The Sleeping Full-Moon Beauty of Vrindavan

The nature of Krishna’s spiritual pastimes is such that every step is a dance, every word is a song and every action has multiple layers of meanings in it. Glorious are poets like Śrī Harisūri who reveal to us these immensely deep meanings even in those activities of the Lord that may appear to have no deeper meaning.

The Śrīmad-bhāgavatam (Canto 10, Chapter 7) describes how Krishna was an infant and how he started rising up and turning around on his back at the age of three months. When Mother Yashoda saw this, she immediately arranged for a festival with the help of all the ladies of Vrindavan.

In verse number (10.7.5), the Bhāgavatam describes how Mother Yashoda bathed baby Krishna on that day and then received all the guests beginning with the brāhmaṇas. All these guests brought many wonderful gifts for Krishna, but the transcendental autocrat that he is, he decided to pretend to fall asleep at that very moment and almost closed his eyes.

Usually, it is considered rude for a host to fall asleep in front of a guest, but our devotee poet Harisūri describes the reason why the Lord chose to act half-asleep even after having taken a fresh bath. Harisūri says:

शिष्टाचार इतीदृगित्युपगतप्रज्ञो जनो मामयं
स्नेहार्द्रं कुरुतेऽथवाऽनुपधिकं प्रेमर्धिकामो मयि ।
आस्ते इत्यपहाय कार्यमपरं पश्यामि तूष्णीं किमि-
त्यासीन्मीलितदृक् शयालुरिव तत्सत्यावगत्यै प्रभुः ॥
(Sing like ṣaḍ-gosvāmy aṣṭakam):
śiṣṭācāra itīdṛg ity upagata-prajño jano mām ayaṁ
snehārdraṁ kurute ‘thavā ‘nupadhikaṁ premardhi-kāmo mayi
āste ity apahāya kāryam aparaṁ paśyāmi tūṣṇīṁ kim ity
āsīn mīlita-dṛk śayālur iva tat-satyāvagatyai prabhuḥ

[The Lord thought], “All these people are showering their affection on me. Is it because they are following a social convention for the sake of formality, or is it because they desire to increase their causeless love towards me? Giving up all other activities, I wish to remain quiet and evaluate their mood.”

Thus, in order to determine the true intention of the guests, the Lord partially closed his eyes, as if he was sleeping.

— Bhakti-rasāyanam of Harisūri on Śrīmad-bhāgavatam (10.7.5). Translation by Hari Parshad Das.

PS: In other words, a truly affectionate person will express affection even if their beloved is sleeping.  Others who have come just for the sake of formality will notice the sleeping person and will use it as an excuse to not express any feelings.

All the best,

Rukmini Walker