Nanda Baba is one of a kind.
He never knew of his position and power.
For him, the title of Vrajaraj (King of Vraja) simply means being everybody’s obedient servant.
Hence, if you were to make an idol of infinite humility, compassion and affection, the male version turns out to be Nanda Baba while its female version is Yashoda Maiya.
Nanda Baba’s Description
Nanda baba’s Complexion is not far from wheatish- gold.
Particularly, his Body bends where bulky.
He has a huge forehead and his eyes are deep, slightly red in color.
His dense beard hangs till his broad chest having a few strands of black hair.
The black and white hair on his forehead are rather curly.
He wears a Tulsi Mala around his neck.
Generally, a Red Vaishnava Tilak adorns his forehead.
He has a small protruding tummy and a deep navel.
Nanda Baba’s whole body appears to be covered with dense hair.
His dhoti is close to ochre color and he carries an upper cloth (उत्तरिय) with him.
The extraordinary Humility of Nanda Baba
By the way, he does wear a white turban on his head, but he avoids wearing the badge displaying his Vrajaraj status.
In fact, he wears it, only if forcibly topped over by a Chief Gopa on a festive occasion.
“Let that be.” Nanda Baba keeps telling this regarding the badge.
“When Neelamani (Krishna) grows a bit, and matures, he shall wear it.”
Actually, Neelamani looks like a king even without it. His peacock feather does the job.
In fact, the Gopas say- “Krishna doesn’t require another crown or turban.
He has been ruling our hearts, since His very birth.”
When it comes to agreeing, Baba shall agree to all of this.
But for him, his Neela mani, is a toddler, a little bundle of joy.
For him, he is a newborn milk-suckling kid and he is so innocent that he goes after a calf for milking.
Krishna plays on Nanda Maharaj’s lap
Now, Krishna sits on his father’s lap as he prances his finger in his navel.
Moreover, He is resting his tiny head on His Baba’s stomach and blowing air while He says- “Bhadam”.
He then claps his hands and lights up with laughter.
When was Krishna born to Nanda Baba?
The Gopas say-
“When Nanda Baba was 60 years of age, Krishna was born to him.”
Are the elderly Gopas dreaming while staying awake?
Can Krishna ever be born?
He is already so quick now.
If he were something, he must be playful.
Bhadra tells Krishna-
“Since always you were younger to me.
Go ask Yashoda Maiya and see.”
Nanda Baba’s active spirit
Nanda Baba isn’t old at all. If some strands of hair and moustache go white, can it be called old?
Even Bade Tau Upanandaji doesn’t seem old.
Besides, Nanda Baba looks after cows.
Not only his cows, but he also examines the barns of the elder Gopas.
He keeps a report of all the Gopas.
Whenever he is free, and gets to sit, except while doing Narayan Puja, the Gopas siege him and start discussing elite topics of sage and hermits.
Baba: the epitome of service
Baba has no limit to his worship.
Serving Narayan, Serving cows, serving bulls, serving sage Shandilya and his disciples.
Nanda Baba even bows before Madhumangala and worships him.
Such is his humility.
Even Madhumangala poses as a scholarly Pandit and begins to murmur something.
Krishna teases Madhumangal
Krishna says this rightly- “Baba, this Madhumangala is a bogus pandit.
Change his tilak to that of cowdung, but his food should always include Modak.”
Madhumangala will then build up a serious face and say-
“You are now a young host.
When you grow big you will understand the holy properties of cow dung.”
Where is Baba ever free to reply to us, children?
Even if a servant doesn’t call him, he has to visit the barn or hermitages of holy men.
It is only in the evening when we kids, grip him and lodge him on his huge wooden bed.
Baba, as he is, always listens to us.
When Baba returns, Dau sits clipping against his right arm.
Along with Krishna all the children will overpower him.
With Baba, all children are at the liberty to lean against him as he sits.
Whether you couple flowers on his hair or moustache, it is up to you.
He doesn’t object.
Nanda Baba, the story teller
God knows, how many tales Baba remembers.
The tales of cows, bulls, gods and goddesses, tales of seers and sages and also animal tales of Lion, bear and monkey.
Who has narrated so many stories to Baba?
Whatever story you demand, he starts with his narration.
Dau never insists on story-telling.
He leans against Baba’s shoulder as he hears the stories.
Krishna is most keen to hear stories, and even baba generously offers himself.
Nanda Baba and Krishna’s forest pastimes
Sometimes Baba asks Krishna-
“Did you meet the Bear in the forest?”
“He keeps grumbling and dances on getting up. If one of us sit on his back, will take us wherever we please.
When Krishna starts off, he never stops.
“You should not sit on the back of wild animals.”-But baba knows, Krishna wouldn’t listen like this.
So, he presents it differently.
“Wild animals rarely bathe!
Their bodies remain dirty.
Small insects can be hiding in the Bear’s hair.”
The children speak up- “But father, rabbit and squirrel will be clean.”
Anshu, Devapratha or another friend speak up-
“Even Horse and deer are also clean animals and monkeys, they love bathing.”
Baba has to ask everyday- “Neelamani, What did you do in the forest?”
When children start off in chorus, Krishna often gets defensive and also fights a little.
Nanda Baba, the most concerned parent
Baba has to keep Dau and Bhadra in confidence.
When reporting about climbing a tree or bathing in deep waters, Krishna would promptly intervene-
“But father, I had gone with Dau dada and Bhadra. Both were along with me.”
Don’t know why elders worry so much.
Even Baba showers loads of advice every day:
Don’t climb tall trees, don’t lay foot on thin branches.
Always bathe in the shore of a lake.
Do not pluck Lotus or Rose flowers, they are thorny.
Don’t run a lot.
Do not play under hot sun……”
If you wait to hear his entire lecture, he will quote discourses heard from sages, and the cows will never get to graze.
Sages think that we Gopakumaras keep forgetting their words.
So, they keep repeating the same advice all the time.
Even Elder Gopas think the same.
Whenever they find an opportunity, they keep repeating the same thing many times a day.
Krishna tired of advices
“Even I can tell this to Baba-
Baba, don’t go out in the sun.
Don’t venture out in the rain.”
But Maiya says-
“You should not instruct your elders.
Instead, you should quietly listen to them.”
However, Krishna sometimes rightly fights with his mother-
“But, Maiya, You are grown up.
Why don’t you scold or prohibit father from leaving the house in hot sunny days.”
Our Krishna is innocent.
He doesn’t know that Maiya can’t even scold a stray calf or dog.
How can she scold Baba?
And even if she does, will he listen to her?
Krishna complains about his calf
Krishna can anytime fight with his parents and say- “Baba, you don’t scold this Gaurav (Calf’s name). See how he is sitting on dung.”
But Baba says: He is a calf after all.
Anyways, Krishna can never understand Baba’s words.
“He is a calf, so what? He keeps jumping in the forest.
Also, he runs in the sun.
And during rains he runs like nobody else.
When taken for a bath, he troubles a lot.”
If Krishna sits to count faults he will go on and on.
But ultimately, he will reach there to pacify him.
Before baba pretends to scold or mentor Gaurav, Krishna will himself go and catch Gaurav’s head in both his hands and say-
“If you don’t listen to me, I will complaint to Bhadra, Dau and Yashoda Maiya.”
Baba would keep watching his Neelamani in a spellbound state.
This little child doesn’t even realize that an animal cannot follow his threat.
If Gaurav comes near him, he shall place his head on his lap and softly close his eyes.
Thanks for reading!
Extract from the Book Golok Ek Parivar (Author- Sudarshan Singh Chakra)