Who was Nanda and Yashoda in their previous lives?

Lord Shiva standing in front of the house of mother Yashoda was pleading her to show him a glimpse of little Krishna. Without her permission, he, the greatest of the great demigods, could not directly go to see the beautiful form of Krishna.

And little Lord Krishna too could not come out without his mother’s permission to meet Lord Shiva.

Both Lord Krishna and Lord Shiva were helpless in front of Yashoda, the mother of Krishna, the supreme Lord.

The scriptures tell that the yogis meditate for thousands of years to just have a glimpse of Lord Krishna.  And here Krishna was living with Yashoda as her son. And Yashoda was trying her best to take care of Krishna whom she did not consider the Supreme Lord, but she treated Krishna as her little baby who needed her complete attention.

She used to feed him, bathe him, play with him and also protect him.

Maharaj Parikshit who was absorbed in hearing the sweet pastimes of Krishna from Sukhdeva Goswami was surprised to know the great fortune of Yashoda.

He inquired from the sage, “What past auspicious activities did she and Nanda Maharaja perform to achieve such perfection in ecstatic love? Srimad Bhagavatam 10.8.46

Although Krishna appeared as the son of Vasudeva and Devaki yet they did not have the opportunity to be part of Krishna’s most celebrated childhood pastimes. Just by meditating on these magnanimous pastimes one can achieve complete perfection in their life.  Krishna played in the courtyard of Nanda Maharaj and he was extremely fond of his mother and father. 

So, scriptures tell that Yashoda and Nanda Maharaj are more fortunate than Devaki and Vasudeva.

We may wonder, “What penance did they perform? What extraordinary devotion they did that they got such an exalted position?

Is there any possibility that we too can have the fortune to become the mother or father of Krishna in any life?”

In this material world in their previous life, Nanda Maharaj was Drona and Yashoda was Dhara. And to become parents of Krishna they prayed to Brahma.

When Brahma granted them permission, “the most fortune Droṇa, who was equal to Bhagavan, appeared in Vrajapura, Vṛndavana, as the most famous Nanda Maharaja, and his wife, Dhara, appeared as mother Yashoda.” SB 10.8.50

But if we delve more into the scriptures we would find that it is not that they became Krishna’s parents after seeking permission from Brahma but they, in fact, are the eternal father and mother of Krishna.  

Yashoda and Nanda Maharaj eternally live with Krishna in the spiritual world.

Whenever Krishna descends in the material world his eternal associates too appear to assist him in his pastimes. For example, we see Srimati Radharani, an eternal consort of Lord Krishna appears in Vrindavan for the pleasure of Krishna.

In SB 10.8.48 purport Srila Prabhupada explains that Yashoda and Nanda Maharaj are expansions of Kṛishna’s personal body; they are not ordinary living beings.

Describing the fortune of Nanda Maharaj and mother Yashoda, Sukhdeva Goswami says, “Neither Lord Brahma, nor Lord Shiva, nor even the goddess of fortune, who is always the better half of the Supreme Lord, can obtain from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the deliverer from this material world, such mercy as received by mother Yashoda. SB 10.9.20

If Brahma cannot get such mercy as Yashoda and Nanda then how can he give such a great benediction to Drona and Dhara to become parents of Krishna?

So we can understand that they are already the parents of Krishna but to play the role of mother and father of Krishna in the material world they seek blessings of Brahma because Brahma has been given the role of a creator of this material world.

And the associates of the Lord and even the Lord many times respect the universal laws which he himself has created.

We see here that Drona and Dhara did not have to undergo severe penance to become father and mother of Krishna.

There are two categories of devotees in the spiritual world – nitya siddhas and sadhana siddhas. Nitya Siddhas are the eternal associates of Krishna. They originate from the personal body of Krishna. They can never fall down from their exalted status. Just like Krishna, they are supremely pure.

Whereas the sadhana siddhas are ordinary living beings like us but after sincerely practicing devotional life they attain perfection and they too get an opportunity to be with Krishna, to enjoy the pastimes with Krishna.

Yashoda and Nanda Maharaj are Nitya Siddha devotees of Krishna. They are the expansions of Krishna’s hladini potency, the potency which gives transcendental bliss to Krishna.

Nanda Maharaj and Mother Yashoda who eternally exist in the spiritual world, Goloka Vrindavan, expand to become Drona and Dhara in the material world to assist the Lord in the pastime.

Although to descend in this world Krishna does not need a mother and father but just to enjoy the pastimes here and to show to people like us how his pastimes in the spiritual world are so sweet, he comes with his eternal parents to this material world.

Srila Prabhupada writes, “Before Krishna appearance, Droṇa and Dhara appear in order to become His father and mother. It is they who appear as Nanda Maharaja and his wife, Yashoda. In other words, it is not possible for a sadhana-siddha living being to become the father or mother of Krishna, for Krishna’s father and mother are already designated.” Srimad Bhagavatam 10.8.49 purport

Although we the living beings can’t have the same position as that of the nitya siddhas but if we follow the process of Krishna consciousness then we too have an opportunity to develop similar affection for Krishna and also can reside with Krishna in the spiritual world.

In Sri Brhad – Bhagavatamrta it is mentioned, “According to the time, place and mission to be performed, the residents of Goloka appear, sometimes in partial forms and sometimes in fullness. They do this as Krishna Himself does. When the Lord incarnates, the residents of Goloka, each attracted by his own rasa with the Lord, also desire to appear, by some pretext, in their own incarnations and then at the end their incarnations merge into them and become one with them again.” Chapter Six: Abhista – labha (The Fulfilment of Desires) Text 205 – 208.

So, Nanda and Yashoda come from the spiritual world to enjoy pastimes with Krishna. And after Krishna unwinds his pastimes in the material world Nanda Maharaj and mother Yashoda merge into their original sources in the spiritual world.

Nanda Maharaj merges into the original Nanda Maharaj which is eternally existing in the spiritual world. Similarly, Yashoda merges into the original Yashoda which is eternally existing in the spiritual world.

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