This chapter describes the childhood pastimes of Nityananda up to his twelfth year, during which time he re-enacted the divine pastimes of Krishna, Rama, Vamana, and the other avataras of Vishnu. This chapter also describes his tour of different holy places which continued until his twentieth year.
On the order of Gaura Krishna, Ananta Deva had already made his appearance in the village of Ekachakra in Radhadesh. In this way, Nityananda Prabhu appeared like the moon from the sea of the womb of Padmavati, the wife of Hadai Oja. And just like the rising moon, he dispelled all the darkness covering the land of Radha by his auspicious appearance. As a child, Nityananda constantly played with his boyhood friends imitating the pastimes of Krishna.
Once, his friends took the role of the assembly of gods, who were desirous of petitioning the Lord to relieve the burden of evil oppressing the Earth. Nityananda Prabhu took with him a child who was dressed as the earth, and together with the children who acted the roles of the different assembled gods, he went to the banks of the river Ganges. There he addressed the Lord who rests in the ocean of milk, Kshirodakshayi Vishnu. At that time, one of the children took the part of Lord Vishnu, and hiding unseen by the other children spoke in a grave voice that all could hear: "I shall surely be born in Goloka Mathura to lighten the burden of the Earth."
And so Nityananda Prabhu enacted the different pastimes of Krishna that the Lord performed during the Dvapara age. He enacted the pastimes of the marriage of Vasudeva and Devaki, the birth of Shri Krishna in the prison of Kamsa, the journey of Vasudeva to Nandagram and how he carried Krishna over the Yamuna river, as well as his return from Nandagram and how he brought Mahamaya who had just appeared as the daughter of Yashoda with him.
He enacted the slaying of Putana, the breaking of the cart, Krishna's butter stealing pastimes, the slaying of the demons, Dhenuka, Agha, and Baka. He also displayed the pastimes of the pasturing of the cows, the lifting of Govardhan hill, the stealing of the gopis clothes and the Lord's bestowal of mercy upon the wives of the sacrificial brahmanas. He performed the pastimes of sending secret advice to Kamsa in the guise of Narada, the killing of the Kuvalaya elephant and the wrestlers Chanura and Mustika, and the killing of Kamsa.
Nityananda Prabhu also enacted the pastime of Vamana Deva's cheating Bali of the three worlds, and took the role of Ramachandra. His friends acting the part of monkey soldiers pretended to build a bridge of floating stones across the ocean, in imitation of the pastimes of Rama. Once, Nityananda took the part of Lakshman, and, bow in hand, would storm the palace of Sugriva. Once he took the part of Rama Himself, enacting the pastime of breaking Parashurama's pride. Once, taking the role of Lakshman he pretended to kill Indrajit and then swoon, hit by the powerful arrows of Ravana, the demon-king. He would enact the pastime of having the medicine from Gandamadana Hill brought by Hanuman and would recover from his wounds after receiving the medicine.
Nityananda spent twelve years enacting these kinds of pastimes. At that time, he went to visit the different holy places in order to purify them from the sins left behind by the pilgrims who visit them.
He toured the holy places in both Northern and Southern India, on the pretext of pilgrimage and in this way was occupied until his twentieth year when he arrived in Navadwipa and met Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. In the course of his wandering through the different holy places, Nityananda Prabhu met Madhavendra Puri, Ishvara Puri, and Brahmananda Puri. Nityananda passed many days enjoying the ecstasy of Krishna-katha in the company of Madhavendra Puri and his disciples. He then visited Setubandha, Danatirtha, Mayapuri, Avanti, Godavari Jiyura Nrismha, Devapari, Trimala, Kurmakshetra and many other holy places. At last he arrived at Jagannatha Puri, where he took darshan of Jagannatha Deva and was profoundly moved to ecstasy upon seeing the Deity. From Jagannatha Puri, he returned again to Mathura. The chapter closes with an explanation of Lord Nityananda's renunciation.
Lord Nityananda who is identical with the powerful Balarama himself, manifest during this period his pastimes of preaching the Holy Name in love of God. The chapter concludes with a description of greatness of Nityananda Balarama.
Text of Chapter
All glories to Shri Krishna Chaitanya, the ocean of mercy. All glories to Nityananda Prabhu, the friend of the helpless. All glories to the life and soul of Shri Advaita Chandra. All glories to He who is the only shelter of Shrivasa and Gadadhara. All glories to Vishvambhara, the son of Jagannatha Mishra and Sachi Devi who is always beloved by His Devotees and followers.
Before the advent of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Ananta Deva himself had appeared on the order of the Lord. He took birth in the Radhadesh to help enact the divine lila of the Lord. His father's name was Hadai Oja and his mother's name was Padmavati. He appeared in the village of Ekachakra within the land of Gauda. From infancy he was sober, highly intelligent and supremely qualified. The baby boy was millions of times more beautiful than cupid.
From the moment of his birth there appeared within the Radhadesh, all-auspicious symptoms. All varieties of famine, poverty, and unhappiness immediately disappeared. On the day that Shri Gaurachandra made His advent in Shridhama Navadwipa, Nityananda Prabhu shouted with joy. The vast universe was pervaded with the sound of his cries and the whole world became astonished. Some said, "The thunderbolt has descended to Earth." Many could understand that the mighty disturbance was the result of some divine power. Some said, "We know the cause. The master of Gauda has spoken in a voice of thunder." And in this way, everyone gave their different opinions. But by the power of the illusory energy of Krishna, no one could recognize the transcendental position of Nityananda Prabhu.
In this way, keeping his divine nature unmanifest, the supreme Lord, Nityananda Prabhu delighted in the company of children. In all the games that the Lord played with the children, Krishna was the center. Indeed, their play was nothing but the lila of the Lord. Nityananda Prabhu would hold an assembly of the gods with one of the children acting the part of the Earth presenting the petition of the demigods to the supreme Lord Vishnu. All of them would go along with the Earth to the banks of the river where together they would pray to the hidden Lord of the universe, Kshirodakshayi Vishnu. Unseen by all, one of the boys would loudly proclaim from his hiding place, "I will shortly be born in the cowherd village of Mathura."
Another day, Nityananda Prabhu and his childhood friends would gather in the village to celebrate the marriage of Vasudeva and Devaki. Once, having made their playhouse into the prison of Kamsa, he re-enacted the pastime of Krishna's divine appearance in the dead of night. Nityananda Prabhu built a cowherd settlement and took Krishna there, deceiving Kamsa by substituting Yogamaya for Krishna within the prison.
Another time he dressed up one of his childhood friends as Putana, while another boy, climbing his body pretended to such his breast like the baby Krishna. Once, having built a cart made of reeds with the help of the children, Nityananda Prabhu broke it. Nityananda Prabhu would bring his childhood friends to the house of the local milkman and steal milk and yogurt, following in the footsteps of Krishna. His friends never left his company, nor would they return to their homes, but day and night they would play in the company of Nityananda Prabhu.
Nor did their mothers and fathers complain, but all loved Nityananda with their hearts and souls. He would hold his relatives and friends in affectionate embrace. Upon beholding his amazing childhood pastimes, everyone would say, "We have never seen such wonderful playing. How is it possible that this child has learned all these activities of Krishna."