to tell the Gopas the upsetting news, but to his great astonishment, they were not there! He was baffled! Then Bhagavan used his divine insight and found out that it was none other than Brahma behind this mischief. Krishna was amused and decided to play along!
In Brahmaloka, the great stories of Krishna’s feats had reached Brahma. ”Could such a young boy really do all this?” he wondered. Brahma forgot that Sri Krishna was the Divine Lord. He decided to test Bhagavan. Brahma took away the calves and cowherd boys.
After Krishna had figured out what had happened, he smiled. He decided to teach Brahma a lesson. Bhagavan closed his eyes and copied himself. He kept copying until the number of Krishnas was the exact number of calves and cowherd boys. Then he clapped his hands. All the Krishnas assumed the forms of the cowherd boys and calves. Then they all walked back to Vrindavan.
At the melodious sound of Krishna’s flute, the Gopis and Yashoda came running out, embraced their own sons with great affection and took them inside. The cows expressed intense love for their calves and gave milk twice as sweet. For a year, the parents of the Gopas and the cows felt extra love for their own children because Krishna is, and was, in every home and cowshed.
Brahma was confused. Surely by now the people of Vrindavan and cows would be in an extreme state of anxiety? But there was no news of panic or of even the slightest worry. Brahma decided to go down to Earth to investigate.
It seemed to Brahma like another ordinary day, with the boys laughing and playing and the calves grazing. “But how is this possible?” he wondered. Brahma went to check if they were still there.
They were quite safe and fast asleep where he had put them in a trance! “But how?” thought Brahma as he went back to Earth. “I am the one and only creator! Or am I? Has Narayana given the power of creation to somebody else, too? And can they be as good at creation as I am?”
Overcome by Maya as he was, his thoughts started becoming poisoned by doubt and fear, and anger and jealousy. Brahma knew that the only way to win over Bhagavan’s grace was to meditate upon the Lord with a single-pointed mind. So he went back and started to meditate. As he meditated, an image of Sri Krishna blossomed in his mind. Lord Brahma saw that all the Gopas and calves turned into the smiling lotus face of Bhagavan. Realization dawned upon him. Sri Krishna was the essence of every living soul. He was the original creator. He, Brahma, was just an instrument. Overcome with shame, and humbled, Brahma went to Vrindavan and fell at Lord Krishna’s feet. He apologized, and returned the Gopas and calves.
This leela shows that to prevent being overcome by Maya, we must completely surrender to Bhagavan. Once we say the words “I”, “me”, “my” or “mine”, our ego takes over and Maya blinds us to the Truth.
Aparna Prabhakar, 10 years, San Jose, CA