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tato ’nujñapya bhagavan
sva-bhuvam prag avasthitan
vatsan pulinam aninye
After granting His son Brahma permission to leave, the Supreme Personality of Godhead took the calves, who were still where they had been a year earlier, and brought them to the riverbank, where He had been taking His meal and where His cowherd boyfriends remained just as before.
The word sva-bhuvam, “to His own son,” indicates that Lord Krsna forgave the offense Brahma had committed and treated him with affection, as His son. It is stated in this verse that the original cowherd boyfriends and calves were situated just as before: near the bank of the Yamuna River and in the forest, respectively. Previously the calves had disappeared within the forest and Lord Krsna had gone to search for them. Not finding them, the Lord had returned to the riverbank to discuss the situation with His cowherd boyfriends, but they had also disappeared. Now the cows were once again in the forest and the boyfriends once again on the bank of the river, ready to take their lunch. According to Srila Sanatana Gosvami, the calves and boys remained in the forest and on the riverbank, respectively, for one full year. Lord Brahma did not actually take them away to another place. By the Lord’s omnipotent illusory energy, the gopis and other residents of Vrndavana did not notice the calves and boys, nor did the calves and boys notice the passing of a year’s time or feel any hunger, cold or thirst. All this was part of the pastime arranged by the Lord’s illusory potency. Lord Brahma thought, “I have kept all the boys and calves of Gokula sleeping on the bed of my mystic potency, and to this very day they have not risen. A similar number of boys and calves have been playing with Krsna for one whole year, yet they are different from the ones illusioned by my mystic potency. Who are they? Where did they come from?”
Nothing is invisible to the Supreme Lord. Thus Lord Krsna appeared to be searching for the calves and boys only to enact the dramatic pastime of bewildering Lord Brahma. After Brahma surrendered and offered prayers, Lord Krsna returned to the original boys and calves, who appeared exactly as before, although their size had somewhat increased because of one year’s growth.
According to Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, since Lord Krsna was playing exactly like an innocent young cowherd boy in Vrndavana, after four-headed Brahma offered his prayers the Lord maintained His role as a young cowherd boy and thus remained silent before Brahma. Krsna’s silence indicates the following thoughts: “Where did this four-headed Brahma come from? What is he doing? What are these words he keeps on speaking? I am busy looking for My calves. I am just a cowherd boy and do not understand all this.” Lord Brahma had considered Lord Krsna an ordinary cowherd boy and had treated Him as such. After accepting Brahma’s prayers, Krsna continued to play as a cowherd boy and thus did not answer the four-headed Brahma. Rather, Krsna was more interested in rejoining His cowherd boyfriends for the picnic lunch on the bank of the Yamuna River.