Return Gift of Kanha's Birthday


The infant crimson rays spread out and enclosed the horizon and beyond… The mowing of the cows, the chirping of the birds, the raving of the Yamuna waves- all began to resonate in chorus to compose a divine music. Life rejuvenated in its entirety. The jingles in the air carried a joyful note all over Gokul. Yes! The joy of the residents of Gokul Village couldn't be possibly described in words that day. Indeed, it was an auspicious day, the Birthday of Kanha, their prince…


'Oh! It's my Kanhaiya's birthday…!' Sulekha Kaki woke up with a jerk. Certainly, it was her Kanha's birthday!!! He had turned into a lovely four year old. Kaki had to get ready quickly to reach Nand's palace. But…ohh... she was unable to move from her bed. She touched her forehead. She was down with fever.


With tears in her eyes, she thought of Yashoda, the mother of Kanha. Her thoughts transported her to Nand's palace- 'Yashoda must have spent last night cleaning and decorating the palace and this dawn would have brought thousand smiles on her face. Maharishi Shandilya must be performing holy yagya (ceremonies) in the open veranda of the palace…My darling Kanhaiya would soon come out…' Sulekha Kaki forced herself out of her bed. She just couldn't miss seeing the event to be held in the palace that day.


'Ahh…what a beautiful day it is!!!' The royal courtyard was already full. All hearts were pounding and awaiting their sweetheart Kanha- that mischievous smile on his divine countenance. It was just one glance of Kanha that all Gokul villagers could die for. …And there...There came the stealer of all hearts, everyone's beloved, Krishna Kanhaiya... The royal yellow robe, the curls wrapped in beads of pearls, the crown adorned with a peacock's feather, ears studded with gems, garlands made of rare stones around the neck and wrists, the anklets shimmering and royal… All hearts skipped a beat in admiration. Tears of joy rolled down the faces of the villagers on seeing their darling, who was accompanied by his mother Yashoda.

There he was, seated on a tall throne to receive the gifts from everyone. Sulekha Kaki, too, handed over her bundle of pancakes and kissed the bright forehead. Then, she stood in a corner to see Kanha receiving gifts from his dearest buddies.


The first to run was Sridama. His eyes shining and two fingers lifted, as if something precious was enclosed in them! Huff… Huff… he reached Kanha, making way through the swarm of visitors, breathing heavily and unable to speak a word. The little gopas, there, understood everything. Kanha gently held Sridama's fingers and marked the veneration on his own forehead. And lo... the villagers saw the mark on Kanha's forehead. It was not red or pink or yellow but deep brown in colour!! Hmm... So, Sridama had gifted Kanhaiya a pinch of fresh cow dung!! Nay, the love between the two had multiplied the dung's worth by a million.



Thereafter, it was Bhadra's turn. He too ran to Kanha. His gift was wrapped in a towel across his neck. Eagerly the two friends untied the knot and brought out ten smooth, round pebbles. 'Today, we will use these pebbles to play!!!' Kanha exclaimed with joy. Then came another buddy, Mahabala. In his fist, he was holding a thin stick with a flag on the top. With utmost care, he handed over his gift to his dearest playmate.


Ahh! What a sight of innocence and hilarity!!! Kanha was literally jumping, feeling rich with the newly gifted precious items by his friends.


Mother Yashoda, then, lovingly pulled out a large platter full of beautiful gems, precious stones, pearls, and jewels. 'Come Kanha, pick something for your friends. Wouldn't you like to give them some return gifts?'
Kanha looked at the plate thoughtfully. With a finger on his chin, he evaluated each item on the plate for a little while. Gold, silver, pearls...Hmmm…none could stand in comparison to the invaluable gifts that he had received from his friends.

'I know what to give!!!' Finally, Kanha got an idea. Stepping over the platter, kicking the pearls and the gems, he ran towards his buddies with his heart full of love. His arms playfully flung around Sridama's neck, tightly hugged Bhadra to his bosom, and, then, lifted Mahabala onto his shoulders delightfully … 'Hey! I am yours. Your Eternal Gift!'


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