“Kanu? Are you a Devata?” “You are a Devata.” Kanhai replied in such an irritated tone as if he is giving tit for tat. Don’t know why Kanhai keeps fighting with this Sridam! He is hell-bent on teasing and annoying him only. Still Sridam will stay only with him. He will fight, quarrel and get annoyed but this Vraja tanaya’s company cannot be left. Golden complexioned, blue robed, wearing swan feather on his hair, adorned with gem-stones, Vrishabhanu baba’s eldest son on just reaching the forest for grazing cows end up asking Shyam. He had heard his baba discus with the elderly gopas yesterday. An aged gopa had said- “Nanda Nandana is some very big Devata.” Sridam felt it weird, since then he had decided to ask Shyam. On just reaching the forest, if he wouldn’t ask, he might forget, because immediately they will start gathering gunja, forest articles, tendrils, etc. They will then beautify each other and then engage in playing. But this Kanahi flares on just asking.
“Is there a harm in being a Devata for which you flare so much?”-Sridam doesn’t want to fight with this naughty presently. “It is not bad, if it is good, then you become a Devata.”-Shyam replied in the same angry tone. Truly it is an insult to humanity to call humans Devata. Man is capable of progression. He can choose his actions, he is nara, the friend of narayan. Devata though being pious souls, move towards degradation. Their pious deeds replete due to sense enjoyment. Their downfall is certain from there. So what wrong does Kanhai do if he flares on being called a Devata. Sridam debated- “Maiya says that cows are Devata. Then is your Kamada bad?” “Kamada!”-Krishna turned around and looked at his excellent snow-haired, tall she-elephant like, lotus-smelled cow and went running to her. He asked the cow itself- “Kamada! Are you a Devata?” Kamada slowly bent her head and placed her face on Kanhai’s left shoulder. Krishna entwined both his arms around Kamada’s neck and with his right hand started caressing the cow’s face and neck. This gopal has now completely forgotten that he was asking something to Kamada. Sridama standing a few steps behind is watching. All children have turned this way. Walking slowly with soft steps Dau dada comes near his younger brother.
Currently none have forest paintings on their bodies. Now, there are neither tendrils on their curls nor flowers. The shringar done by the mothers, only that remains. Some feather flutters on their oily curls. Their Eyes are anointed with kohl. There is tilak on their forehead. Earrings on ears. Pearl necklaces or jeweled ornaments are there on their necks. There are armlets on arms, bangles on hands, golden waist belt on the waist and anklets on feet. Except Madhumangala, all are decked in ornaments and wear a thick Vaijanthi mala on their neck. Madhumangala is a Brahmin. He wears the sacrificial thread. He doesn’t wear ornaments. He wears white clothes and white tilak only. He doesn’t even keep a rope, stick and horn, but the gopakumaras are always seen wrapping ropes, carrying sticks, horn and flute.
Some come taking slow steps like Dau while others have gone running. All want to come near Kanhai, but currently it isn’t easy to approach him. He has to be separated from this overpowering battalion of cows, calves who surround him from all sides and drive away the animals forcibly for grazing. Krishna entwining his left arm around Kamada’s neck fondles her face with his right hand. Kamada has very softly placed her face on Shyam’s right shoulder and has ecstatically closed her eyes. On witnessing Kamada’s good fortune, the cows, calves, bulls have all come running. All have sieged Nanda nandana from all 4 sides. Raising their heads, clipped to each other there is an entire army of struggling cows trying to enter from the gaps. All have started mooing wildly. As if all are saying- “Me, Even fondle me a little like this”
Sridam has forgotten his Devata discussion. Cows and bulls might be Devata, but this Sakha of his surrounded by this mighty herd of cows and calves- Kanu- He is a gopal! He is a gopal- a Gopakumara, which why he is ours- He is my beloved friend.
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