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On the eighth day of the light lunar quarter of Kartika, Sri Krishna gets permission from His father Nanda to start herding the cows instead of the calves. Srimad Bhagavata (10.15.1) states:


<center>tatazca paugaNDa vayaH zritau vraje

babhUvatus tau pazupAla sammatau

gAz cArayantau sakhibhiH samaM padair

vRndAvanam puNyam atIva cakratuH</center>

“When Krishna and Balarama attained the pauganda-age (six to ten) in Vraja, the cowherdmen give Them permission to herd the cows (instead of just the calves). The footprints of the two divine boys beautified the land of Vrindavana.” And in the Padma Purana, Kartika Mahatmya, it is said:


<center>zuklASTamI kArtike tu smRtA gopASTamI budhaiH

tad dinAd vAsudevo’bhUd gopaH pUrvaM tu vatsapaH</center>

“From the eighth day of the light quarter of Kartika, which is remembered by the wise as ‘gopastami’, Vasudeva became a cowherd, whereas previously He just herded calves.” On this day all the vigrahas (deities) of Srimati Radharani in Vraja are dressed like cowherd boys, and this is the only day in the year that devotees are able to have Her blessed carana darsana (sight of Her lotus feet).

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On this day Radhika is able to join Krishna for His gostha lila (cowherding pastimes), disguised as a cowherd boy. How does She manage that?


On this day Krishna feels great separation from Sri Radhika in the morning. His friend Subala (who looks just like Radhika) decides to help Him out by saying, “Just sit and wait here, Kanai! I will bring Your beloved here in no time!” He hurries over to Yavata, the village where Sri Radhika lives (with Her husband), and knocks on the door of Her mother-in-law Jatila’s house. Jatila opens the door and asks him: “Subala, what do you want here?”


Subala says: “I’m looking for one of my calves! My friends saw it wandering around here somewhere! Can I look for it in your yard?”

Jatila says: “Well, I suppose so!”


Subala slips inside the house and goes straight to Sri Radhika’s quarters. Radhika is a little surprised when She sees Krishna’s dear friend Subala inside Her room and She ask him: “Subala! How is Kana (Krishna)? Can You help Me to meet Him somehow?”

Subala says: “Sure! Just put on my cowherd’s dress and go straight out of the door! When You meet Jatila You just tell her: “Thank you for letting Me search for My calve! I’m carrying it along under My scarf!” In this way You can explain the big volume of Your breasts under Your cowherdboy-scarf!”

Sri Radhika and Subala then exchange clothes and Radhika thus manages to escape from Jatila’s vigilance, strictly following Subala’s instructions. Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami says: subala nyasta sarupya: “Sri Radhika has invested Her own form in Subala”. From this story we can understand for which purpose She has done this.


When Radhika, dressed as Subala, comes to Krishna, She decides to play a trick on Him. She pretends to be Subala and tells Krishna: “Sorry, Kanai! I didn’t manage to bring Sri Radhika to You! But don’t worry anyway! I met Candravali on the way and she says that she’s all ready for You, so if you want You can go to her!” Krishna passes the test, though, and wails: “Radhe! I only want You! How can I meet You somehow?” Seeing how faithful Krishna is to Her, Sri Radhika becomes very pleased. She reveals Her real identity to Krishna and gives Him a warm embrace.

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The aforementioned excerpts are taken from Sri Advaitadasji's translation of an appendix of Siddha Sri Krishna Das Baba's Gutika, available for download from our literature-page.


The aforementioned pastime with Subala and Radha is also narrated by Pandit Sri Ananta Das Babaji with some more details in his commentary of Sri Raghunatha Das Gosvami's Stavavali, and can be read here.

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