I worship Vatsaharaṇa-sthalī, where the curious creator Lord Brahmā, eager to behold the lovely glories of his Lord Sri Krishna, swiftly kidnapped his calves and cowherd boys, after which Sri Hari assumed the forms of all these calves and cowherd boys himself and delighted their mothers, the cows and the elderly gopīs, by eating the dishes they offered him.
draṣṭuṁ sākṣāt svapiti mahimodrekam utkena dhātrā
vatsa-vrāte drutam apahṛte vatsapālotkare ca
tat-tad-rūpo harir atha bhavan yatra tat-tat-prasūnāṁ
modaṁ cakre’śanam api bhaje vatsa-hāra-sthalīṁ tām
Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā: In this verse Raghunath Das Goswami praises Vatsaharaṇa-sthalī, the place where Sri Brahmā stole Sri Krishna’s calves and cowherd boys. In Śrīmad Bhāgavatam it is described how the four-faced Brahmā, eager to behold Sri Krishna’s lovely glories, stole his calves and cowherd boys and how Sri Krishna then delighted the loving cows and boys’ mothers by assuming the forms of all the calves and cowherd boys and enjoying the dishes they affectionately offered him:
Sri Śuka Muni said (Śrīmad Bhāgavata 10.13.15-24): “O greatest of Kuru-kings! From the aerial path, lotus-born Brahmā saw Sri Krishna’s pastime of killing Aghasur and this astonished him greatly. Understanding that it was time to relish more of the sweet childhood pastimes of the Universal Lord Sri Krishna, he came to Sri Vrindavan, took Sri Krishna’s calves and cowherd boys to another place and disappeared.
“Sri Krishna went looking for his calves in the woods and, when he could not find them, he came to the bank of the Yamuna. There he saw that he had also lost his cowherd boyfriends he began to look for them too, searching in all the four directions.
“Although Sri Krishna is omniscient, absorbed in his childhood-pastimes he went hunting for his calves and cowherd boyfriends in all the woods, but could not find them anywhere. Then he understood that it was all the work of Brahmā.
“So, to increase the transcendental bliss of the loving cows and elderly gopīs and Lord Brahmā, who was so eager to behold his glories, Vrajendranandana, the Supreme Person, who is the origin of even the universal creators the Puruṣāvatāras, personally assumed the forms of the innumerable calves and cowherd boys.
“He manifested the forms of the calves and boys, with exactly the same small bodies, hands, feet, sticks, flutes, horns, lunch-bags, dresses, ornaments, natures, attributes, names, forms, pastimes and behavior towards their mothers and fathers. In this way he proved the truth of the scriptural saying, sarvaṁ viṣṇu-mayaṁ jagat, ‘All that we see in the universe is Viṣṇu.’
“After this Sri Krishna, having assumed the forms of all the calves and cowherd boys, left the forest, his own forms playing with him in his original form) and entered Vraja while playing with them and resounding his flute.
“O King! Sri Krishna, who had now assumed the forms of Śrīdāma and Subala, drove all his individual cows over different paths, made them enter into their individual barns and himself entered into the individual homes.
“When the mothers of the cowherd boys like Śrīdāma and Subala heard the flute-song, they quickly rose to their feet and came running out to lift the Supreme Brahman Sri Krishna, who was offering his obeisances to their feet, up from the courtyard with their arms, held him on their laps, tightly embraced him and made him drink their breast-milk, which was tasty like nectar and intoxicating like wine and which trickled from their nipples out of pure motherly love.
“Then the mothers, as usual, massaged Sri Krishna, who had assumed the forms of innumerable cowherd boys, with fragrant oil, bathed him, anointed his limbs with sandalwood pulp, dressed and ornamented him in a wonderful way, put wonderful protecting tilaka on his body, fed him, asked him what had happened that day out in the meadows, heard his stories and put him to sleep in bed.
“When Sri Krishna, who had assumed the forms of innumerable cowherd boys, was thus cuddled by the mothers he experienced unlimited bliss. In the evening the cows returned from the forest, entered into their barns, and began to affectionately lick their calves, that had come close to them, softly and deeply mooing, and fed them the milk that was trickling from their udders out of sheer motherly love.”
The place where Brahmā stole Sri Krishna’s calves and cowherd boys is known as Vatsaharaṇa-sthalī. The names that Vajranābha had given to these places, according to the pastimes that Sri Krishna performed there, are described in Bhakti-ratnākara as follows:
“Śrīnivāsa said: “Look, here is Vatsavana. Here the four-faced Brahmā stole the calves. Here is Unāi (Undi?) village. Here Krishna blissfully enjoyed different dishes with his friends. In this Bālahārā (Barahara) village the four-faced Brahmā blissfully kidnapped the cowherd boys. Behold this place called Parikhama (Parkham). Here the four-faced Brahmā tested Krishna. This place is known by all people as Sei. Here Brahmā was enchanted by Krishna’s illusory powers. Here Brahmā hid the boys and the calves he had stolen and here he also saw the same boys and calves in Krishna’s vicinity. Because he said sei ei (they are he) and ei sei (he is they), this village is called Sei.” [These villages are all in the Chaumuhan block in Mathura district.]
Raghunath Das Goswami says: “I worship this Vatsaharaṇa-sthalī.”
nija pati śrī kṛṣṇera, mañjula mahimā āro,
daraśana abhilāṣa tare.
brahmā yoto vatsagaṇa, śrī kṛṣṇera sakhāgaṇa,
druta sab apaharaṇa kore
“Desiring to see the lovely glories of his master Sri Krishna Brahmā quickly stole all of Sri Krishna’s calves and friends.”
śrī govinda kutūholī, dekhi brahmāra caturālī,
govatsa o sakhā-rūpa dhare
yoto vatsa sakhāgaṇe, tādera yoto mātṛgaṇe
nānā bhojya samarpaṇa kore
“Sri Govinda curiously beheld Brahmā’s cleverness and Personally assumed the forms of the calves and the boys, to whom their mothers offered different eatables.”
govinda bhojana kore, sei sei rūpa dhare,
mahānande bhāsiche sakale
nitya vraje kori vāsa, bhaji ei abhilāṣa,
manohara vatsahāra sthale
“Assuming their forms Govinda ate all these dishes, and thus everyone floated in oceans of great transcendental bliss. May I always live in Vraja. With this aspiration I worship this enchanting Vatsahāra Sthala.”
Commentary of Sri Radha Kund Mahant, Pandit Sri Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj is named Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā (a drop of the nectar of Stavāvalī), and was published in Gaurābda 503 (1989 A.D.) from Sri Krishna Chaitanya Shastra Mandir, Vrajananda Ghera, PO Radhakunda (district Mathura), U.P., India.
Devotional songs in Bengali that follow each commentary were composed by Dr. Haripada Sheel.