Tales from Srimad Bhagavatam: A Handful of Aranyaka Fruits – XLI


Nilanjana recounts the many Leelas (cosmic games) of Lord Krishna, as a child. Here’s an interesting story, in the weekly column, exclusively in Different Truths. 

One day little Krishna was busy playing, as usual. But a sound from a distance caught his attention. As he listened carefully, the voice became clearer. Gradually the voice drew nearer. Someone was calling out, “Fruits! Jambul fruits!”

Little Krishna ran to the door and saw a fruit-seller with a basket of fruits on her head. He called out to her. As she stopped, he said, “Give me some fruits. I love them.” Enchanted with the child’s lisp, the woman halted. She smiled at Krishna and sat down putting the basket of fruits on the floor.

“Do you want fruits?” The woman asked.

“Yes.” Little Krishna responded.

“I will give you the fruits. But you will have to pay for them.”

Now, little Krishna was hearing this term for the first time. He asked, “Pay? What is that?”

The woman explained, “If I give you the fruits, you will have to give me something in return.”

Little Krishna thought for a moment and offered, “I can give you grains. Will you give me the fruits then?”

“Oh yes! That sounds fine.” The lady sat down to choose the best fruits from her basket for the child.

Meanwhile, little Krishna ran inside to the storage chamber and with his little pink palms grabbed as much grain as he could. He then ran back to the lady sitting at his doorstep with the fruits. He did not even realise that his little fists could not hold the grains. They kept falling all along the passage as he ran to the door. As he reached her, he opened his pinks fists, “Here are the grains. Now give me the fruits.”

The lady saw the empty pink hands and then looked a little ahead. She could see the trail of grains that lay on the floor as the child expectantly held his palms out. She filled his hands with the best fruits from her basket.

Later, when the lady reached home, she found her basket rather heavy. She managed to place the basket on the ground and looked inside. Her basket was full of precious gems. She wondered a lot, but could not solve the riddle.

Many stories from Indian mythology promise a Phalasruti (benefit of listening). Divinity, masked as the little child, asked for Aranyaka fruits from someone who thought she was poor. She did not hesitate to give the best though she did not get any material benefits in return. The Phalasruti says that those who listen to this story will not need any ‘aranyakas’ to reach the divine when the time comes.

(To be continued)

Footnote: Srimad Bhagavatam is often called the Bhagavad Purana. Authored by Ved Vyasa, the stories are about the various avatars (incarnations) of Lord Vishnu, also known as Narayana.

©Nilanjana Dey

Photos from the Internet

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