“My dear father, O great sage, I know that your feet are very soft, like a lotus flower, and that My chest is as hard as a thunderbolt. I am therefore afraid that you may have felt some pain by touching My chest with your feet. Let Me therefore touch your feet to relieve the pain you have suffered.” (Lord Vishnu, Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 2, Ch 34)
As a first-time father, you are always on call, ready to offer service when necessary. There is no schedule; everything is unpredictable. At any moment an accident can occur. The baby’s sleeping patterns might be steady for a few days, but growth changes everything. The rule is there are no rules. Whenever called upon there has to be love offered.
Another aspect to keep an eye on is milestones. The baby grows, which means that they learn how to do new things. One day they suddenly turn over. Now they prefer to sleep on their stomach. No matter how much you try to straighten them because of what you’ve read for safe sleeping, they will return to the preferred position soon after.
After turning over for the first time, the baby loves to do it. It is almost instinct. Sometimes they are sleeping and they still move around. The latest milestone has been crawling. Not the typically understood movement, where they scamper from one place to another in a matter of seconds, this is something like a snail moving. They put the head down and then push forward with their legs. However the motion is technically described, there is movement nonetheless.
One day while lying down on the bed next to the baby, you see that they are moving towards you. An endearing behavior, you are watching to make sure they don’t get hurt. The baby comes close enough without any harm done. For a few seconds your attention drifts elsewhere when you suddenly feel a sensation. You look down and the baby is trying to eat your leg. They are sucking on the skin.
This isn’t particularly odd behavior, as teeth are coming in. The baby tries to put everything in their mouth. This incident is humorous because who else would try to eat your leg? If any other person were to attempt this, you might get upset. Actually, any recipient would be unhappy. Among adults it would perhaps lead to physical conflict.
Yet since it’s your child, there is the opposite feeling. It tightens the bond. Instead of getting upset, you are proud that the child is able to push itself up and feel for different objects.
The incident helps to explain the amazing reaction from Lord Vishnu when one time meeting Bhrigu Muni in Vaikuntha. The respected saint was conducting an experiment. Who says that science didn’t exist in ages past? Through observing behavioral patterns, responses to certain stimuli, a wise person could deduce the natures of different people. A certain kind of nature would be considered superior, and other kinds inferior.
In this case the superior nature would be the mode of goodness, sattva-guna. Though Vishnu is beyond all gunas, as they are typically understood, the test for Bhrigu was to see which of the three presiding deities of the material creation possessed the mode of goodness in full.
Bhrigu first insulted his father, Lord Brahma. Then he insulted Mahadeva, the great god. Both became upset as a result. Bhrigu reserved perhaps the worst insult for last. He kicked an unsuspecting Vishnu. The husband of Lakshmi Devi was lying down in rest at the time.
Imagine the same happening to you. For no reason, mind you. Not like the wife kicking you to get up and take out the trash. Not like your parents waking you up out of bed for going to school. Not like the child still upset over punishment received a few weeks back.
This was without cause. Of the three victims of offenses, Vishnu had reason to be the most upset. And yet His reaction was amazing. He asked Bhrigu if everything was alright. Surely the muni’s foot must be in pain, as Vishnu’s chest is known to be hard.
The saint was surprised by the reaction. He then understood that only Vishnu possesses the mode of goodness in full. In truth, the reaction was due to the relationship. As a qualified brahmana, Bhrigu was viewed as a cared-for son. The devotees of the Lord are able to come close to Him in this way. They are not in the challenging spirit, after all. They have surpassed the stage of fearing God. As seen in Vrindavana, with Bhagavan it is possible to wrestle with Him, to carry Him on your back, or to even have Him carry you. These are glimpses into the life of liberation, mukti.
Bhrigu Muni conducting a test,
Where last a kick to the chest.
Of Lord Vishnu in Vaikuntha living,
To offense amazing reaction giving.
Worry for the brahmana’s feet,
And that failed properly to greet.
Like father child’s climbing not minding,
Most merciful nature in Bhagavan finding.