Nanda Baithak: the conference pavillion of Nanda Maharaj
Nanda Baithak is a place in Nandagaon where Nanda Maharaj would hold meetings and all the cowherd men would sit here together and discuss about the welfare of Krishna- Balaram. Radhanath Swami during a yatra to Nandagaon narrated the pastimes at Nanda baithak: Once at the Nanda Baithak, the cowherd men headed by Upananda began to chastise Nanda Maharaj that, “Krishna is no ordinary boy. He must be some sort of a great yogi or perhaps He is an incarnation of God or Demigod because after all how He killed Putana? How He killed the Tranavarta Demon? How He lifted the Govardhan Hill with the little finger of His left hand? How He crashed down the twin Arjuna trees? And yet Yashoda, your wife sometimes she threatens to hit Him with stick, sometimes she pulls Him by the ear, sometimes she chastises Him, sometimes she makes Him go to bed without food. This is no way to treat a great exalted personality”.
So Nanda Maharaj with great amusement heard what they were saying and he said, “You do not understand what is this Krishna? You are saying He is incarnation of God, He is a great personality. But great personalities are judged by how they can control their senses. And this child Gopal, He eats all day long. He never stops eating, and if we do not give Him anything to eat, He will steal it. And if the Laddus are not sweet enough He becomes very angry. And great souls are not supposed to become angry. If there is not enough sugar in the sweet rice he becomes so angry, He begins to throw things and break pots. And great souls are supposed to be honest. We all know that anything that is lost in Vrindavan must be stolen by Krishna only. He steals butter, He steals yogurt. And then after He steals it, even when it’s in His hand. You ask Him, “Why did You do this?” He says,” No. No. I did not do it. Why you are blaming me. Someone else has done it.” And great souls are supposed to be fearless. When it is raining and there is lot of thunder, little Krishna runs to our bed at night and embraces mother Yashoda trembling in fear, and he doesn’t stop crying until mother Yashoda begins to shower Him again and again with kisses and kisses and kisses.” He said, “If these are the qualities of an exalted person, I see no reason to call Him exalted. Krishna is just my child. You do not understand.” And as he was speaking this he began to laugh. As he was thinking of the wonderful pastimes of Lord Shri Krishna, he laughed and laughed, and all the cowherd men as they pictured the beautiful form of little Gopal engaging in His wonderful mischievous activities they all began to laugh. And they laughed so hard that they fell to the ground, and tears were streaming from their eyes and they laughed and laughed until every limb of their bodies was aching because of laughing so hard. And somehow or other they laughed to the point where they just could not laugh any longer. And then they were just laying silently and then Nanda Maharaj again would start laughing and everyone else would start laughing and laughing and laughing, rolling in the sacred dust of Nandagaon, laughing at the beautiful pastimes of Lord Shri Krishna. So these wonderful pastimes took place at this place, Nanda Baithak.
Radhanath Swami concluded that actually we should know that all of these meetings that took place here were all for only one reason- how to give more and more pleasure to Krishna-Balaram. The cowherd men would come together to discuss, “How to best serve Krishna and Balaram?” They did not see Them as the “Supreme Lord”. They simply saw Them as two most charming beautiful and attractive brothers. They were completely dependent on their own arrangements for the protection, well being and happiness of Krishna-Balaram. Thus, this is a very, very special place. Here the cowherd men with exclusive devotion for the pleasure of Krishna and Balaram would plan out all of their wonderful, wonderful arrangements so that the whole Nandagaon is managed. Radhanath Swami said that we should pray here in a very humble heart that every arrangement and every plan that we make in our own life is always centered on serving and giving pleasure to Krishna and His devotees.