175. Mâladâsa

There was a cowherd called Mâladâsa who was determined to see the Lord the way He was described in the sacred texts he had heard expounding in the village temple by a pundit. So he prayed and prayed to the 'Dark Lord riding on the white bird' all the time his cows were pasturing in the fields. Eleven days passed, but there was no sign of the 'Dark Lord riding on the white bird'. He had forgotten to take food and drink during all those days and so had become weak, too weak to walk or talk. At last, the Lord melted at his entreaties and presented Himself before him as an old brahmin. But the brahmin was not riding a white bird, nor was he dark, beautifully dark, as the pundit had described. So, he asked the brahmin to come the next day at seven in the morning so that he may bring the pundit and verify whether He was the Lord Himself.

The pundit laughed at the whole affair and refused to take part in it; but, Mâladâsa was so importunate that he agreed. The entire village turned out on the river bank the next day, long before seven o'clock. The brahmin was there, exactly as he had promised and Mâladâsa showed Him to all. But they could not see him. They began to laugh at the cowherd's antics and threatened him with severe beating, for bringing them all along as butts for his joke. Mâladâsa could see the brahmin clearly but no one else could. At last, Mâladâsa got so enraged that he walked up to the old brahmin and gave him a whacking blow on the cheek, saying: "Why don't you show Yourself to all?"

That blow changed the entire scene. The brahmin disappeared. Krishna appeared in resplendent robes, with a smiling face, in a captivating form on the white bird. As the astounded villagers were recovering from the amazement, a heavenly chariot, the vimâna, floated down from the sky and Lord Krishna asked Mâladâsa to sit inside. Then with the Lord by his side, Mâladâsa rose up and soon was out of sight.