(1) S'rî S'uka said: 'You've asked very good questions and that way you are most fortunate, o best of the devotees, because you lend a new charm in your wish to hear the stories about the Lord again and again. (2) It is this what sets apart the truthful who accepted the essence of life: that which is the aim of life, the purpose of their understanding and comes first in their mind, appears, when they talk it over in relation to the Infallible One, every time, despite of the repetition, to be new to them, just like every woman seems to be new to a womanizer. (3) Please listen carefully o King, I'll relate it to you even though it is a confidential subject, for even the hidden things are by gurus described to a loving disciple.
(4) After He had saved all the boys and calves from the mouth of that deadly Agha, brought the Supreme Lord them to the river bank and spoke He these words: (5) 'Oh how beautiful this bank is, dear friends, with all its opportunity to play, its soft and clean sands, the aroma of the blooming lotuses attracting the bumblebees and the sounds of the chirping birds all around in the many trees! (6) Let's eat here, it is late now and we're weak from hunger; after drenching the calves in the water, can they at ease eat from the grasses nearby.' (7) As said allowed they the calves to drink from the water, took they them to the tender grasses, opened they their lunch bags and enjoyed they happily eating together with the Supreme Lord. (8) In a wide circle facing inward with a happy face grouped the boys of Vraja around Krishna and looked they thus sitting down in the forest as beautiful as the petals and leaves that make up the whorl of a lotus flower. (9) To enjoy their meal made some of them use of flowers as a plate while others used bunches of leaves, twigs, fruits, their own packets, the bark of trees or a slab of rock. (10) Each of them allowing the others a taste of their own favorite food, amused they themselves having fun in taking their lunch with the Lord. (11) With His flute tucked away in His belt and with the horn and the prod at His left side, took He the yogurt rice and tasty fruits between His fingers. Keeping Himself in the middle of the circle of His comrades made He them laugh telling His jokes. And thus saw the denizens of heaven how the Enjoyer of all Sacrifices was enjoying His childhood pastimes. (12) O scion of Bharata, while the Infallible One this way was eating together with the cowherds so close to Him, had the calves looking for grass wandered deep into the forest. (13) Seeing that said Krishna, the Fear of Fear, to the boys caught in anxiety: 'O friends, remain seated, I'll bring the calves right back here!' (14) Saying this went Krishna, the Supreme Lord, with a bit of food in His hand, out to look for the calves of His friends everywhere in the mountains, the caves, the bushes and the bowers.
(15) He born from the lotus [Brahmâ] residing in the beyond was very charmed by the way the Lord enchanted the boys and just to see more of it took He the boys and their calves to hide them elsewhere, o man of the Kuru bond. This authority from heaven who before had witnessed the deliverance of Aghâsura had grown very astonished of the All-potent Personality [see footnote*]. (16) When He couldn't spot the calves and cowherd boys anywhere searched Krishna every nook and corner of the forest. (17) Nor finding the calves or their caretakers elsewhere in the woods understood Krishna, well aware of everything going on in the universe, immediately that this was the work of Vidhi [Lord Brahmâ]. (18) Thereupon expanded Krishna, as the Controller managing the entire universe, Himself to both the forms [of cow and calf], so as to please as well their mothers as him [Brahmâ]. (19) Perfectly alike the cowherd boys and their tender calves with the same size of legs and hands, with likewise bugles, flutes, sticks and bags and such; with the same ornaments and dress in all respects; with exactly their character, habits, features, attributes and traits, and of the same games and play, assumed the Unborn One as Vishnu expanding similar in every detail the words and physique of their identity. (20) Personally thus in different ways enjoying the company He offered Himself in the form of the calves and the herding boys, entered He, the Soul of All, next Vraja. (21) Separately bringing Himself as different calves to different cowsheds entered He, in His expanding having divided Himself in different persons, thus the different houses o King. (22) Their mothers, as soon as they heard the sound of their flutes, immediately abandoned what they were doing and lifted them as feathers up in their arms to hug them and allow them, being wet of affection, to drink from their nectarean breast milk; and thus feeding their sons were they of respect for the Supreme Lord. (23) Every time Mâdhava thus in the evening came home, o ruler of man, having finished what He had to do, took they care of Him by massaging, bathing, oiling and decorating Him, chanting mantra's for His protection, marking Him with tilaka and sumptuously feeding [all the boys He was]. (24) Also the calves who were taken to their sheds were directely called by their loudly mooing mothers who, each followed by their own calf, licked them time and again and fed them with the milk flowing from their udders. (25) Cow and gopî were in this of their usual motherly affection, but there was an increase of love for them they hadn't felt before, as well as a direct response from their children which, having now Him for their son, was without the bewildering [of the 'I' and 'mine']. (26) For the time of a year increased thus with all inhabitants of Vraja gradually but constantly the creeper of the dedication for their children the way they now, unlike before, were as loving with their children as they had been with Krishna. (27) This was the way how the Supreme Soul, who all by Himself in the form of the cowherd boys tended Himself as the calves, maintained Himself for a whole year, playing happily in the community and the forest.
(28) One day, five or six days before a whole year had passed, entered the Unborn Lord, together with Balarâma taking care of the calves, the forest. (29) In the vicinity of Vraja looking for grass with their calves, were they next spotted by the mother cows who nearby were pasturing on top of Govardhana hill. (30) The moment they saw them forgot they, driven by their love, the herd and broke they, despite of the difficult path, with their necks raised to their humps in gallop away from their caretakers, heads and tails up and dripping milk while they loudly mooing sped for them. (31) As the cows with their calves united at the foot of the hill licked they, despite of having calved again, their limbs and fed they them anxiously with the milk flowing from them as if they were newly born calves. (32) The gopas frustrated of trying to keep them from the difficult and dangerous path, felt greatly ashamed of having gotten angry when they, reaching there, saw their sons with the cows and calves. (33) With their minds bathing in a mood of utter, transcendental love melted with that great attraction their anger away as snow before the sun and experienced they, lifting their boys next up in their arms to embrace them, smelling their heads, the highest pleasure. (34) Thereafter, overjoyed with the embraces, could the elderly gopas only with difficulty tear themselves away from them and had they tears in their eyes upon the memory. (35) When Balarâma saw the abundance of love and the constant attachment of all the inhabitants of Vraja, however grown away their children were from the mother breast, couldn't He phathom the reason for this and wondered He: (36) 'What is this wonder happening? The divine love [prema] of all here in Vraja and including Me for the children and Vâsudeva, the Soul of the Perfect Complete, has never been that big! (37) Who would be behind this, what is its origin; is it a divine being, is it a woman or a she-devil? In any case must it be the special grace [Mâyâ-devî] of My Sustainer, who else could bewilder Me this way?' (38) Thinking it over saw He through the eye of transcendence all the calves along with their companions as [none other than] the Lord of Vaikunthha. (39) 'These boys are no [incarnated] masters of enlightenment, nor are these calves great sages. You alone, o Supreme Controller, are the One manifesting in all the diversity of existence. How can You at the same time be everything that exists, tell Me, what exactly is Your word to this?'; and by that mastery and presence of mind arrived Baladeva at an understanding of the situation [**].
(40) The selfborn one [Brahmâ] after so long a time returning, even though it was but a moment to his own reckoning [see kalpa], saw that one year later the Lord along with His expansions was playing like He did before. (41) [He said to himself:] 'Because the many of all the boys in Gokula along with their calves are fast asleep on the bed of my deluding power can it not be so that they today would have risen again. (42) Therefore I wonder where these ones came from; they are different from the ones bewildered by my power of illusion, yet there is the same number of them for a whole year playing together with Vishnu!' (43) This way for a long time contemplating the difference between them could he, the selfborn one, by no means determine who now was real and who not. (44) And so was even he, the one unseen, by his own mystic power in fact bewildered - he indeed who wanted to mystify Vishnu, the One who Himself, being above all misconception, mystifies the entire universe. (45) As futile as the obscurity of a fog during the night and the light of a glowworm during the day will a person of a lesser mystic potency realize nothing but his own destruction if he tries to use his power against a great personality. (46) And as he, the one self-born, watched them were calf and cowherd the very moment seen by him as having a complexion of rain clouds and being dressed in yellow silk. (47-48) With four arms, with the conch, the disc, the club and the lotus, with helmets, earrings, necklaces and garlands of forest flowers; with the s'rîvatsa, the jewel to Their conch-striped necks and with bracelets around Their wrists; with ornaments at Their feet and bangles on Their ankles appeared They most beautiful with Their belts and rings around Their fingers. (49) From head to toe were all Their limbs covered by strings of fresh, soft tulsî that was offered by those of great merit [see also 10.12: 7-11]. (50) With Their smiles bright as moonshine and the clear glances of Their reddish eyes were They, like the modes of [white] goodness and [reddish] passion, the creators and protectors of the desires of Their own devotees [compare 10.3: 20]. (51) The Laudable Primal Being [of Vishnu thus] was by the first being [of Brahmâ] down to the smallest clump of grass, with forms moving and not moving, in different ways worshiped with dance and song. (52) Each of Them was surrounded by all the glory of the perfections [siddhis, being like the smallest etc.], the mystic potencies with Ajâ [***] in front and the twenty-four elements of the creation with the complete of them [the mahat-tattva] first. (53) They were being worshiped by the time factor [kâla], the individual nature [svabhâva], reform [samskâra], desire [kâma], fruitive action [karma], the modes [guna] and others of whom, with each having assumed a form, the greatness was defeated by His glory [see also B.G. 13: 22]. (54) They being nothing but eternity, spiritual knowledge, the unlimited and the blissful, present in forms of the One Rapture, were in their glory of a greatness that is even out of reach for the seers engaged in philosophy [see also 1.2: 12 and *4]. (55) Thus saw the selfborn Brahmâ, all at the same time, the complete of Them as expansions of the Supreme Absolute Truth [para-brahman] by whose effulgence all of this, moving or not moving, is manifested. (56) Then by their glare stunned in bliss and shaken in all his eleven senses, fell the one selfborn silent just like a child's doll in the presence of the village deity.
(57) Understanding that the lord of Irâ [Brahmâ's consort Sarasvatî] thus was mystified by the refutation of all the irrelevant, by that [Supreme Brahman] what is known in the Vedas, by that self-manifest blissfulness above the material energy superseding his own glory and that he could not fathom what this all was, tore the One Never Born [Krishna] all at once away the veil of yogamâyâ [see also 7.7: 23]. (58) Then, with his external consciousness revived, stood he like a dead man up with difficulty and opened he his eyes to behold this universe along with himself. (59) That moment looking in all directions saw he situated in front of him Vrindâvana so dense with its trees and pleasing in all seasons sustaining the inhabitants. (60) There, in that residence of the Invincible One do man and beast, by nature inimical, live together like friends and has all anger, thirst and all that fled away. (61) There saw he, the one residing in the beyond [Brahmâ], Him, the Absolute Truth without a second, the Supreme unlimited of unfathomable knowledge, in having assumed the role of a child in a cowherd family, the way He was before all alone searching everywhere for His calves and boys with a morsel of food in His hand [*5]. (62) Seeing this he quickly came down from his carrier and fell with his body to the ground like a golden rod with the tips of his four crowns touching His two feet and performed he bowing a bathing ceremony with the pure water of his tears of joy. (63) Over and over thinking of what he had previously seen, rose and fell he for a long time again and again at the feet of Krishna, the greatness there present. (64) By and by then getting up again wiped he his eyes looking up at Mukunda and with his head bent over, a trembling body and a faltering voice extolled he Him humbly with folded hands and a concentrated mind.'