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Gangashtakam and Govinda Pattabhishekam

11 Dec

The eleventh of December 2015 was very auspicious indeed as it marked the ‘Karthika Ammavasya’ which is very propitious for Bhagavatas. One of the proponents of Bhajana Sampradaya, Sri Sridhara Ayyaval Swamigal, out of his divine grace and compassion, made the river Ganges flow down to the south.  River Ganges by flowing in the well of Sri Sridhara Ayyaval Swamigal’s home blessed the whole Bhagavata community. On the Shardha day of his ancestors, he fed a wayfarer with the food that was prepared for the Shardha and the brahmanas which in turn angered the Brahmanas and they  failed to perform the Shardha. The divine lordships, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva themselves partook the offerings of the Shardha. The brahmanas were still displeased that Sri Sridhara had committed a mistake (apachara), and wanted him to undergo expiation by taking a dip in river Ganges. Sri Sridhara Ayyaval, composed Gangastakam, which consists of eight verses invoking river Ganges.  He spoke to the Brahmanas with all humility as compassionate souls, who out of their mercy have asked them to do a repentance and expiation (prayaschitta) by taking a dip in river Ganges.  The beauty of Gangashtakam is that he puts himself in a lowly state. In the first verse, he says , ‘I have been chanting the divine names of Lord Shiva, and the result of Shiva nama is showing itself”. This is in accordance with Bhagavata Dharma that when one chants the divine names, he first experiences a transition within himself.


Evam vratah sva priya nAma kIrtyA jAtAnurAgo drutha cittha uccaiḥ

hasaty atho roditI rauti gAyaty unmAda van nṛutyati loka bAhyaḥ

kham vAyum agnim salilam mahIm cha jyotImsi sattvAni disO drumAdIn

sarits amudrAms cha hareḥ sarIram yat kim cha bhUtam praṇamed ananyaḥ [Srimad Bhagavatam 11.2.40-41]


When one chants the divine name, he starts to experience a transformation within himself ‘jAtAnurAgo drutha cittha uccaiḥ’.  The bhakti [Anuragam]will  begin to spring in one’s heart, which will exhibit through the senses, where one will sing in joy and dance in ecstasy.   This is the first step and as the bhakti progresses, one will perceive Lord in the entire world. Sri  Ayyaval says that with his incessant chanting of Lord Shiva’s divine names, he can only see Lord Shiva everywhere. He says that he saw Lord Shiva in the beggar and so he offered the prasad, and so he asks ‘Is there anything wrong in what I did?

shambO bhavan nAma  nirantha rAnu santhAna bhAgyena bhavantha meva |

yadhEva sarvathra thathAnthyajEdhya pashyanthyahO kOthra kruthOparAgaha ||

He then says in the second verse that the best atonement for any transgression with respect to the ShrAddha ceremony is taking a dip in river Ganges, however  by merely chanting ‘Gange’ the sins are absolved . He sadly says that no one believes that chanting the divine names and simply proclaim it as ‘ArthavAdha’. He then asks if he cannot take this recourse in this situation?

asthvEsha manthuhu pithru yagna nishtE gangAplavO yO vihithOpachithyaihi |

dhoorAthu thannAma japEna shuddihi na syadhu katham mae smrithi artha vAdhaha ||

He ponders within himself and thinks may be he doesn’t believe in Nama Sankirtan.  He compares himself  to Trisanku. He says that if I had strong belief and conviction in Lord’s names, then I don’t have to pay heed to people who say Nama is Arthavadham.  He wishes to have that strong conviction in Bhagavan Nama and not caught in the midst of all rights and rituals. This precept is again mentioned in Bhagavatha Dharma by  Karabhajanar. In Krishnakarnamrutham, Sri Leela Sukar also proclaims this beautiful precept – ‘SandhyAvandhana badram asthu bhavathE’  where he says that since he has tight grip on the lord’s divine names, there is absolutely no need to catch hold onto any other karma.

Sri Ayyaval in his third verse ponders as to whether he has strong faith on Nama but for which he is getting caught in the Karma and questions to how he will be alleviate himself from the thrisanku swarga?

thvan nAma nishtA na hi thAvathO me shaddhA yathaha karmasu na pradhagdhA |

thrI shangavam mae pashu pantha rAyaha muchyeya thasmAth katham Artha bandhO  ||

He then looks compassionately at the Brahamanas  and surrendered unto Lord Shiva and  said that it may be your wish that the Shraddha should not take place and so be. But what about the Brahmanas who are fasting since yesterday and that they will not partake food anywhere else today.   Sri Ayyaval calls the Brahamanas as Sharahalus and Dayalus and if the Sharddha doesn’t take place, it will be an apachara for not serving them food.

yadhadhya  the shrAdhva vinashtirishtA kOham thathOn yachharithum samarthaha .

shArdhe vruthaha poorva dhinO pavAsAhA nAn yathra bhunji yuhu yidham thu kidhyE  ||

Bhagavatam says -‘yatra dandena shudhyathi‘ . He hails the Brahmanas as Dayalus who want him to undergo the expiation in order to be purified.

shrAdhvAlavaha shrAdha vIgAtha bIthvA svAthmOparOgam vignayya dhIraha |

Yath prochu rathrapachitham mahanthaha thathrochitham yadhyayA videhI  ||

Sri Ayyaval then looks at himself and says, ‘Oh Siva, all I know is to chant your name – Gangadahara’. He says he doesn’t even go to Kaveri river to take bath because as soon I set out, I get entangled in worldly thoughts and I stop chanting the divine names. That is verily why I take bath in my own well (koopa).   When I don’t even know Kaveri, how can I know Ganges.

gangAdhara tvad bhajanAntharAya bithvA gruhE koopa kruthavagAha |

jAnena na thirthAntharam adhya gangAyAm aAsAdhayEyam katham Artha bandhO ||

I am not a Tapsvi like Sagara or Bhagiratha who prayed for Ganges to come. I also don’t know who Jahnu is. Jahnu was the great sage who drank Ganges  and spit it out of his ears and Ganges became Jahnavi. I am not Brahma who can ordain you to release Ganges from your matted hair and lo the ganges flow down to the earth.

nAham thapasvi sagaranva vAyaha jAnena na jahanuhu charathi kvavEthi |

shambhO jatAjOta mapAvru nushvaethyamyarthane nAlamayam varAkaha ||

I am a normal being and Oh Shiva, your divine name Gangadhara is my only refuge and I am extremely confident that it will absolve my worldly problems. As he kept on chanting ‘Gangadhara Gangadhara Gangadhara’, he saw Ganges coming in his own well. Oh Lo! Look at Ganges who out of her compassion flows in the well. Akin to Gajendra, Sri Ayyaval prays for the prosperity for the entire mankind.

gangAdharAkyA gathirathra nanyA thAmAshrayE sangkata-mOchanAya |

hantha pravAhaha katham athra koopae vispoorjathIshaha kalu the prasannaha ||

As he kept on chanting ‘Gange Gange’, he was not inundated by the waters, but flooded in Lord’s compassion. The water of the Ganges has flooded the well and flowing out and he asked for a boon for Ganges to remain there in the well forever and thus be a solace for the posterity and all the Bhagavatas who come to take a bath in this well on the auspicious day of Karthika Ammavasya.

gangEthi gangEthi harathi grunhan aAplAvithOham dayayA porArehe |

kupOthi thOyam karunA prahavAhaha gangAshvi rAyAthra janAn punAthu ||

Sri Ayyaval was verily Srikantam (Lord Shiva); ‘Srikantam iva bhAshvantham shiva nama parayanam shreyase gurum ashraye‘ .

Sri Narayananji from Boston continued with his beautiful exposition of Govardhana Leela. The beauty of the lord being crowned with the beautiful name ‘Govinda’ , verily shows the compassion of Lord Krishna – ‘rakshisyati iti vishwasahaand ‘gothrupthva varanam’. 6 different precepts of Sharanagathi are completely seen in Gopas and Gopis.  They surrendered unto the lord, when they  were trembling in cold (seedarthaha) and wanted protection from that and surrendered unto Krishna as Govinda.

‘gopah gopyascha seedharthaha govindam sharanam ayuhu ‘

They had all the lakshanas of Sharanagathi. They had Krishna as the only refugee and were completely confident that he will protect them. The lord witnessed this and immediately lifted the mountain in order to protect them.

tasmAn mach charaṇam goshtam man nAtham math parigraham

gopAye svAtma yogena so yam mE vrata Ahitah   [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.25.15]


The lord ordained the residents of Gokula to prepare different kind of rice items, dishes with dals, payasam, savories from rice flour (murrukku), appam. The lord being ‘akila kaladi gurunanartha’, is very conversant in cooking and he himself gave the menu for Govindha Pooja


tasmAd gavAm brAhmaṇAnAm adrEs chArabhyatAm makhah

ya indra yAga sambhArAs tair ayam sAdhyatAm makhah

pachyantAm vividhAh pAkAh sUpAntAh pAyasAdayah

SamyAvApUpa shashkulyah sarva dohas cha gruhyatAm  [[Srimad Bhagavatam 10.24.25-26]

Sri Vallabhacharya  analyzes this phrase ‘sUpAntAh pAyasAdayah’ that the lord ordained them to begin with payasam and end with dishes made with dhal items. The lord not only gives advice on what dishes to prepare but also how to prepare them. The reason the lord gives instructions to first make payasam is that it takes a long time for it be prepared and to make dhal related items at the end. This bhava is just a sample to demonstrated that the lord is indeed a connoisseur of culinary art.  This can be viewed in another way. One needs to  first cook dishes that has to be offered to Devas and Bhagavan and secondly cook food-items that has to be offered to Sadhus and finally make dishes that can be served for the common man.


Then the lord ordains the Gopas to circumambulate the Govardhana hill and offer all the offerings to the hill.

tasmai namO vraja janaih saha chakra AtmanAtmane

ahO pashyata sailOsau rUpI no anugraham vyadhAt [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.24.36]


Suddenly Lord Krishna took the unprecedented form of a big mountain and partook all the food offerings.

krishnas tva anyatamam rUpam gopa vishrambhanam gatah

sailo smIti bhruvan bhUri balim Adad bruhad vapuh [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.24.35]


The Gopas and Gopis totally believed that it was indeed the mountain who is eating the food and joyfully offered all the food items. Meanwhile, Lord Indra who was waiting for his share of food-items became furious ordered heavy rains to pour down in Gokula. Everyone took refuge in Krishna and he protected them by lifting the Govardhana mountain. He assured them by saying ‘mA baihI’.  The lord took care of all of them and no one felt any pain anymore. It rained heavily for seven days. After the rains stopped, the lord kept back the mountain in the same place.


bhagavAn api tam sailam sva sthAnE pUrva vat prabhuh

pashyatAm sarva bhUtAnAm sthApayAm Asa lIlayA [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.25.28]


It was indeed lord’s divine play not only when he lifted the mountain but also when he placed it back . Everyone went back home happily not because they were not drenched in the rain or for Krishna protecting them but they now had another leela of the lord to reminisce all their lives.


tato nuraktaih pashupaih parishritO rAjan sva goshtam sa balo vvrajad dhariḥ

tathA vidhAny asya krutAni gopikA gAyantya Iyur muditA hṛudi-sprusaH [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.25.33]


Everyone in Gokula was truly happy because they could now fondly call the lord as ‘Giridhari’ and ‘Govinda Giridhari’. They could perceive Radha Devi’s friend Chamapakalatha coming down as Meera Bhai and singing the divine glories of  the lord as Giridhari.

Everyone in Gokula were wonderstruck on the lord’s divine play of lifting the mountain. They started to reminisce the lord’s divine plays right from how he drank the poison and the life of Putana and all his other plays all the way to his naming ceremony. They fondly recollected how Garga named him ‘Krishna’ and called the verses from Garga as Garga Geetham.


yah sapta hAyano bAlah karenaikena lIlayA

katham bibhrad giri varam pushkaram gajarAd iva [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.26.3]


tokenAmIlitAkshena pUtanAyA mahaujasah

pItah stanah saha prAnaih kAleneva vayas tanoh [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.26.4]


iti nanda vacah shrutvA garga gItam tam vrajaukasah

muditA nandam Anarcuh krishnam cha gata vismayAh [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.26.16]


The residents of Gokula realized that the rains were sent by Indra and it is not a feat possible by normal mortals to lift the Govardhana mountain. They then started to perceive Krishna as a divine soul.  Sage Suka does a beautiful Mangalasasanam on Lord Krishna as to how he culled the ego of Indra.


deve varshati yajna viplava rhushA vajrAsma varsAnilaih

sIdat pAla pashu striyAtma sharanam drishtvAnukampy utsmayan

utpAtyaika karena sailam abalo lIlocchilIndhram yathA

bibhrad goshtham apAn mahendra-mada-bhit prIyAn na indro gavAm  [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.26.25]


All the Gopas and Gopis came and joyfully narrated the events to Nanda Baba and he acknowledged them and inturn mentioned that he knew all about it and reminisced what ever Garga had mentioned about Lord Krishna-‘narayana samO gunaih’ and Krishna’s naming ceremony events.

It was then the turn of Lord Indra to come down. He first sent Surabhi, the cow, ‘ Govardhane drithE sailE’ , who saw that the entire cowherd was protected by Krishna. Then Indra came down. Generally, Indra’s crown’s shines so brightfully akin to hundred sun-rays. The crown touched the holy feet of Lord Krishna as soon as it came in the divine contact of Lord Krishna’s feet, the crown indeed was blessed with Lord’s Tejas and hence began to glow like sunshine.  Vedanta Desika goes a step forward and says that it was Paduka’s tejas that was imparted to Indra’s crown.

viviktha upasangamya vrIdItah kruta helanah

pasparsha pAdayor enam kirItenArka varchasA [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.27.2]

He came with his face covered due to shame. – ‘drushta shruthA nu bhAvOsya’

Until now, Indra had only heard about the glories of Lord Krishna. Now, whatever he had witnessed whatever he had seen and came to  terms with the fact that Krishna is not a normal person ; ‘krishnasya amitha tejasaha’.

Indra was absolved of his ego that he was the ruler of the three worlds and fell at the feet of the lord and began to speak:

vIshuddha sattvam tava dhAma shAntam tapO mayam dhvasta rajas tamaskam

mAyA mayo ya guṇa sampravAho na vidyate te grahanAnubandhah [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.27.4]

Indra says to Krishna, ‘Oh Krishna, you never get angry  because  the two qualities ,rajas and thamas are verily the reasons for anger are completely bereft in you. ‘Poornam brahma sannadhanam’ has indeed taken a sattva guna and come down as Krishna. He also says that anger is related to Maya. You only punish at times to establish dharma.  You don’t punish because of anger.’

When Indra showered the rains, Krishna could have immediately stripped off the power from Indra. The reason he didn’t do so was because, Indra was an epitome of Kriya and hence the lord had to do a Kriya in order to subdue Indra’s ego. The lord countered Indra directly  to establish Bhagavata Dharma.

Indra then refers to the lord as Pitha (father), Guru and ruler of the entire earth and that take a form to punish. Here Indra refers to the Dashavataram .

The first Purusha avatar of the lord is considered as the father. Matsya avatar is the form of the lord where he is a Guru ‘paramO guruhu’.  The other incarnations of the lord like Koorma and Varaha are indeed to protect the earth,’jagathathma dIshaha’.  Narasimha and Vamana avatars of the lord are to punish and goes to the extent of killing Hiranyakashipu and punishing Bali.

The ten vitals of Lord Indra became his ten slokas in praise of the lord. The four Purusharthas and six divine qualities which he had possessed earlier and in-turn lost them due to his ego eventually became the ten slokas in praise of the lord.

yaE madh vidhAjnA jagad Isha mAninas tvAm vIkshaya kAle bhayam Asu tan madam

hithvArya mArgam prabhajanty apasmayA IhA khalAnAm api te anushAsanam [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.27.7]

Lord Indra said that it is my ego that the lord enacted this leela to subdue his ego.  Indra did a retrospective analysis for the shoot up of his ego and verily attributed to his wealth (Aishwaryam).

sa tvam mamaIshvarya mada plutasya krutAgasas tE vidushah prabhAvam

kshantum prabhO thArhasi mUdha cEthasO maIvam punar bhUn matir Isha mE sathI  [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.27.8]

Indra hails lord’s compassion to punish him in order to subdue his pride.

tavAvathAro yam adhokshajeha bhuvo bharAnAm uru bhAra janmanAm

chamu pathInAm abhavAya deva bhavAya yushmac charanAnuvartinAm [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.27.9]


The lord came down to remove the Asuras who were the burden on the earth.  The lord prostrated to the lord and said  that now being egotic, he was also a burden on the earth and instead of removing him, the lord removed his ego thus reducing the burden of the earth.

Indra finally apologized to the lord that out of his severe anger , pride and ignorance, he caused the entire destruction of entire Gokula.  He then mentioned that the lord’s determination was greater than his pride and anger and corrected him thus vanquishing his pride.

Indra surrendered to the lord and beheld Krishna as Ishwara, Guru and Deivam.

The lord then replied tersely in four slokas to Indra’s stuthi. He imparted four precepts in the four slokas. He blessed Indra in the first sloka  and in the second sloka he told Indra the reason for stopping Indra Yaga. He explained how Indra’s pride was nulled in the third sloka and in the fourth sloka the lord showers his grace on Indra.

The lord beautifully clarified that when he punishes someone it is not that he is angry with that person but only because of his compassion. He ordained Indra to go back and continue his work bereft of any pride.  After Indra departed, Surabhi came and surrendered unto the lord and all of them did a beautiful Pattabhishekam . Surabhi brings her milk and baths Krishna in it, Airavatha brings Akasha Ganga and sprayed it on Krishna and everyone crowned Krishna with a beautiful name called ‘Govinda’. The lord was showered with different kinds of flowers, by different deities (Devas, Thumbaurus, Gandarvas, Kinaras, Siddhasm Charanas and Narada)

indrah surarsibhih sAkam chOditO deva mAtrubhih

abhyasinchata dAsArham govinda itI chAbhyadhAt [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.27.23]

The satsang concluded with prayers to Govindha to subdue all the pride which is the source of all sufferings in this mundane world and that he delivers us from the sufferings and bless us with Nama ruchi and bhakti.

Bhishma’s love

23 Jan

Bhagavath Gunas and Bhagavatha Gunas are the two means to cleanse one’s heart. It is said in Srimad Bhagavatam that any Sadhana is performed with only one intention which is verily the destruction of the mind – “Sarve Mano Nigraha lakshanantah paro hi yogo manasah samAdhih”. A question may arise that if the mind has to be destroyed then why should it be cleansed and purified?  Destruction of vasanas will lead to the complete subjugation of the mind. Until the mind is purified it cannot be destroyed. The mind is made one-pointed by purification. Only a one-pointed mind can be destroyed. The beauty in the path of Bhakti is that the Sadhana is carried out until the mind is one-pointed and the destruction of the mind happens automatically and the end of the Sadhana is itself destruction. The perfect example is Bheesmacharya. Dharmaputra had a little bit of doubt in his mind and was unable to justify the war. Lord Krishna looked at Dharmaputra and advised him to do a Yagna. Interestingly when Arjuna was also in a state of quandary, the lord gave the Bhagavad Gita and ordained him to fight the battle. In the case of Yudishtira, he is ingrained in dharma and Shastras and goes by the book. To absolve the sins accrued during a war, one has to perform Yagnas to cleanse themselves from the bad sins.  Krishna thus helped Yudhistira to perform three Rajasuya Yagas. Even after performing them, Yudistira was not convinced verily because one has to practice Dharma to experience it. When one goes based on logic and tries to explain it, he will go nowhere. One has to go through the experience of Dharma in order to get the benefit of it and hence Upanishads say – “Dharmam chara”; Do the dharma and don’t analyze and talk about it. When the dharma is done with faith and perseverance, one is bound to reap the fruits. These facts are inexplicable and the pramAnam is only in the shastras.  In one of Sri Swamiji’s kirtan – ‘Muzumadhi nilavu nee chakorai paravai nan .. anbhulla nAyagan nee Asai nAyaki nAn ..’- (Karunai ondre adhAramam kirtan”) The Chakora bird always yearns for the moon and desires to drink from the moon, whereas the Moon never cares for this bird and Sri Swamiji sings — “You are the one who can shower only love whereas all I have is only a liking for you!!. The term ‘Asai’ connotes ‘liking to something’ and this always comes with a clause of expecting something in return. Asai is different from love. The lord always wants to shower his grace without any condition. The grace [karunai] always flows from a higher plane to a lower plane. Ramana Maharishi in one of his works begins with the word ‘Karunai’ and he compares grace to a waterfall – ‘karunai endra endra neer vezchi” since grace is always from a higher to a lower plane.


When one adheres to a dharma as prescribed in the shastras and end with ‘Narayananethi samarpayami”, the lord out of his sheer compassion bestows the fruits of that dharma. 


“yatha pankena pankambhaha surayA va surAkrutham”. [Srimad Bhagavatam 1.8.52]

King Yudishtira confides in the lord that by performing Rajasuya Yuga one cannot counteract the sin of killing men in battle akin to how a wine-bottle cannot be cleansed with wine.

Hearing this Lord Krishna decided that he himself cannot give a solution, verily because the lord is the king of all Dharmas – “Dharmasya prabhur achuyataha”, who bestows the results of all these dharmas.

In order to instill convinction in Dharamaputra’s dharma, the lord decided to take Yudishtira, the epitome of Dharma-Bheeshmacharya.  

“Anva gachan ratair vipraha vyasa boumya dayasthada”

Sage Veda Vyasa and Sage Dhaumya, who are the revered Gurus of the Pandavas accompany them to have the darshan of Bheesma. Since Lord Krishna is Arjuna’s chauffeur, he drove the chariot and took the Pandavas to Kurukshetra where Bheesma was lying in a bed of arrows.

“Bhagavan api viprarse rathe na sae dhanjayaha”

 Sage Suta also comes to witness this great scene along with other great Rishis verily because, the embodiment of dharma, the knower of Dharmas and the fruit-giver of Dharmas all confluence. There cannot be a better way to understand the nuances of dharma [dharma sukshmam]. Bheesma offered his obeisance to everyone out there.

“tam samEthan mahabhagAn upalabhya vasOthama”
“pojayamAsa dharamagnayO desha kAla vibhA gavaith”
 “Krishnam cha that prabhA yagna aAsinam jagadhishwaram”
“hridistam poojayamasam mAyayopAthavikraham” [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.9.10-11]

 Bheeshma, is verily the knower of all dharmas [poojayamasa dharmagnya], has to inturn offer his obeisance to everyone who has come to meet him. But due to the constraints of place, time [desha kala vibhagavaith], he cannot prostrate to everyone. Our dharmas have clearly mentioned when, where and how one should prostrate.   So Bheesma offered his prostrations with his hand while for some he showed his respect through his eyes and to Lord Krishna, he offered his respects through his mind [manas]. The window to one’s heart is verily the eyes and Bheesma’s eyes were completely inundated with tears.  He then looks at Lord Krishna and requests him to wipe the tears from his eyes and Krishna carried out his devotee’s request. Bheesma’s eyes then spotted the Pandavas and only after Krishna wiped out the tears from his eyes, which were the “tears of Maya”,Bheesma  perceived the Pandavas as great Bhagavatas instead of looking at them as his own grand-children.

“abhyachakshAn ragadacihi  andhi bhOteshu shakshusha”

pAṇḍu puthrAn upAsInAn prashraya prema sangatAn
abhyAchaṣṭAnurAgAsrair andhIbhUtena chakṣuṣA [srimad Bhagavatam 1.9.11]

Bheema then looked at the Pandavas through his true eyes bereft of the Maya that was covering his eyes.  He then cried looking at their plight. Oh Pandavas, “Despite being the incarnation of Dharmas, You endured (underwent) so much pain. You have always stood by dharma and had so much respect for the Brahmanas and in spite of Lord Krishna being on your side, you all have undergone so much pain”.  The pain you have undergone is due to fate [kala] which verily controls everyone and that it is irresistible and verily controlling everyone.

sarvam kAla kṛutam manyE bhavatam cha yad apriyam
sapAlo yad vase lOkO vAyor iva ghanAvaliḥ [Srimad Bhagavatam 1.9.14]

Inspite of being blessed with power, knowledge, valor (parakrama) and adhering to dharma the Pandavas had to endure suffering, which was verily due to time [kala].

yatra dharma sutho rAjA  gadhA pAṇir vṛukOdaraḥ
kṛiṣhṇO strI gAṇḍivam chApam suhṛt kṛiṣhṇAs tatho vipat [Srimad Bhagavatam 1.9.15]

Bheesma, beholding the Pandavas as Maha Bhagavatas, says” Don’t think that the controller of time is somewhere in the sky. He is verily standing in front of you”.  He further added that he was verily the charioteer [sArathim], the one who introduced himself as a younger-cousin [mAtuleyam] to Dharmaputra, as a friend [mitram] to Arjuna, the secretary, well-wisher [sauhrudAd] and messenger[dhUtam] to the Pandavas.

 yam manyase mAtuleyam priyam mitram suhṛttamam
akaroḥ sacivam dhUtam sauhṛdAd atha sArathim [Srimad Bhagavatam 1.9.20]

 Even though Lord Krishna held all these portfolios, none of them are true. The precept that is true about him is that he is present in everyone’s heart. He is verily the true in-dweller of everyone. He is omnipotent and omniscient but he is perceived as a friend, well-wisher and charioteer due to one’s ignorance.

 sarvAtmanaḥ sama dṛushO hy advayasyAnahankṛuteḥ
that kṛutam mati vaiṣhamyam niravAdyasya na kvacith [Srimad Bhagavatam 1.9.21]

 All along Bheesma empathized with the Pandavas and then he started to focus on his own self and began to whisper the below mentioned sloka glorifying the lord’s compassion [anukampA] to his unflinching devotees, since Lord Krishna came and stood before him in Kurukshetra when he is about to end his life.  Bheesma’s stuthi is very secretive like Vrithrasura.

tathApy ekAnta bhakteṣu pasya bhUpAnukampitam
yan mesUms tyajataḥ sAkṣhAt kṛiṣhṇo darshanam Agataḥ [Srimad Bhagavatam 1.9.22]

 bhaktyAveshya mano Yasmin vAchA yan nAma kIrtayan
tyajan kalevaram yogI muchyate kAma karmabhiḥ [Srimad Bhagavatam 1.9.23]

 The lord came running for the sake of Bheesma and his eyes were flooded with tears beholding the lord in front of him. The tears were not an artifact of Maya but due to sheer love for the lord (Prema) which Bheesma didn’t want to wipe off. With his eyes loaded with tears of Prema he was able to perceive the lord clearly.  Lord Krishna bestowed Bheesma alone with his beautiful four-handed and legs [Chathurbhuja] form with Shanka, Padma, Gadha and Lochana in his arms, with a pleasing face akin to the rising sun that was bound in the northward direction.  This form of the lord was only visible to Bheesma since he perceived the lord with tears of Prema.

sa deva devO bhagavAn pratIkṣatAm kalevaram yAvad idam hinomy aham
prasanna hAsAruṇa locanollasan mukhAmbujo dhyAna pathas chatur bhujaḥ [Srimad Bhagavatam 1.9.24]

 Bheeshma beholding Lord Krishna in this beautiful Chaturbhuja form embarked to expound on Dharma.

Yudhistira cleared his throat and requested Bheesma to expound on various Dharma, who was very glad to enlighten him with knowledge on Dharma.  This marks the beginning of Shantiparva where he began to talk about various Dharma- Dhana, Moksha,Sri and Bhagavath Dharmas and also expounded on the two divisions [lakshanas] of Vedas.

puruṣha sva bhAva vihitAn yathA varṇam yathAshramam
vairagya rAgopAdhibhyAm AmnAthoubhaya lakṣaṇAn [Srimad Bhagavatam 1.9.26]

 After delineating on the various Dharma, he bestowed Yudhistira with the greatest of the greatest Dharmas – ‘Sri Vishnu Sahasarnama”. The lord witnessed the whole scene and Bheesma looks at Yudhistira signaling the advent of Uttarayanam. For Bheesma, Uttarayanam is verily the auspicious time when Lord Krishna takes Bheesma unto him.

dharmam pravadatas tasya sa kAlaḥ pratyupasthitaḥ
yO yoginas chanda mṛuthyor vAnchitas uTttarAyaṇaḥ [Srimad Bhagavatam 1.9.29]

 Sage Suta mentioned that Bheesmacharya being a great Yogiswara to the world and generally they wait for Uttarayana to shed their mortal coil. After having said this, he immediately para-phrased his statement that it was only for Yogishwaras.

tadopasamhṛutya giraḥ sahasraṇIr vimukta sangam mana Adi pUruṣhe
kṛiṣhṇe lasat pIta paṭe chatur bhuje puraḥ sthite amilita dṛig vyadhArayat [Srimad Bhagavatam 1.9.30]

 vishuddhayA dhAraṇayA hatAshubha tad IkṣayaivAsu gatA yudha sramaḥ
nivṛitta sarvendriya vṛitti vibhramas tuṣhṭAva janyam visṛujan janArdanam [Srimad Bhagavatam 1.9.31]

Yogis transcend into Yoga Samadhi in a particular form (AsanA) in meditative state and shed their mortal coil. Bheesma couldn’t get into any particular form since he was in a bed of arrows. He specifically kept his eyes open, started to meditate and enjoyed every bit of Lord Krishna’s four-handed form, who was standing very close to him. He calmed down his senses and started to sing praise on Lord Krishna and said – ‘Iti’-thus.

 iti matir upakalpitA vitṛiṣhṇA bhagavati sAtvata pungave vibhUmni
sva sukham upagate kvachid vihartum prakṛitim upeyuṣi yad bhava pravAhaḥ [Srimad Bhagavatam 1.9.32]

The term ‘Iti’ is generally used as a concluding word. If we ponder why Bheesma used it as the first word, it is a wrap up of his entire life. It is verily the time to look back and offer everything in one’s life to the holy feet of Lord Krishna. He disclosed that everytime he had a wish, he turned it as affection and offered it to Lord Krishna [upakalpitA vitṛiṣhṇA].  Whenever one encountered a desire [trhishnA], Bheesma advises the desire to be turned towards Lord Krishna [Krishna trishnA] and by doing this, one’s mind is bound to become pure. The pure and pristine mind can then be given to the Lord in a divine marriage. The first sloka of Bheesma stuti marks that divine marriage. A true Brahmachari is one who controls his senses and offers them to Lord Krishna. The next seven slokas is Sapthapathi and the remaining slokas refer to Bheesma’s divine darshan of Dhruva star. The Sapthapathi slokas are meant for Arjuna(Sakha).

Bheesma offers his mind, heart and bhakti to Lord Krishna thus making his life complete. By chanting the divine names of Lord Krishna, by reveling in the divine stories and kirtans of Lord Krishna will transform all the worldly-desires (trishnA) to Krishna trishnA. The first sloka of Bheesma Stuthi is the essence of the entire stuti akin to the first sloka of Vishnu Sahasarnamam.

The satsang concluded after reminisicing Bheesma’s Krishna bhakti.

‘kam vA dayAlum’ – 2

26 Sep

The Lord’s compassion is ‘Koti Maatru Vatsalyam’ and he exhibits this by even bestowing liberation to someone who came feigning as a mother to kill Krishna. Out of the Lord’s infinite [aneka] leelas, Putana Moksham marks the Lord’s first [prathama] leela.  The reason the Lord chose this leela was because he wanted to show his completeness [Purnathva]. All the Shodasha kalas [Purnam Brahma Sanadhanam], which are the sixteen qualities, are manifested in this leela.  The Lord wanted to show the true personality that was concealed in little Krishna and wanted the fortunate ones to understand his true nature [Jananthi eva jananthou].  It is only by the divine grace of the Lord that the individual can perceive the Lord as the supreme truth who has incarnated to mingle with the normal mortals and this precept was indeed the experience of the Gopis.  The Lord after consuming the milk along with Putana’s life-force didn’t open his eyes.

Sage Suka only portrays the suffering of Putana as the Lord was drinking her life-force. It is verily because the moment the Lord’s grace falls on a devotee, one should only see the devotee’s yearning for the Lord and so Sage Suka only talks about the sufferings of Puthana and the impact of such a devotee to this world. A sinner like Puthana was bestowed with the highest of the highest which is verily liberation. Seeing Puthana being bestowed liberation, the mountains, the trees, water and earth became jealous of Puthana.

tasyAḥ svanenAtigabhIra ramhasA sAdrir mahI dyaus ca cacAla sa grahA
rasA disaś ca pratinedire janAḥ petuḥ kṣitau vajra nipAta sankayA

Putana took a huge colossal form and fell in the entire Gokulam. Akin to how Indra killed Vritrasura with Vajraayudam , here in the case of Puthana, the Vajram is verily Krishna Prema . When one is inundated with Krishna Prema, can they ever come out of it? – ‘Veezhdavar endrum Veezhndavar dan undo’. Puthana completely fell for Krishna’s Prema and never came back.


patamAnopi tad dehas trigavyUthy antara drumAn
chUrṇayAmAsa rAjendra mahad AsIt tad adbhutam [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.6.14]

IsA mAtrogradamṣṭrAsyam giri kandara nAsikam
gaṇḍasaila stanam raudram prakIrṇAruṇa mUrdhajham [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.6.15]


The mortal remains of Puthana lay scattered on a six mile radius scattering all trees. On a lighter note it is believed that Krishna killed Puthana to create some place for him to play with his friends in Gokula. Since the primary profession in Gokula was to herd cows, Gokula was full of green pastures, shrubs and trees for the cows to graze upon and this gave no place for Krishna to play with his friends and hence he created place for himself by killing Putana and she helped him to do the deforestation with her mortal remains.  He refers to King Parikshit as Rajendra verily to let him know that if one is a king one cannot imagine doing such a heroic act.

Sage Suka then gave a detailed description of Putana’s gory appearance and he verily did that to instill dispassion [vairagya and virakthi] in King PArikshit to not be feared of death. The moment the soul lives a person, the body appears to be very gory. Suka says that the Gopas and Gopis were scared of the gory appearance of Puthana who were first horrified in hearing the shrill voice of Putana.


Lord Krishna was joyfully playing in the chest of Putana devoid of any fear. On the other side, the Gopis became very scared [jAtha  sampramahah].

bAlam  cha tasyA urasi krIḍanhtam akutobhayam
gopyas tUrṇam samabhyetya jagṛhur jAta sambhramAḥ [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.6.18]


In the above mentioned sloka, there is a ‘cha’ and that has a beautiful reason. The life soul [athma’s] origin point is Puthana’s chest. When the Lord drank the life force of Puthana, her life-force started to play from outside and that life-force has taken a form of a small boy [balam] and was fearlessly playing in her chest [balam cha tasyA urasI]. The Gopis who witnessed Krishna playing on Puthana’s chest had two kinds of fears. Firstly they were terrified seeing the gory form of Puthana and secondly they were frightened to see Krishna fearlessly playing on Puthana and so quickly snapped him away and approached Yashoda and Rohini to consult how they can ward off the evil forces from Lord Krishna.


Since Suka was one of the Gopis he fondly recollects how they went and handed Krishna to Yashoda and Rohini. The Gopis thought it was their duty to protect Krishna and so along with Yashoda and Rohini swayed the cow’s switch around Lord Krishna praying for his protection [samyak].  The point to be noted is that each and every Gopi had a thought of protecting Krishna and that prema takes over Jnana here depicting the Vatsalya bhakti of Gopis on the Lord. Even though they were totally cognizant that the little child is indeed Lord, still they thought that it was their duty to protect the child from evil forces.

yasodA rohiṇIbhyAm  tAḥ samam bAlasya sarvataḥ
rakṣhAm vidadhire samyak go puccha bhramaṇAdibhiḥ [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.6.19]


The Gopis first prayed for the Lord’s protection [samyak] and prayers are the greatest protection for anyone.  The Gopis would go any far to protect the little Krishna [adhibhi]. Here they only swayed the tail of the cow to protect the Lord, but even if they had to sway the entire cow around the Lord, they wouldn’t hesitate to do it.


Gho mUtreṇa snApayitvA punar go rajasArbhakam
rakṣAm cakrus cha sakṛta dvAdasangeṣhu nAmabhiḥ [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.6.20]


They scurried to wash the child in cow’s urine, which is an excellent purifier and cleansed his body and then applied the dust from the cows all over Krishna by chanting the twelve divine names of the Lord, akin to how an elephant when first given a bath and allowed to dry immediately takes the mud and put it on itself.

The Gopis then took fresh water from the well and cleansed themselves to remove the negativities that they might have contracted with contact with Puthana [Bhija Shuddhi]. They cleansed themselves not for any personal interest but didn’t want to inadvertently pass it back to Lord Krishna.

gopya samspuha salilA angeu karayo pthak
nyasyAtmany atha bAlasya bIja nyAsam akurvata [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.6.21]


They first invoked the eleven different parts of the Lord’s body [avayavas] from toe to head [padadikesham] of the Lord to protect Lord Krishna.


avyAd ajonghri maṇimAms tava jAnv athoru  yajNocyutaḥ kaṭi taṭam jaṭharam hayAsyaḥ
hṛut kesavas tvad uraIsa inas tu kaṇṭham viṣṇur bhujam mukham urukrama Isvaraḥ kam

cakryagrataḥ saha gado harir astu paschAt tvat pArsvayor dhanur asI madhu hAjanas cha
koṇeṣu sankha urugAya uparu upendras tArkṣyaḥ kṣitau haladharaḥ puruṣaḥ samanthAt [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.6.22-23]


The Gopis  performed a Namasankirtan while enjoying the different parts of the Lord’s body and prayed to Lord Aja protect the legs, Maniman protect the knees and Achytha to protect the child’s upper part of the waist, Hayagriva to protect the stomach , Keshava protect the heart, Eshwara protect Krishna’s chest, Sun God protect the neck, Vishnu protect the arms, Trivikrama take care of the face, Eshwara protect the head and just not from toe to head protection but also prayed to the Lord with Gadha and Chakra to protect Krishna from front, Lord Hari protect him from back, may the one with bow and arrow from all sides and the one with shanka ,Lord Panduranga purify from all corners.

indriyAṇi hṛṣIkesaḥ prAṇAn nArAyaṇo vatu|
shvetadvIpa patis cittam mano yogesvaro vatu|| [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.6.24]


They prayed to Hrishikesha to protect all the Indriyas and may Lord Narayana protect the air, may the mind be cleansed by the supreme Yogeshwara, may the Prishnigarba cleanse the intellect [buddhi], the inner being purified by Gopis.

They continue to pray that Govinda protect the child when he is playing, Madhava [the consort of Mahalakshmi] be with the child when he is asleep, the Lord of Vaikunta protect the child when he walks, let Narayana protect the child when he is sitting and Lord Yagnyabuk protect the child when he is eating.

Keshava means ‘K and esha and va’. The letter ‘K’ connotes Lord Brahma. ‘Esha’ refers to Lord Shiva and ‘Va’ refers to the Lord who fulfills both Lord Brahma and Shiva.  Brahma is the source of intellect and Shiva [Esha] is the source of ego and so when the Lord who is controller of both intellect and ego comes and resides in the heart , both ego and intellect will be under control. Each organ of Lord Krishna is protected by one deity and the Gopis are cognizant of this and hence pray to all the deities to protect Krishna.


pushnigarbhas tu te buddhim AtmAnam bhagavAn paraḥ|
antam pAtu govinda sayAna pAtu mAdhavaḥ||

vrajantham avyAd vaikuṇṭa AsInam tvAm sriya patiḥ|
bhunjAnam yajnabuk pAtu sarva graha bhayankara
ḥ||[Srimad Bhagavatam 10.6.25-26]


The Gopis continue to do prayer as there are so many other evils because of the bad planetary positions and demons and that all these evil spirits and demons are vanquished by uttering the divine name of Krishna. Here Sage Suka lucidly reveals the knowledge [Jnana] possessed by the Gopis. He first showed the divine love that the Gopis had on Krishna and when one has that pure and pristine love in heart, they also possess knowledge.  The knowledge that the Gopis possessed was that they were aware that Krishna was indeed the Lord and that all the demons and spirits that they prayed to be vanquished was not for Krishna but for them.

koṭarA revathI jyeṣṭhA pUtanA mAtṛkAdayaḥ
unmAdA ye hy apasmArA deha prAṇendriya druhaḥ

svapna dṛuṣṭA mahotpAtA vṛuddhA bAla grahAs cha ye
sarve nasyanthu te viṣṇor nAma grahaṇa bhIravaḥ [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.6.28-29]


Sage Suka also justifies as to why they did Namasankiran even though they knew Krishna needed no protection of any sort. When they took Krishna away from Putana, the Gopis thought that Krishna was looking pale and since he incarnated as Gopala, they wagged the cow’s tail and bathed the Lord in cow’s urine and smeared the dust from the cows on the Lord. After doing all this, they realized that Krishna was all the more sad and then they realized that this birth of the Lord was to glorify the divine names chanting of the Lord and so they performed Namasankirtan and Narayana Kavacham to the Lord. After doing Namasankirtan, Krishna’s face rejoiced. This was indeed a beautiful anubhava of the Gopis.


Sage Suka then wraps up this beautiful episode by conveying the fact that Lord Krishna’s health was fine inspite of consuming the poison from Puthana and that he was hungry and Yashoda fed him well with her milk and put him to sleep. Sage Suka also mentions that the Lord was protected verily because of the Namasankirtan performed by the Gopis.

iti praṇaya baddhAbhir gopAbhiḥ kṛuta rakṣhaṇam
pAyayitvA stanam mAtA sannyaveshayad Atmajam [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.6.30 ]


Nanda Maharaj returns back to Gokula from Mathura and was horrified to see the course of events that had taken place during his absence. He mentioned to other Gopas that Vasudeva was indeed a great Yogishwara and that things happened just like how he had predicted. Nanda Maharaj wanted to immediately clean up the mess and wanted to clear the corpse of Putana.

They pondered on the options that they had before them to destroy Putana’s corpse. Some thought that they can throw her gigantic body in the water while few exclaimed that she may regain life from water. Some wanted her corpse pieces to be the food for eagles and some disagreed saying that the eagles might re-assemble her body and that she might regain her life akin to Jarasandha and so they all unanimously decided to cut her corpse into pieces and made a big mountain out of her body pieces and burned it using logs of wood.

dahyamAnasya dehasya dhUmas chAguru saurabhaḥ
utthitaḥ kṛiṣhṇa nirbhukta sapady Ahata pApmanaḥ [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.6.34]

The moment Krishna’s touch was bestowed on Putana, she instantly lost her sins she was instantly purified and transformed into a pure soul and Krishna had granted her liberation. AS a testimony to this, beautiful fragrance of sandalwood and other fragrant substances emanated from the fire that lit her corpse.


Saying so, Sage Suka melts in compassion thinking about the immense compassion of the Lord. Putana came down to kill Krishna and the Lord inturn bestowed her with liberation. What will the Lord not bestow on his devotees who are forever thinking about him?.The Lord drinks the milk that the Gopis provide with so much love and what then can one say about the Gopis state, who verily incarnated from Vaikunta.

padbhyAm bhaktha hṛudi sthAbhyAm vandyAbhyAm loka vanditaiḥ
angam yasyAḥ samAkramya bhagavAn api tat stanam [Srimad Bhagavatam [10.6.37]

yAtudhAny api sA swargam avApa jananI gatim
kṛiṣhṇa bhukta stana kṣIrAḥ kim u gAvo numAtaraḥ[Srimad Bhagavatam 10.6.38]


payAmsi yAsAm apibat putra sneha snutAny alam
bhagavAn devakI putraḥ kaivalyAdy akhila pradaḥ

tAsAm aviratam kṛiṣhṇe kurvatInAm sutekṣaṇam
na punaḥ kalpate rAjan samsAro jnAna sambhavaḥ [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.6.39-40]


The Gopis will not have any re-birth and are absolved of samsara, since they have always lived with the Lord and have always been reminiscing him. The Lord can only bestow them with liberation.

Sage Suka immediately turns back to King Parikshit and tells him that one who does devotion to Lord Krishna will be liberated.


There were few Gopas and Gopis who were outside Gokula and when they came back they could smell the sweet fragrance emanating from Putana’s corpse and they all recounted Putana.

Nanda came and hugged Krishna and fondled him with love.


Sage Suka ends Putana Moksham with a phala stuthi.

ya etat pUtanA mokṣam kṛṣṇasyArbhakam adbhutam
sṛuṇuyAc chraddhayA marthyo govinde labhate ratim [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.644]


The fortunate one who listens to Puthana Moksham with dedication will be bestowed with Krishna Bhakti. One doesn’t have to feel bad that he/she is not born during Krishna’s incarnation and that by listening to this divine leela of the Lord one will attain the highest state, Krishna Bhakti.  The Lord bestowed liberation to Puthana and others who witnessed this episode and blesses one with Krishna Bhakti to those who hear this leela with faith and dedication. This goes to show the immense compassion of the Lord.  In Sangraha Parayanam, it is said – ‘Puthana su paya panaha’ which connotes that the Lord drank the most auspicious milk from Puthana, verily because he grants devotion [bhakti] to those who listen to this leela.