Skip to main content


Lord Caitanya’s Childhood Pastimes

Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has given a summary of this chapter in his Amṛta-pravāha-bhāṣya: “In the fourteenth chapter there is a description of how Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu enjoyed His childhood pastimes — crawling, crying, eating dirt and giving intelligence to His mother, favoring a brāhmaṇa guest, riding on the shoulders of two thieves and misleading them to His own house, and, on the plea of being diseased, taking prasādam in the house of Hiraṇya and Jagadīśa on the Ekādaśī day. The chapter further describes how He displayed Himself as a naughty boy, how when His mother fainted He brought a coconut to her on His head, how He joked with girls of the same age on the banks of the Ganges, how He accepted worshipful paraphernalia from Śrīmatī Lakṣmīdevī, how He sat down in a garbage pit and instructed His mother in transcendental knowledge, how He left the pit on the order of His mother, and how He dealt with His father with full affection.”

Text 1:
Things that are very difficult to do become easy to execute if one somehow or other simply remembers Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. But if one does not remember Him, even easy things become very difficult. To this Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu I offer my respectful obeisances.
Text 2:
All glories to Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Nityānanda Prabhu, Advaita Prabhu and all the devotees of Lord Caitanya!
Text 3:
I have thus described in brief the advent of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who appeared as the son of mother Śacī exactly as Kṛṣṇa appeared as the son of mother Yaśodā.
Text 4:
I have already briefly spoken about the pastimes of His birth in chronological order. Now I shall give a synopsis of His childhood pastimes.
Text 5:
Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the childhood pastimes of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself. Although such pastimes appear exactly like those of an ordinary child, they should be understood as various pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Text 6:
In His first childhood pastimes the Lord turned upside down while lying on His bed, and thus He showed His parents the marks of His lotus feet.
Text 7:
When the Lord tried to walk, in His small footprints the specific marks of Lord Viṣṇu were visible, namely the flag, thunderbolt, conchshell, disc and fish.
Text 8:
Seeing all these marks, neither His father nor His mother could understand whose footprints they were. Thus struck with wonder, they could not understand how those marks could be possible in their home.
Text 9:
Jagannātha Miśra said, “Certainly child Kṛṣṇa is with the śālagrāma-śilā. Taking His childhood form, He is playing within the room.”
Text 10:
While mother Śacī and Jagannātha Miśra were talking, child Nimāi woke up and began to cry, and mother Śacī took Him on her lap and allowed Him to suck her breast.
Text 11:
While mother Śacī was feeding the child from her breast, she saw on His lotus feet all the marks that were visible on the floor of the room, and she called for Jagannātha Miśra.
Text 12:
When Jagannātha Miśra saw the wonderful marks on the sole of his son, he became very joyful and privately called for Nīlāmbara Cakravartī.
Text 13:
When Nīlāmbara Cakravartī saw those marks, he smilingly said, “Formerly I ascertained all this by astrological calculation and noted it in writing.
Text 14:
“There are thirty-two bodily marks that symptomize a great personality, and I see all those marks on the body of this child.
Text 15:
“ ‘There are thirty-two bodily symptoms of a great personality: five of his bodily parts are large, five fine, seven reddish, six raised, three small, three broad and three grave.’
Text 16:
“This baby has all the symptoms of Lord Nārāyaṇa on His palms and soles. He will be able to deliver all the three worlds.
Text 17:
“This child will preach the Vaiṣṇava cult and deliver both His maternal and paternal families.
Text 18:
“I propose to perform a name-giving ceremony. We should observe a festival and call for the brāhmaṇas because today is very auspicious.
Text 19:
“In the future this child will protect and maintain all the world. For this reason He is to be called Viśvambhara.”
Text 20:
After hearing Nīlāmbara Cakravartī’s prediction, Śacīmātā and Jagannātha Miśra observed the name-giving festival in great joy, inviting all the brāhmaṇas and their wives.
Text 21:
After some days the Lord began to crawl on His knees, and He caused various wonderful things to be seen.
Text 22:
The Lord caused all the ladies to chant the holy names of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra on the plea of His crying, and while they chanted the Lord would smile.
Text 23:
After some days the Lord began to move His legs and walk. He mixed with other children and exhibited various sports.
Text 24:
One day while the Lord was enjoying His playful sports with the other little children, mother Śacī brought a dish filled with fused rice and sweetmeats and asked the child to sit down and eat them.
Text 25:
But when she returned to her household duties, the child hid from His mother and began to eat dirt.
Text 26:
Seeing this, mother Śacī hastily returned and exclaimed, “What is this! What is this!” She snatched the dirt from the hands of the Lord and inquired why He was eating it.
Text 27:
Crying, the child inquired from His mother, “Why are you angry? You have already given Me dirt to eat. What is My fault?
Text 28:
“Fused rice, sweetmeats and all other eatables are but transformations of dirt. This is dirt, that is dirt. Please consider. What is the difference between them?
Text 29:
“This body is a transformation of dirt, and the eatables are also a transformation of dirt. Please reflect upon this. You are blaming Me without consideration. What can I say?”
Text 30:
Astonished that the child was speaking Māyāvāda philosophy, mother Śacī replied, “Who has taught You this philosophical speculation that justifies eating dirt?”
Text 31:
Replying to the Māyāvāda idea of the child philosopher, mother Śacī said, “My dear boy, if we eat earth transformed into grain, our body is nourished, and it becomes strong. But if we eat dirt in its crude state, the body becomes diseased instead of nourished, and thus it is destroyed.
Text 32:
“In a waterpot, which is a transformation of dirt, I can bring water very easily. But if I poured water on a lump of dirt, the lump would soak up the water, and my labor would be useless.”
Text 33:
The Lord replied to His mother, “Why did you conceal self-realization by not teaching Me this practical philosophy in the beginning?
Text 34:
“Now that I can understand this philosophy, no more shall I eat dirt. Whenever I am hungry I shall suck your breast and drink your breast milk.”
Text 35:
After saying this, the Lord, smiling slightly, climbed on the lap of His mother and sucked her breast.
Text 36:
Thus under various excuses the Lord exhibited His opulences as much as possible in His childhood, and later, after exhibiting such opulences, He hid Himself.
Text 37:
On one occasion the Lord ate the food of a brāhmaṇa guest three times, and later, in confidence, the Lord delivered that brāhmaṇa from material engagement.
Text 38:
In His childhood the Lord was taken away by two thieves outside His home. The Lord, however, got up on the shoulders of the thieves, and while they were thinking they were safely carrying the child to rob His ornaments, the Lord misled them, and thus instead of going to their own home the thieves came back to the home of Jagannātha Miśra.
Text 39:
Pretending to be sick, the Lord asked some food from the house of Hiraṇya and Jagadīśa on the Ekādaśī day.
Text 40:
As usual for small children, He learned to play, and with His playmates He went to the houses of neighboring friends, stealing their eatables and eating them. Sometimes the children fought among themselves.
Text 41:
All the children lodged complaints with Śacīmātā about the Lord’s fighting with them and stealing from the neighbors’ houses. Therefore sometimes she used to chastise or rebuke her son.
Text 42:
Śacīmātā said, “Why do You steal others’ things? Why do You beat the other children? And why do You go inside others’ houses? What do You not have in Your own house?”
Text 43:
Thus rebuked by His mother, he Lord would go in anger to a room and break all the pots within it.
Text 44:
Then Śacīmātā would take her son on her lap and pacify Him, and the Lord would be very much ashamed, admitting His faults.
Text 45:
Once the child, Caitanya Mahāprabhu, chastised His mother with His soft hand, and His mother pretended to faint. Seeing this, the Lord began to cry.
Text 46:
The neighboring ladies told Him, “Dear child, please bring a coconut from somewhere, and then Your mother will be cured.”
Text 47:
He then went outside the house and immediately brought two coconuts. All the ladies were astonished to see such wonderful activities.
Text 48:
Sometimes the Lord would go with other children to bathe in the Ganges, and the neighboring girls would also come there to worship various demigods.
Text 49:
When the girls engaged in worshiping the different demigods after bathing in the Ganges, the young Lord would come there and sit down among them.
Text 50:
Addressing the girls, the Lord would say, “Worship Me, and I shall give you good husbands or good benedictions. The Ganges and goddess Durgā are My maidservants. What to speak of other demigods, even Lord Śiva is My servant.”
Text 51:
Without the permission of the girls, the Lord would take the sandalwood pulp and smear it on His own body, put the flower garlands on His neck, and snatch and eat all the offerings of sweetmeats, rice and bananas.
Text 52:
All the girls became very angry at the Lord for this behavior. “Dear Nimāi,” they told Him, “You are just like our brother in our village relationship.
Text 53:
“Therefore it does not behoove You to act like this. Don’t take our paraphernalia for worship of the demigods. Don’t create a disturbance in this way.”
Text 54:
The Lord replied, “My dear sisters, I give you the benediction that your husbands will be very handsome.
Text 55:
“They will be learned, clever and young and possess abundant wealth and rice. Not only that, but you will each have seven sons, who will all live long lives and be very intelligent.”
Text 56:
Hearing this benediction from Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, all the girls were inwardly very happy, but externally, as is natural for girls, they rebuked the Lord under the pretense of anger.
Text 57:
When some of the girls fled, the Lord called them in anger and advised them as follows:
Text 58:
“If you are miserly and do not give Me the offerings, every one of you will have an old husband with at least four co-wives.”
Text 59:
Hearing this supposed curse by Lord Caitanya, the girls, considering that He might know something uncommon or be empowered by demigods, were afraid that His curse might be effective.
Text 60:
The girls then brought the offerings before the Lord, who ate them all and blessed the girls to their satisfaction.
Text 61:
When this cunning behavior of the Lord with the girls became known to the people in general, it did not create misunderstandings among them. Rather, they enjoyed happiness in these dealings.
Text 62:
One day a girl of the name Lakṣmī, the daughter of Vallabhācārya, came to the bank of the Ganges to take a bath in the river and worship the demigods.
Text 63:
Seeing Lakṣmīdevī, the Lord became attached to her, and Lakṣmī, upon seeing the Lord, felt great satisfaction within her mind.
Text 64:
Their natural love for each other awakened, and although it was covered by childhood emotions, it became apparent that they were mutually attracted.
Text 65:
They both enjoyed natural pleasure in seeing each other, and under the pretext of demigod worship they manifested their feelings.
Text 66:
The Lord told Lakṣmī, “Just worship Me, for I am the Supreme Lord. If you worship Me, certainly you will get the benediction you desire.”
Text 67:
On hearing the order of the Supreme Lord, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Lakṣmī immediately worshiped Him, offering sandalwood pulp and flowers for His body, garlanding Him with mallikā flowers, and offering prayers.
Text 68:
Being worshiped by Lakṣmī, the Lord began to smile. He recited a verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and thus accepted the emotion she expressed.
Text 69:
“ ‘My dear gopīs, I accept your desire to have Me as your husband and thus worship Me. I wish your desire to be fulfilled because it deserves to be so.”’
Text 70:
After thus expressing their feelings to each other, Lord Caitanya and Lakṣmī returned home. Who can understand the grave pastimes of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu?
Text 71:
When the neighboring people saw the naughty behavior of Lord Caitanya, out of love for Him they lodged complaints with Śacīmātā and Jagannātha Miśra.
Text 72:
One day mother Śacī went to catch her son, wanting to rebuke Him, but He fled from the spot.
Text 73:
Although He is the maintainer of the entire universe, once the Lord sat upon some rejected pots in the pit where the remnants of food were thrown, after the pots had been used for cooking.
Text 74:
When mother Śacī saw her boy sitting on the rejected pots, she protested, “Why have You touched these untouchable pots? You have now become impure. Go and bathe in the Ganges.”
Text 75:
Hearing this, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu taught His mother about absolute knowledge. Although amazed by this, His mother forced Him to take a bath.
Text 76:
Sometimes, taking her son with her, mother Śacī would lie down on her bed, and she would see that denizens of the celestial world had come there, filling the entire house.
Text 77:
Once mother Śacī told the Lord, “Please go call Your father.” Receiving this order from His mother, the Lord went out to call him.
Text 78:
When the child was going out, there was a tinkling of ankle bells from His lotus feet. Hearing this, His father and mother were struck with wonder.
Text 79:
Jagannātha Miśra said, “This is a very wonderful incident. Why is there a sound of ankle bells from the bare feet of my child?”
Text 80:
Mother Śacī said, “I also saw another wonder. People were coming down from the celestial kingdom and crowding the entire courtyard.
Text 81:
“They made noisy sounds I could not understand. I guess they were offering prayers to someone.”
Text 82:
Jagannātha Miśra replied, “Never mind what it is. There is no need to worry. Let there always be good fortune for Viśvambhara. This is all I want.”
Text 83:
On another occasion, Jagannātha Miśra, seeing the mischievous acts of his son, gave Him lessons in morality after rebuking Him greatly.
Text 84:
On that very night, Jagannātha Miśra dreamt that a brāhmaṇa had come before him speaking these words in great anger:
Text 85:
“My dear Miśra, you do not know anything about your son. You think Him your son, and therefore you rebuke and chastise Him.”
Text 86:
Jagannātha Miśra replied, “This boy may be a demigod, a mystic yogī or a great saintly person. It doesn’t matter what He is, for I think He is only my son.
Text 87:
“It is the duty of a father to educate his son in both religion and morality. If I do not give Him this education, how will He know of it?”
Text 88:
The brāhmaṇa replied, “If your son is a transcendental mystic boy with self-effulgent perfect knowledge, what is the use of your education?”
Text 89:
Jagannātha Miśra replied, “Even if my son is not a common man but Nārāyaṇa, still it is the duty of a father to instruct his son.”
Text 90:
In this way Jagannātha Miśra and the brāhmaṇa discussed the principles of religion in the dream, yet Jagannātha Miśra was absorbed in unalloyed parental mellow and did not want to know anything else.
Text 91:
Being very pleased, the brāhmaṇa left after talking with Jagannātha Miśra, and when Jagannātha Miśra awakened from his dream, he was very much astonished.
Text 92:
He related the dream to his friends and relatives, and every one of them was very much astonished to hear of it.
Text 93:
In this way Gaurahari performed His childhood pastimes and day after day increased the pleasure of His parents.
Text 94:
After some days Jagannātha Miśra inaugurated the primary education of his son by performing the hāte khaḍi ceremony. Within a very few days the Lord learned all the letters and combinations of letters.
Text 95:
This is a synopsis of the childhood pastimes of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, placed herewith in chronological order. Vṛndāvana dāsa Ṭhākura has already elaborately explained these pastimes in his book Caitanya-bhāgavata.
Text 96:
I have therefore made only a brief summary. Being afraid of repetition, I have not elaborated upon this subject matter.
Text 97:
Praying at the lotus feet of Śrī Rūpa and Śrī Raghunātha, always desiring their mercy, I, Kṛṣṇadāsa, narrate Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, following in their footsteps.