Tag Archives: bhagavatam

Govardhana Lila

4 Dec

The first sloka of Srimad Bhagavatam calls everyone to meditate on the supreme truth-’sathyam param dhImayhi’. The purport of meditation (dhyAnam) is to control the mind and dhArana is holding the mind and taking control of the mind. In the  realm of Ashtanga Yoga, the first four steps are about controlling the body by leading a principled life,  following proper rules, controlling the breath [pranA] and mind.

Generally, mind can be defined as a collection of thoughts. When the thoughts go astray, it is difficult to control the mind. Collecting all the thoughts together and fixing it at one point is dhArana.  Akin to how an animal is caught by catching holding of its legs, the mind is controlled through the senses which are the legs of the mind. By tying the five  sense organs , the mind can be easily arrested. Srimad Bhagavatam verily acknowledges this as the means to completely subjugate the mind in the third sloka. The senses act based on the mind and the past vasanas. Controlling the tongue is indeed very arduous when compared to controlling the other senses since the impressions of the vasanas related to the tongue are very strong.  Srimad Bhagavatam in eleventh canto proclaims that one can be considered a winner if he/she can control the tongue-  ‘Jitam sarvam jitam rasae”. Controlling the sense of sight is not easy as well.  On the other hand, controlling the ears are very easy and the easiest way to control the ears is to pour the divine nectar of Srimad Bhagavatam thereby the mind also gets instantly arrested and tie down thereby resulting in the meditation of the Lord ‘sathyam param dheemayi” instantly (thakshanaath). The first sloka of Srimad Bhagavatam talks about the sadhana and the third sloka shows the means to do the sadhana. Once the nectar entered the ears, it yearns for more and more-’bhuvi bhavukaaha’. By the immense grace we bestowed with satsangs almost every day and the word ‘muhuraho’ is truly true for all of us. When listening to Krishna Katha, it is indeed ‘Nithya Nuthana’ which is refreshing and enjoyable every time we get to hear the expositions. Bhagavatam says-’Aklishta Krishnam Aklishta Karinam’, where the Lord doesn’t perform any of his divine plays with any pomp or pride and hence it is so enjoyable. The leelas appear like a sleight of hand.  The way  Sage Sukha recounts the Krishna Leelas with King Parikshit transports all the listeners to Vrindavan the very moment.  Bhagavatam is entwined with divinity and divine love right from the beginning to the end. When Sage Narada explains the form of the Lord to Dhruva, the physical form of the Lord is described bringing out the compassion of the Lord. The Lord has to be enjoyed in his form along with his divine leelas, his compassion (karunyam) and his greatness (Mahatmyam). When Sage Suka narrates Krishna Leela, at every point he shows the compassion, the greatness of Krishna. Sage Suka transforms himself as Yashoda when narrating Damodara Leela. He specifically describes three beautiful leelas of the Lord after Venu Gitam. The order in which he narrates these three leelas is also very interesting.  The first one is that of Gopis doing Pooja to Kathyayani Devi and the Lord blessing (Anugraha) the Gopis.  The second one is the YagnaPatni Uddharanam and the third one being Govardhana Uddharanam.

In Vritrasura’s Chatur sloki,

Ajatha pakshad iva maataram khagah stanyam yata  vatsadhara ksudhartha: |
Priyam priyeva vyushitam vishanna Manoravindaasksha didrukshate tvaam” || (6:11:25)

 

Vritrasura refers to three kinds of bhaktas and starts from a bhakta who knows that his ultimate goal is to attain the Lord but is not aware of the path akin to the fledglings who want to be with their mother but helpless since they have no wings yet. The second class of devotees are the ones who also want to attain the Lord and also know the path but are tied down by bonds of relationship and are unable to break them and reach out to the Lord akin to the calf which is tied to a pole. It verily knows that it has to go to its mother to drink the milk when its hungry but it is unable to cut asunder the rope and reach out to its mother. The third class of devotees are that of Sadhus and Jnanis who yearn for the Lord’s divine love and compassion and pine for the Lord to come and take them.

 

But the order in which Sage Suka places these three leelas of the bhagwan is just reversed when compared to Vritrasura’s sloka. The Gopi Vastra Uddharana is placed first. The Gopis are epitome devotees of the Lord and are Jnani. The Gopis aren’t the “Arivondru illatha aayar chirumiyar”. who are very much in terms to the fact that the one standing in front of them is the in-dweller in everyone’s heart. Inspite of knowing this, the Gopis undergo the Kathyayani Devi Pooja praying to the Lord to protect them verily as their husbands – “pathim me kuruthe namaha”.  The Gopis pine for the Lord to take control of their life even though they know that the Lord is with them all the time.

Na khalu gopikaa nandano bhavan,
Akhila dehinam antharathma druk,
Vikhana sarthitho viswa gupthaye,
Sakha udeyivan sathwatham kule.

 

It definitely makes more sense for someone to do a pooja if they are far from Vrindavan. Gopis, being  Vrindavana Vasis are not satisfied with that relationship; they want a more close relationship and want the Lord to lead their lives.

The second comes the Vrishni Patni Uddharana. There is a famous term – ‘bhaya bhakti’ and this aptly fits the Yagni Patnis. They are scared of their husbands (bhaya) and they  do bhakti to Lord Krishna. Their husbands are very much in Brindavan and they are not with terms to the fact that it is verily the Lord who has come down as Krishna. They perceive  him as a mere cow-herd and they are in search of something superior – “Stanyam yatha vatsa tharA sudhArthahA”.  The Brahmanas are performing a Yaga with the opinion that they will be bestowed with some Amrutha from the Swarga loka, whereas  Lord Krishna’s lips being the moon and the amrutha from the Lord’s  lips is flowing like a river. The fortunate ones to drink this Amrutha are the wives of these Brahmanas. The Lord bestows devotion to the Brahmanas verily through their wives who realized their mistake and were in remorse and thus offered their salutations to the Lord.

tasmai namo bhagavate kṛiṣhṇAyAkuṇṭha medhase
Yan mAyA mohita dhiyo bhramAmaḥ karma vartmasu [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.23.50]

The Yagna Patnis are bound to their husbands even though they know that Lord Krishna who is “Poornam brahma sanAthanam”  is right next door . They are unable to cut asunder their family bondage and they continue to sit in the Yaga Shala and witness their husbands performing the sacrifices.  In this case, the Lord needs to come to them and comes with his friends (sakhya bhAva).

shyamam hiranya-paridhim vanamalya-barha-dhatu-pravala-nata-venam anavratamse
vinyasta-hastam itarena dhunanam abjam karnotpalalaka-kapola-mukhabja-hasam [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.23.22]

Lord Krishna along with his brother Balarama and other Gopas took the cows for grazing very closeby to the place where the Brahmanas were performing spiritual sacrifices. The Gopas started to feel hungry and the Lord sent them to the Yaga Shala for food. When the Gopas went and supplicated the Brahamanas they were severely reprimanded and sent them away. They then went to the wives of the Brahamanas and asked for food.  The Lord comes along with his friends and his hand resting on a friend’s shoulder.   He first sends his friends (who are verily Bhagavatas) to the Yaga Shala. He bestows Bhagavata’s (the Gopas) darshan for the Yagna Patni’s and then he blesses them with his darshan.

The wives decided to leave the Patnishala and run unto the Lord  after abandoning their husbands in the Yaga shala – ‘Tyaktva bandhu bhayascha  sarvAn niyamam yuyam samAgachathaa ‘.   They carry with them all the delicacies that they prepared to offer it to Lord Krishna. The Lord along with the other Gopas relished all the food brought by the Yagna Patnis.

aho vayam dhanyatha esham na shA dhishistriyaha
Bhaktaah yaa saam mathir jaathaa hasmAkam nischalA harau

The Brahmanas later realized that their wives  were not present in the Patni Shala and after coming to know that they went see Lord Krishna, they were angry with their wives for not seeking their permission to go and see the Lord.  A thought later strikes them that if they have gone and met Krishna even without getting their permission, they realize that Krishna must indeed be the Lord.

A Mahatma says that the Brahmanas are trying to reach the Swarga Loka which is verily the abode of Lord Indra, whereas the ocean of Amrutha is right in from them.

Amrutha rasa baram thE vaktra chandram mukunda
Dvija vara nikarastE dhristum ichanthi naiva
Visi da niya ma yukta na charantasya yagnan
Amrutham amaraloke pAthum ichanthi hantha

The Lord’s lips are akin to Chandra and the yagna Patnis are bestowed to partakhe the divine nectar [amrutha] coming from the Lord’s lips.  The Lord then bestows devotion [bhakti] to the Brahmanas  through their wives.

The Brahamans realize that Krishna is indeed the Lord and thus offer their obeisance unto hi,.

tasmai namo bhagavate krishnashnAyAkunta medhase
Yan mAyA mohita dhiyO bhramAmah karma vartmasu [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.23.50]

The Brahmanas are Bhagavatas who are trying to reach Swarga, which is verily the abode of Lord Indra. They are tied down by their pride, who verily control their wives.  They being Brahamans, wouldn’t perceive anyone from another race  to be the Lord.  The Lord absolved the ego in all these Brahmanas.

The Lord then did a root-cause analysis. Krishna wondered about the egoistic Brahmanas and realized that the Lord whom they worship, Indra is full of ego and decided to teach him a lesson. He absolves the pride of Lord Indra through yet another divine play – ‘Govardhana Uddharana’.

Diwali was around the corner and one day comes back home after all herding the cows.  The way the Lord protects the cow-herds (Gopas) is akin to the mother-bird protecting its fledglings. Just like how the fledglings have no way to reach to their mother bird, the Gopas have no way out and cannot do anything in that state  and they cry out – ‘Govindam sharanam yayu‘ and the Lord protects them  akin to ‘Ajatha pakshad iva maataram khagah stanyam yata  vatsadhara ksudhartha’.  The Lord shows the true nature of the devotees, the Gopis being true Jnanis and the Gopas are verily ‘arivondrum illadha ayarkulam’. The term ‘Arivondrum’ means ‘abalAnam Ashaktanam’.  The Gopas have surrendered unto the Lord.

‘Aklishta krishnam aklishta kaarinam’- The Lord has various different agendas and he accomplished all of them in one leela.  The Lord had eaten a sumptuous meal cooked by the Yagna Patnis during Yagna Patni Uddharana and wanted to eat his own kind of food with lots of savories and  the food cooked by the residents of Gokula and that was the first reason why he wanted to perform  Govardhana Uddharana. The second in the agenda was to annihilate Lord Indra’s pride and the third reason was to protect the Vraja Vasis. He wanted to keep the Govardhana Mountain on his head and the reason is indeed very beautiful. Lord Krishna loves all the Haridasas and Govardhana Mountain was the greatest Hari dasa as proclaimed by the Gopis – ‘hanthAya madri abalA hari dasya varyaha’.  

Kulasekara Azhwar sings ‘padiyAi kedanthu un pavazha vAi kAnpena’ and Govardhana hill protects everyone and acts like a stone so that people can jump on him, while he enjoys the Lord’s beautiful lips. He provides all kinds of resources to residents of Gokula.

At one instant of time, Lord Krishna went to Govaradhana Hill and sat on the hill. Govardhana hill developed Mathru Bhavam (Vatsalyam) as soon Krishna sat down and started to caress him. He starts to think himself as Nanda Baba since the child comes and sits in the lap of the father.  

“Vatsalya yukto hari sangamena
Nandathi ayam gokula raja varyaha
atmAnam aruyha cha nandasoonou
Kridathyayam nandathi shaila raja”

Krishna, who was seven years old is caressed by Govaradhana Hill, and he massages the Lord’s feet. Here the term ‘Nandathi’ as two meanings. ‘Nandathi’ means happy and it also means that ‘he becomes Nanda’. Govardhana Hill –  ‘Nandathi ayam gokula raja varyaha’ is a loving Nanda who caresses Krishna with all the lush grass and fondles Krishna in a loving manner.  

The Lord during his incarnation as Varaha, when he came out of Brahma’s nose,  he verily became the son of Brahma. But he is supposed to be the father of Brahma and so Brahma was in a state of quandry as to whether he is Lord’s son or his father . He finally perceived the Lord as his son during Varaha avatar. Krishna took Govardhana Hill as his father.  Vasudeva carried the Lord on his head and here the Lord carried Govardhana mountain on his head. He wanted to carry his father. He could  neither lift Vasudeva nor Nanda Baba and so he lifted Govardhana Hill.

Bhagavan api tathraiva baladevana samyuthaha‘– The Lord enacted this divine play with the help of his brother, Balarama .  The other divine play where the Lord enacted on his own was Rasa Leela. Since the Lord performed this divine play, one should not ponder as to how the Lord lifted the mountain.  Sage Suka beautifully expounded this divine play by saying that Lord Krishna along with his brother Balarama(Baladeva) went to the place where Indra Yaga was being performed and enquired about the proceedings to his father, Nanda Baba.  He replied to Krishna that it was Indra Puja-’Parjanya bhagavan Indra’, who is verily the one bestows all goodness. Krishna realized that the worship to Indra was performed out of fear and exhorted Nanda Baba that devotion should not be done out of fear.  

Nanda Baba agreed to what Krishna told, however he mentioned that  it is not correct to stop some ritual that has been done for many years.  Krishna after hearing what Nanda Baba mentioned, convinced him that it is not correct to perform Puja for Lord Indra. Nanda Baba was also convinced at this point and asked Krishna as to what they should do with all the delicious food items that has been freshly prepared.

They have made food items with different pulses, milk items [papayasam] and savories.

pacyantAm vividhAḥ pAkAh sUpAntAḥ pAyasAdayaḥ
SamyAvApUpa-saṣkulyah sarva-dohas ca gruhyatAm [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.24.26]
hUyantAm agnayaḥ samyag brAhmaṇair brahma vAdibhiḥ
annam bahu guṇam tebhyO deyam vo dhenu dakshinAh [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.24.27]

They had also prepared a lot of special dishes with rice in addition to variety rice. The Lord ordained Nanda Baba to offer worship to Govardhana Mountain by offering all the food items  and cirumambulate the Mountain, Brahamanas and the cows.

svalankṛutA bhuktavantaḥ svanuliptAḥ suvAsasah
pradakshinAm cha kuruta go viprAnala parvatAn  [Srimad Bhagvatam 10.24.28]

After convincing Nanda Baba to offer worship to Govardhana Hill, he tells his father to go ahead with Govardhana Pooja only if he wishes and that it was only his idea. The Lord assured his father that this Pooja is indeed the most favorite for the cows, Brahmanas and Govardhana hill. This pooja is the most accepted one by me as well- ‘mahyaṁ ca dayito makhaḥ ‘ and here Krishna subtly shows that he is indeed the Lord.

etan mama mataṁ tāta kriyatāṁ yadi rocate
ayaṁ go-brāhmaṇādrīṇāṁ mahyaṁ ca dayito makhaḥ  [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.24.30]
kAlAtmanA bhagavatA sakra darpa jighAmsayA
proktam nishamya nandAdyAḥ sAdhva gruhnantha tad vachaḥ [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.24.31]

All the residents of Vraja performed Pooja to Govardhana Hill as advised by Krishna. The Lord took a huge form of Govardhana Hill (Pitha putrasya jaayathe) and relished all the exotic food offerings offered by the Gopas and Gopis.

krishnas tvanyatamaM rUpam gopa vishrambhaṇam gataḥ
sailo smIti bruvan bhUri balim Adad bṛuhad vapuḥ [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.24.35]

After the Pooja and offering their obeisances to Govardhana Hill, everyone went back to their homes.

tasmai namo vraja janaih saha cakra AtmanAtmane
aho pashyata sailOsau rUpI no anugraham vyadhAt [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.24.36]

Back in Indra Loka, Indra realized that there was no Indra Pooja.

indras tadAtmanaḥ pUjAm vijNAya vihatAm nrupa
gopebhyah krishna nAthebhyo nandAdibhyaS cukopa ha [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.25.1]

He was furious and  called the clouds who are verily the Bhagavatas. The  huge cloud Samvartaka was summoned who are responsible for rains, and ordained them to go to Gokulam.

ganam sAmvartakam nAma meghAnAm chAnta kArIṇAm
indraḥ prachodayat kruddho vAkyam cAhesa mAny uta [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.25.2]

Hearing this, Samvartaka clouds were overjoyed.  They were doing Tapas in Indra Loka to go and meet Lord Krishna. These clouds have to remain in one place without any job for many eon of time [yugas]. They will be summoned only towards the end of the Yuga. At the end of Chatur Yuga, there is a paralaya and the clouds are ordained to show their presence only at that time and shower heavy rains. There is no way of Bhagavath darshanam for these Samvartaka clouds.  The Lord’s descent to Gokula was also to shower his grace and compassion on these Samvartaka clouds.

The clouds began rumbling right from Indra Loka and were headed to Gokula like how devotees are headed to take part  in Lord’s  Utsavam.

ganA ganEti garjhitE  ganE samA kulam janaM

Indra scolded Krishna for stopping the Pooja to him and thus offended him.

aho ShrI mada mAhAtmyam gopAnAm kAnanaukasAm
krishnam martyam upAshritya ye chakrur deva helanam [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.25.3]

It is a fact that the clouds cannot rain by themselves.  They need someone to trigger them. Only if winds activate them, clouds can rain.  Indra had not summoned the winds so the clouds couldn’t rain. But they were eager to go to Gokula and have the darshan of the Lord.

aham chairAvatam nagam AruhyAnuvraje vrajam
Marud gaṇair mahA vegair nanda-goṣṭha jighAmsayA [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.25.7]

Lord Indra ordained the clouds to pour torrential rain in Nanda Gopa’s settlement and told them that he will follow them in Airavata along with the wind gods.  The clouds reached Gokula. Even though Indra told them that he will also come to Gokula, he never told them the exact time. Indra sent the clouds, thunder and winds but he was still in Indra Loka. He first sent all the Bhagavatas to have the darshan of the Lord.  The wind-gods poked the clouds and the heavy rains began to flood Gokula.

vidyotamAnA vidyudbhih stanantah stanayitnubhih
tIvrair marud gaṇair nunnA vavrushur jala SarkarAh [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.25.9]

The clouds propelled by winds flinged hailstones.

sthUnA-sthUlA varsha dhArA munchatsvabhreshv abhIkshnasah
jalaughaih plAvyamAnA bhUr nAdrishyata natonnatam [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.25.10]

The whole land of Gokula was inundated with floods and it was water everywhere and only boats could go in the water. An important precept in this sloka – ‘nAdrishyata natonnatam’; there was equality everywhere. There was absolutely no difference between between the high and the low and that is when everyone realized that all are equal.

athyAsArAthi vAtena pasavo jAta vepanAh
gopA gopyas cha sItArtA govindam sharaṇam yayuh [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.25.11]

All the residents of Gokula, along with the cows shivering in the cold went and surrendered to Lord Krishna. They went and requested the Lord to protect the cows from the severe rains.  They had covered the heads of the calves and surrendered unto Krishna.

Siraḥ sutAms cha kAyena pracchAdyAsAra pIditAh
vepamAnA bhagavatah pAda moolam upAyayuh

krishna krishna mahA bhAga tvannAtham gokulam prabho
trAtum arhasi devAn nah kupitAd bhaktha vatsala

SilA varsAti vAtena hanyamAnam acetanam
nirIkshya bhagavAn mEnE kupitendra kritam harih [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.25-12-14]

As soon as the people of Vraja surrendered to the Lord, he pondered.

apartv aty ulbaṇam varsham ati vAtam silA mayam
Sva yAge vihatE smAbhir indrO nAshAya varshati [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.25.15 ]

Krishna lifted the mountain in order to protect his people who verily consider him to be their Lord and who are verily under the Lord’s protection.

tasmAn mac charanam goshtham man nAtham math parigraham
gopAye svAtma yOgena so yam me vrata Ahitah [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.25.18]

The Lord thus lifted and held aloft the Govardhana mountain with one finger. He lifted as though he lifted a mushroom; ‘chatrAkam iva bAlakah’.  He called out to everyone and asked them to take shelter under the hill. Everyone were scared to go below since they were concerned that the hill may slip and fall from Krishna’s finger.  The Lord assured everyone that the mountain will stay tight in his finger grip and assured them not to worry since they have already surrendered unto him. He convinced them that it will protect them from all miseries and everyone enjoyed being in Lord’s shelter for seven days.

ity uktvaikena hasthena kritvA govardhanAchalam
dadhAra lIlayA vishnus chatrAkam iva bAlakah [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.25.19]
athAha bhagavAn gopAn he amba tAtha vrajaukasaḥ
yathopajosham visata giri gartham sa go dhanAh [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.25.20]
na trAsa iha vaḥ kAryo madh hastAdri nipAtanAt
VAta varsha bhayenAlam tath trAnam vihita hi vah [Srimad Bhagvatam 10.25.21]

The satsang concluded with prayers and Namasankirtan.

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|
krI
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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘kam vA dayAlum’ – 1

19 Sep

Putana Moksham – Part 1

In no other paths/faiths can one have so much variety.  Be it Dhyana, Yaga it is monotonous and more or less a repetition of a single mantra. It is verily through repetition that the mind gets one pointed. Unlike the other paths, the path of Bhagavatha Dharma is so varied and colorful. All the nine rasas [Navarasas] are present in this wonderful path. It is seen that Lord Krishna exhibits the nine rasas while consuming a small ball of butter. The path of Bhagavatha Dharma is very nature of this entire universe since all the actions are offered to Lord Krishna. It is only in Lord Krishna avatar that he exhibits all Rasas simultaneously. In Narasimha Avatar, the lord exhibited one rasa at a time. It was first Roudra Rasam which eventually turned into Vatsalya Rasa and in Rama avatar, the Gambira Rasa is depicted. In all other Avatars of the lord, one can behold one rasa of the lord at a time and only in Krishna avatar can one perceive all the Rasas and Bhavas simultaneously.

It is seen that the lord had weapons in his avatars. When he incarnated as a Matsya, he had horns, in Kurma avatar he had a mace while encountering Hiranyaksha and a Kothandam in Rama Avatar “seetha samaethaihi Akodanda Bhusaihi”. Unlike other avatars, when the lord manifested as Krishna, his only weapon was Prema. If one has to associate Krishna with a weapon, then it can only be lord’s flute [murali].  The reason he didn’t possess any particular weapons in his incarnation as Krishna was because he wanted to use his body parts as weapons itself.  He killed the demon Shakatasura with his own feet, lifted the Govardhan hill with his fingers. The lord used his left hand to relieve Nruga from his curse as chameleon. Nruga was once a king but because of a curse he became a chameleon in the lord’s backyard in Dwaraka.  The lord relieved him from his curse by merely touching him with his left hand and he used the stick which he used to herd the cows as a weapon in Brahma Mohana leela –

naumIḍya tae abhra vapuṣhe taḍidh ambarAya

guNjAvataMsa paripicCha lasan mukhAya” [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.14.1]

When lord Krishna was born, he immediately remembered his previous births – “tvameva poorga sarge buhu prishni swayambuvae sathim”

He immediately recollected his incarnation as Vamana, the younger brother of Indra – “Upendra ithi vikyathO vamathvacha vamanaha”, and the thought of Indra made him remember his weapon, WajrAudam which he made from the backbone of Sage Dadichi to confront Vrithrasura.

While the lord used his body parts to kill the demons, he gave his most powerful weapon, the lord’s heart to the Gopis.

 

When it came to Poothana Moksham, he didn’t possess any arms when he killed Poothana. He wanted to merely satiate his hunger even though she fed him with poison.  Sage Sukha narrated this leela in the sixth chapter of tenth canto.  This divine play, Poothana Moksham in sixth chapter, also portrays the six characteristics of the lord [Aishwarya/Gunas], namely Yashas, dharmam, thyagam, jnanam, vairagyam and Aishwaryam.  Until the sixth chapter, the leelas of the lord portray him as a small boy and the lord shows that he is indeed the lord in this leela. He enacted this divine play on the sixth day of his birth.  The number six thus has lot of significance in Poothana Moksham where he kills her and relieves her of her suffering.

 

The way Sage Sukha starts to enumerate Poothana Moksham is indeed very beautiful to behold. Nandabada meets Vasudeva after paying his taxes to Kamsa. Whenever two Mahans meet it is for sure an usher to a leela of the lord. When Sage Narada and Nalakubara Manigreeva met, it led to Damodara leela.  Nandababa and Yashoda are verily Mahatmas as they are none other than Dhrona and Dara.  We got Udhava Sandesham when the meeting between the Gopis and Uddhava happened.  The leela of Kamsa Vadham happened when Kamsa/Krishna and Akrura met.

 

Vasudeva knew that some harm is going to befall Gokulam and so he warned Nandababa.

Sage Suka introduces Poothana in a very beautiful Namavali in Srimad Bhagavatam.

 

“kamsena prahitA ghorA  pUtanA bAla ghAtinyaI
sisumsh cachAra nighnantI pura grAma vrajAdiṣhu “[Srimad Bhagavatam 10.6.2]

 

Puthana was driven by Kamsa and was known for wicked and nefarious acts of killing small children and consuming them in order to satiate her hunger. She being a demon didn’t have enough merits to enter Nanda Gokulam by feet and thus touch the holy dust of Gokulam [vrajas] and so Sage Suka says in a subtle manner that she reached Gokulam through sky [kechari].

“sA khechari ekadotpatya  pUtanA nanda gokulam
yoṣitvAmAyayAthmAnam  prAvisat kAma chAriṇI “[Srimad Bhagavatam 10.6.4]

 

Sage Suka then beautifully describes her countenance. She dressed up in a very elegant way in shimmering silk with a lotus flower in her hand that all the Gopis thought that she was indeed Lakshmi, the very consort of Vishnu who had come to pay Krishna, her husband a visit in Brindavan- “dhrastum ivagatham pathIm”.  Even though she had a pleasing gait and charisma, her smile was indeed wicked.

 

bAla grahas tatra vicinvatI sIshUn yadṛuchayA nanda gṛuhe sad antakam

 

She was wandering in the streets of Gokula trying to locate small children to kill them and spotted Nandababa’s palatial house. She entered the house and the house was packed with Gopis who couldn’t stop gazing at little Krishna’s splendor.  Krishna, who was eagerly awaiting Poothana’s arrival, while playing with the Gopis immediately closed his eyes and feigned as if he was sleeping.  She went to the child and carried him and placed on her laps akin to tying a snake around one thinking it to be a rope –“yathOragam suptam abuddhI rajju dhIḥ”. She went and placed the sleeping snake called Krishna on her lap.

The demons are known as NishAchari and it is generally known that they are active only in the night and they don’t have enough powers to be active during the day.  One would ponder as to why the lord closed his eyes on seeing Puthana.  The lord’s eyes are supposed to be the Sun [Chakro suryo ajAyatha]itself and when the eyes are open, then the lord’s true form can be perceived and so when Puthana sees the sun, then it is likely that she might lose the power thinking that it was indeed daytime.

The lord thus closed his eyes and was meditating upon Lord Shiva.

 

She wanted to feed the lord with deadliest poison and no one in Gokula suspected her true identity  which is seen in the first sloka – “tasmin stanam durjara-vIryam ulbaṇam ghorAnkam AdAya sishor dadAv atha
gAḍham karAbhyAm bhagavAn prapIḍya tatprAṇaiḥ samam roṣa-samanvitO pibat” [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.6.10]

 

She thrust the poison into Krishna and goaded him to drink the poison. The lord in turn caught Puthana with both his arms [prapIdya] and drank the life out of her. As he drank the life out of her, the lord became very angry at her. The lord was then meditating at Lord Shiva became very angry, a quality of Lord Shiva at the thought of Puthana who in the guise of a mother went around and killed small children.  With that sheer anger, he burned all the sins of Puthana along with her life.

 

The above sloka can be dissected in two ways. The first half of the sloka shows how a true devotee approaches the lord in a gentle manner and the second half shows how the lord inundates his devotee with his grace.  Puthana was unable to bear the pain and started to cry.

 

sA muncha muncAlam iti prabhAṣhiṇi niṣpIḍyamAnakhila jIva-marmaṇi
vivṛtya netre caraṇau bhujau muhuḥ prasvinNa gAtrA kṣipatI ruroda ha[Srimad Bhagavatam 10.6.11]

 

Puthana unable to bear the pain began to shout “Enough, Enough, leave me and let me go”. In a philosophical view, Puthana cries out to the lord to save her from the pangs of Samsara.  Her voice was so shrill when she shouted the three words and it appeared as though she was giving a discourse. In Guru Granth Sahib, Puthana is screaming that this samsara is enough for her and cries out to the lord to relieve her from this samsara – ‘muncha muncha alam”.

 

When the lord was drinking Puthana’s life-force, her voice should have been dying as well and in contrary, her voice became louder and shriller as her life-force was fading. It was verily because she was in contact with the source called lord. The life source drains into the lord who is the infinite source of energy and so she was able to scream more as she was dying.    An example to substantiate is from the life-history of Dhruva.. “Yo antha pravishya mama vacham imam prasuptam sanjeevayathi akhila sakthi dara swadhamna anyamstha hasta charanas shravanaswadhahdim pranam namo bahagvathe purushaya tubhyam” [Srimad Bhagavatam 4.9.6]

When Dhruva was doing intense tapas, his life-force within was very weak. As soon as the lord touched Dhruva in his cheek, the life-force within Dhruva was rejuvenated and hence all the senses started to function.

 

As Puthana began to shout, her eyes started to roll, began to sweat profusely and she began kicking her legs.

“kAya vAchA AnI mana” – The sense organs should react to one’s bhakti in the heart and so her eyes started to roll and tears were pouring out akin to a prema bhakta. Her hands and legs began to kick fast akin to how a true devotee would dance in divine ecstasy.

 

The entire universe and planets began reverberating along with Mother Earth to the shrill cries of Puthana out of her devotion to the lord. The cries of Puthana were heard even in the world below earth.

 

tasyAḥ svanenAtigabhIra ramhasA sAdrir mahI dyaus ca cacAla sa grahA
rasA disaś ca pratinedire janAḥ petuḥ kṣitau vajra nipAta sankayA [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.6.12]

 

The common people started to fall down thinking that it was thunder that was striking. This being the lord’s first leela, the lord was showing everyone that he is indeed the god himself, verily proving that the controller is the cause and that the vibrations are the effect.

 

NisA carItTham vyathita stanA vyasur vyAdAya kesAmsi caraṇau bhujAv apI
prasArya goṣṭhe nija rUpam AsthitA vajrAhato vṛtra ivApatan nṛpa [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.6.13]

 

The lord indeed wanted to show everyone her true form and that very moment she was instantly transformed to a demoniac form. The lord consumed the life-force [prana] of all those who had been consumed by her and he bestowed liberation to all those who were killed by Putana.

 

When the lord ate the dust from the ground, Yashoda comes running to Krishna to inquire as to what he ate. Krishna , did you eat the dust from the ground and he emphatically denied.

naham bhakshitavan amba sarve mithyabhisamsinah ityatra jarasandhacchaladau casatya

 

The reason he denied was because it was just not Krishna who consumed the dust but also all the lives whom he consumed and taken unto himself also ate the mud. Had yashoda asked Krishna “did you all eat the mud?” and Krishna would have happily said yes.

 

Since he drank the entire life force of Putana right into the root of the being, she was in excruciating pain and died akin to how Vritrasura was killed by Indra . Vritrasura came again and again even when he was struck by Indra and then the lord finally advised Indra to use Vadrayuja from Sage Daichi’s back-bone and that he won’t come back again.   Both Putana and Vritrasura attained the lord’s feet and were never born again.   When the lord killed Putana, he did not possess any weapons whereas in Vritrasura’s case he used Vadrayuja and both were liberated forever.

 

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

 

When Putana fell dead, she had covered an area of six miles and as she fell down, all the trees were smashed and covered her huge body thus making the trees as logs for her own cremation. Sage Suka was one of the Gopis who witnessed the whole scene and thus he admired the leela to the fullest in Gokula.

 

IṣA mAtrogradamṣṭrAsyam giri kandara nAsikam
gaṇḍasaila stanam raudram prakIrṇAruṇa mUrdhajham

andha kUpa gabhIrAkṣam pulinAroha bhIṣhaṇam
baddha setu bujorvanghri sUnya toyahradodaram

santatrasuḥsma tad vIkṣya  gopA gopyaḥ kalevaram
pUrvam tutanniḥsvanita bhinna hṛut karṇa mastakAḥ [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.6.15 – 17]

 

Sage Suka describes the appearance of Putana who lay dead. When she was fell to the ground, the lord was reminded of his devotee, Kumbakarna in his previous incarnation as Lord Rama.

 

Each baala leela of Lord Krishna was verily for the Pandavas for the future. The lord wanted to see what it would take to destroy “one Akshauhini senai”. He knew that Gadothkajan, would be born to Bheema and would destroy one Akshauhini senai. The lord wanted to know the area that would take for the destruction of one Ashauhini Senai and hence he got that idea that it would take an area of about six miles by Putana’s destruction.

 

She had a huge nose with huge arms and legs. Gopas and Gopis were first terrified hearing the sound emanating from her and now they were all the more scared seeing her gory form.  This is yet another proof that sound came before the form.

 

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

But the lord was playing on the chest of Putana. It is known that the lord only plays on the devotee’s hrudaya. He at first induced fear in everyone by showing the gory form of Puthana and then he himself absolved that fear by fearlessly playing on her chest [akutho bayahm]. He is truly ‘Baya kruth baya nAshanahaha’.

 

It is indeed a beautiful precept that the entire Vishu Sahasarnama can be explained with Krishna Leela itself. The word ‘Damodara’ is “dama Udara’. He indeed has all the worlds in his stomach and hence he is called Damodara.

 

The Gopis 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.

 

The satsang ended with prayers and Namasankirtan.

Jan 10: ‘PAlita Muchukunda’ – 1

10 Jan

The lord on the day of Shukla Margazhi  Ekadasi day opens the door to Vaikunta and anyone who enters the entrance of Vaikunta [Vaikunta Vasal, Uttara Dwaram], on this day is said to reach Vaikunta and be in the lord’s company. Since Vaikunta Ekadasi falls in the Hindu calendar of Maargazhi, the Uttara Dwaram in all Sri Vaishnavite temples is open before daybreak. The lord in Srirangam dresses up as Mohini Devi and goes around the sanctum sanctorum of the divine mother to show that he is indeed more beautiful than the divine mother who never comes out of her sanctorum in Srirangam. She simply disregards the lord who is dressed in the form of Mohini since no one can even dare to compare to the beauty and elan of the divine mother.

 

Interestingly, it is believed that the lord is the first one to enter the Vaikunta Vasal verily because he always desires to be in the company of his devotees. It is only secondary for the lord to reside in Vaikunta.

 

Atha vaishnava chiteashu drshtva bhaktim aloukikam
Nijalokam parithyajya bhagavAn bhakthavathsalaha [Srimad Bhagavatha Mahatmyam 4.1]

The Lord comes as Bhakthavatsala, who is verily Muralidhara with a flute wherever he sees his devotees in a divine communion [aloukika bhakti].

Vanamali Ganashyamaa Pitavasa Manoharaha

While the lord desires to be with his devotees who revel in satsang, the human mind wants to be with the lord in a different world.

Andal begins her fasting [pavai nombu].  In her second pasuram – “Vayathu Vazvirgal” she refers to the list of things she would abstain during the fast, ghee, milk, collyrium for eyes, jewelry. She does the Vrata only for 26 days even though she had earlier wanted to do it for the entire Margazhi month and the reason she stopped at 26th day was verily because the lord had already blessed her with his darshan as Manivanna in front of her which is the fruit of fasting; ‘Malae manivanna margazhi ni raduva’.

katyayani mahamaye mahayoginy adhisvari

nandagopasutam devipatim me kuru te namah” [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.22.4]

She prays to the Pavai to bless them with Krishna, the son of Nandagopa as her Prananatha.

She requested the lord to bless with five paraphernalia (conch, flag, canopy, drums and flag) to complete the fasting ritual in a grand manner in her pasuram –

“Palanna vaNnathu un panchajaNniyame

Polvana sangankal poyppadudaiyanave

Salapperum paraiye pallandu isaippare

Kola vilakke kodiye vithaname

Aalin ilaiyaay ! arulelor empavai”

 

The lord on the 26th day presented himself in front of Andal and wanted to bless her with boons. Since she prays the lord in Srivilliputur, the lord then presented himself as Vadabhatra sayi in Srivilliputur. When Andal prayed to the lord in Srivilliputur, he showed himself as “Aalin ilayai” and on the 27th day the lord showed himself as Giridhari to Andal – “Koodarai Vellum Seer Govindha”.

Kadaravindena padAravindam mukharavinde viniveshayantam

Vatasya patrasya pute shayanam balam mukundam manasa smarami” [Sri Bala Mukundashtakam]

 

The next day, Andal praises the lord as the one who unites the ones who cannot be united in a satsang [kudArai vellum Seer GovindA]. From the life-history of Lord Sri Krishna one can perceive that he bestowed his grace on many Asura . In addition to the Asura clan, he also showered his grace on Lord Brahma and Lord Indra. In Brahma Mohana Leela , lord Brahma separated the Gopas from the lord and took them to his abode for an year. When Brahma realized his mistake, he immediately asked for forgiveness from the lord and praised the lord in few verses [stuthi] and he perceived Krishna everywhere as Lord Naryana with four arms. The lord however never turned back to Lord Brahma and went away. However in the case of Govardhana Leela, Lord Indra rained cats and dogs in Gokula for seven days. When Indra realized his mistake and pleaded to the lord for forgiveness the lord turned back to him and said – “may Ate kari maghavan makha bhangO nugrnata
mad anusmrithaye nithyam maTtasyendra shriyA bhrisham”
 [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.27.15]

If we ponder as to why the responded to Indra while he simply walked away from Brahma, when both of had committed a mistake, Sri Swamiji beautifully shares a precept for this act of the lord.

It is verily because, Brahma when doing the mistake, separated the Gopas from the lord, whereas Indra  who also committed a mistake, united the lord with the Gopas and Gopis  for seven days by raining cats and dogs. This goes to say that the lord very much likes to be with his devotees all the time.  All the Gopas and Gopis were under one roof for seven days and Indra helped him accomplish this and hence the lord was very happy with him.

 

So Andal in her pasuram says – “[kudArai vellum Seer GovindA]. Here in her pasuram she refers to the satsang that the lord bestowed to the Gopas and Gopis.  Andal refers to the great Bhagavatas as KudAr who they have their own devotion to the lord. The lord unites them in a satsang .

Each Gopa and Gopi was very possessive of Lord Krishna and they never mingled with other Gopas and Gopis.  They were devoted to Lord Krishna in their own way and they never got an opportunity to be in a Satsang. Sage Sukha in Venu Gitam describes the exalted state of the Gopis that when they come together and start to reminisce the divine exploits of Lord Krishna they would swoon and fall down the next second – “ tadh varṇayithum ArabdhA smarantyaḥ kṛiṣhṇa ceṣṭitam “. The lord wanted to bestow satsang to all Gopas and Gopis and hence united them in a satsang for seven days. Lord Indra helped the lord accomplish this and hence he was very happy with him. It is verily in a satsang that the lord is extolled and his glories are glorified.   The lord also performed Rasa Leela to bless the Gopis with satsang. The Gopis along with Yamuna Devi, being a special Gopi all sang the divine glories of the lord when they were in a satsang.

“tan manaskAs tad AlApAs  tad vicheṣṭAs tad AtmikAḥ
tadh guṇAn eva gAyantyo  nAtmAgArAṇi sasmaruḥ” [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.30.43]

punaḥ pulinam Agathya kAlindyAḥ kṛiṣhṇa bhAvanAḥ
samavetA jaguḥ kṛiṣhnam tad Agamana kAnkṣhitAḥ [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.30.44]

 

Andal prays to the lord to bestow her with a satsang “kudi irudhu kulirdaelo embhAvai” , the very satsang that the lord himself wants to be with his devotees on the day of Vaikunta Ekadasi. In her pasuram Andal also says that she will give up her fasting only when that wish is bestowed on her and that she will also start to adorn herself with flowers, jewelry and consume milk and ghee, the ones that she abstained during the fast.

“Naadu pugazhum parisinAl nandrAga

SOodagame tholvalaiye thode seviPpOove

Padagame yendranaiya palkalanum yAm anivOm

Aadai yuduPpom adhan pinne pAr soru“ 

 

Mucukunda, prays to the lord to bless with the highest and greatest benediction called Satsang.

“bhavApavargO bhramatO yadA bhaveJ janasya tarhy acyuta sath samAgamaḥ
sat saNgamo yarhi tadaiva sad gatau parAvareSe tvayi jAyate matiḥi “ [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.51.53]

 

When one is in a satsang, it will automatically turn the mind towards the lord by growing the seeds of devotion in one’s heart and all one needs to do is to park one’s own body in a place called satsang.

 

The satsang ended with prayers and Namasankirtan.

 

Nov 11: Dhruva Charitra – 1

11 Nov

Ramya from San Jose commenced the lecture on Dhruva Charitra.

Sage Suka was expounding on the lineages of Manu from the fourth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam. Manu had two sons – Priyavrata and Uttanapada. He also had three daughters – Aahuti, Devahuti and Prasuthi. It is normally the practice to talk about the lineage of the eldest son, but Sage Suka delineated on Uttanapadan and Devahuti. It was verily because, Devahuti was bestowed with Lord in her womb, who was Lord Kapila, which was Lord’s incarnation and Uttanapada’s lineage talks about the life-history of Dhruva, a great devotee of the Lord.  The charitha of Dhruva shows how Divine name combined with determination can help us achieve everything.

“Jayae Uttanapadasya sunitihi suruchis thayoho”

Uttandapada had two wives – Suneethi and Surichi. Their names go to speak a lot and are loaded with meaning. When the prefix ‘su’ is dropped from both their names, Neethi and Ruchi are left. When one favors comforts and mundane world he may not adhere to dharma [ Neethi] and hence dharma might be lost. Dhruva was the son of King Uttanapada and Suneethi and Uttama was born to Uttanadapada and Surichi. Dhruva was the 5-year-old son of King Uttanapada and his elder queen, Suneethi. But Suneethi was not favored by the king, who preferred his second queen, Suruchi.   Suneethi and Dhruva lived away from the palace. Nevertheless, Suneethi was very devoted to the Lord and she brought up Dhruva by feeding him stories of the Lord every day.

She did not disclose her sorrows in front of Dhurva and her life was centered around Dhruva. He was indeed a great Bhagavatotama and it is said that all Mahans and Sadhus would flock around him. It is also said that Sage Narada came to see Dhruva when he was born and he himself shared lot of stories with Dhruva. He had lot if interactions with Sage Narada even when Dhruva was only two years old.

When Sage Maitreya was expounding on the greatness of Shravanam to Vidura in the third canto,  reminisced Dhruva, since he attained the Lord’s feet by listening to the divine glories of the Lord from Sage Narada.

“Uttanapadasya puthro Munina gitayaarbakah” – says Sage Maitreya.

Dhurva during his early years of child hood was akin to any other kid. His life revolved around his mother Suneethi. Slowly as years passed by, when he was four years, he started to go out of the palace and play with his friends. Uttama and Dhruva were close friends and always played together.

One day while Dhruva was playing, Uttama did not show up. Dhurva was perplexed as to why he didn’t come and enquired with his other friends about Uttama and went in search of him. As he entered the Surichi’s palace in search of Dhruva, the guards were taken aback by his divine radiance. They let him enter Surichi’s palace not because he was the heir to the throne, but by merely being enticed by his divine look. As Dhruva approached the court, he saw Uttaman being seated in his father’s lap and being fondled by him and Surichi standing next to him. Dhruva’s earlier intention was to only take Uttaman along for playing, but as he neared Uttanapada, the urge to sit on his father’s lap crept in him too.

When Dhruva tried to sit on his father’s lap, Suruchi pushed him away and told him that he would be eligible to do so only if he was born to her. She advised him to do tapas to Lord Narayana, and ask for His blessings to be born as her son. Dhruva, being a young child, did not understand all this. He was too shocked and hurt by the turn of events. Bhagavatham portrays Surichi as an arrogant lady – “Maha Garuvitha”.

na vatsa nrupather dhishnyam bhavaan Arodum arhati
na gruhito maya yath tvam kuksav api nrupatmajah
balo si batha natmanam anyasthri garbha sambhratam
nunam veda bhavan yasya durlabhe rathe manorathah
tapasaaradhya purusham tasyaivaanugraheNa me
garbhe tvam sadhayatmanam yadicchasi nrupaasanam [Srimad Bhagavatham 4.8.11-13]

Surichi in her dialogue with Dhruva conveyed to him that although he is the son of King Uttanadpada [Nrupathmajaha], he is not eligible to sit on his father’s lap since he was not born in the womb of Surichi.

Surichi, made a caricature of herself and scolded Suneethi for all the events that just happened and further added that Dhruva was trying to accomplish a desire that is absolutely impossible to fulfill.

This dialogue between Surichi and Dhruva can be totally viewed in a different perspective. Although Surichi reprimanded Dhruva by citing that he was not born in her womb, this can be perceived as a bhaava, where Surichi was feeling bad that a boy like Dhruva was not born to her. She then advised Dhruva to go to the forest to do penance on the Lord to bestow him with a boon for being born in Surichi’s womb. She also added that she does not possess any good merits to have a divine child like him and by Dhruva’s sheer penance; she will be bestowed with a child like him.

 Uttanapada was witnessing the whole scene with his head down. Dhruva looked at his father once more to see if he will allow him to sit on his lap. Sage Maitreya says –

matuh sapatnyah sa durukti-viddhah svasan rusha daNDa hato yathahih
hitva mishantam pitharam sanna vacham jagaama matuh prarudan sakasam

 Akin to a snake when stuck by a stick, breathes heavily, Dhruva filled with anger was also breathing fast and was holding up. When he saw his father who was silent and did not protest, Dhruva left the place and went to his mother. When he met his mother, his eyes were trembling with fear and cried grievously. Suneethi placed Dhruva on her lap while the palace maid servants who had witnessed the dialogue between Surichi and Dhruva related her everything in detail.

sotsrujya dhairyam vilalaapa soka davagnina dAva lateva bala
vakhyam sapatnyAh smarati saroja sriyA drushA bAshpa kalaam uvaha [Srimad Bhagavatham 4.8.16]

Suneethi was unable to bear the shock and was inconsolable.

 Suneethi was getting ready to prepare Dhruva for the path that she was about to advocate and thus started –

dirgham svasanthi vrijinasya param apasyati balakam aha bala
mamangalam tata pareshu mamistha bhunkte jano yat para dukhadas tat [Srimad Bhagavatham 4.8.17]

 

In spite of Surichi’s harsh words on Dhruva, Suneethi advised Dhruva not to have any hatred against Surichi because a person who inflicts sorrow on others will himself suffer from that pain. She also added that when one goes out in search of the Lord with hatred and bad thoughts, the Lord will turn away from that devotee.

She said “Oh Dhruva, your stepmother Surichi’s words even though they were harsh, are indeed factual. You need to meditate on the Lord to attain him”.

aatishtha tat tatta vimatsaras tvam uktam samatrapi yad avyalikham
aradhayadhokshaja paada padmam yadhicchase dhyasanam uttamo yata [Srimad Bhagavatham 4.8.19]

The Lord will give himself to the devotee who holds on to his feet – [Athmanam api yachaati] and cited Lord Brahma and Swayambu Manu’s devotion to the Lord’s holy feet.

Suneethi in her instruction to Dhruva, thus asked him to meditate on the holy feet of the Lord and that is the only panacea for all the suffering in this world.

tam eva vatsashraya bhrutya vatsalam mumukshubhi mrugya padabja paddhatim
ananya bhave nija dharma bhavitae manasy avasthapya bhajasva purusham [Srimad Bhagavatham 4.8.22]

 

The mother’s love is generally considered to be the highest. However, if we take the case of animals, they go one step beyond. A dog when it gives birth, takes immense care and showers unconditional love on its puppies and it never expects anything in return from them. The Lord’s creation encompasses everything from an ant to a man and the Lord’s divine love on his own creation is incomparable. He is waiting to shower his grace only if one has a thought that the Lord exists and that one has to attain him. Once that earnest desire creeps in a devotee, the path to attain the Lord is verily shown by the Lord himself, says Suneethi when expounding on the greatness of the Lord to Dhruva.

nanyam tata padma palasa locanad duhkhacchidham the mrugayAmi kanchana
yo mrugyate hasta gruhita padmaya sriyetarair anga vimrugyamanaya. [Srimad Bhagavatham 4.8.23]

 

 

Suneethi continuing to expound on the greatness of the Lord told Dhruva that she was unable to find anyone who can mitigate the stress other than the Lord, who has eyes like lotus petals, who is the indeed the real father unto whom one should shower their love.

The satsang ended with prayers and Namasankirtan.

Sep 23: Vaishnava Lakshana and Vritrasura Chatushloki

23 Sep

Once a disciple went to Parashara Bhatta and asked him what a ‘lakshana’ (characteristic) of a Vaishnava.  Bhattar could have as well pointed to himself and said, ‘look at me, I am a Vaishnava’, but would a true Vaishnava do that?  He didn’t even reference a grantha/shastras; instead, he asked his disciple to go and see Ananthazhwar in Tirupati, who is a disciple of Ramanuja and had had the Darshan of Lord Venkateswara Himself, for an answer.  The disciple, after several days of travel, reaches Tirupati and in abject starvation, walks to where food is served and seats himself in the first serving (first ‘pankthi’).  He was kicked out of the serving as he was ineligible, by qualifications to sit in the first-serving, and likewise for the second-serving too.  Humbled, he skipped the other servings too, as he deemed himself ineligible, and ended up skipping food altogether. 

Ananthazhwar came out of his house and his sight fell on this man and the former enquired of his roots and learning that he came from Srirangam, sent by Parashara Bhattar, he is elated, exchanges pleasantries  and asks him if he had had his meal.  When the disciple nodded in the negative, Ananthazhwar chided his ‘kainkaryaparas’ for not having taken care of the visitor from Srirangam and asked them to feed him first.  Angered that the visitor has shown them in bad light, the ones who served food, srap leftovers from the utensils, make a small ball of food and present it to the visitor, who eats it as the Lord’s Prasadam, albeit feeling disrespected.  Later, when he met Ananthaazhwar again, he posed the question to Ananthaazhwar about the qualities of a Vaishnava. 

‘kokkaipol iruppaar, kozhiyai pol iruppar, uppaipol iruppaar, ummaipol iruppaar’, casually remarked Ananthaazhwar.  ‘A Vaishnava is like a crane, is like a hen, is like salt and is like you’.

The crane waits on the banks of a lake, and waits for the big fish alone to catch it for its meals, leaving out the rest of the tiny ones.  A Vaishnava is one who waits for the Periya Perumal – Lord Narayana to catch hold of His feet.  From a mass of dust and dirt, the hen carefully picks up the few food-grains and pecks them.  Likewise, a Vaishnava, amdist all the Shastras, granthas and Text, the Vaishnava picks up the essence of it alone filtering out the rest.   Salt gives any food its taste.  Without salt, however carefully prepared, the dish is not palatable.  A Shastra (scripture), Thirtha (holy river), Kshetra  (holy place) – gets its sanctity only by the presence/ benediction of a Vaishnava.  A Vaishnava’s presence is inevitable for sanctification, just like salt is indispensible for taste.  Finally, ‘ummaippol iruppar’  – this part, the visitor did not understand.  He ruminates on it for hours together, and then goes back to Ananthaazhwar again, finding little success in trying to decipher the meaning of the last part.

Ananthaazhwar said, ‘you have passed the test!’ – A true Vaishnava is truly humble – like you, who have disregarded all the ill-treatment  meted out to you and sought only knowledge; who did not claim to have understood everything but came back to me admitting that you have not understood yet!  That is the quality of a Vaishnava, said Ananthazhwar.

After a round of introductions, Nishaji spoke on Vritrasura Upakhyana from Srimad Bhagavatam.

The Lord does not see a disparity to shower his grace in his own creation.  Yet he has a little leaning to his devotees which is perhaps why Krishna crosses his legs!  From stories, it may seem as if He favors the Devas always, and punishes the Asuras even if the devotion of the former is not supreme.  In keeping with  his fame of fairness, the Lord has a few Asura devotees as well, Prahlada, his grandson Mahabali being the foremost.  Another lesser known devotee throughout our scriptures is Vritrasura whose devotion he kept as a hidden secret.  Just like Radha Devi, whose name itself is so sacred to take, Vritrasura’s devotion was such pristine – delicate heart housed in a grotesque form.

Once when Indra was immersed in sensual pleasures of entertainment in his Loka, he ignored his Guru – Brushaspati who arrived there.  An enraged Bruhaspati walk out, and Indra immediately realizes he has lost all his powers, and repenting for his bad-deed, goes searching for his Guru in vain.  He approaches Brahma who suggests Thwashta’s son Vishwarupa.  Indra approaches Vishwarupa but the latter doesn’t wish to take up the position of the Guru of the Devas.  Out of compassion, he finally agreed and teaches the devas, the “Narayana Kavacham” which serves as a shield for one from head to toe.  But however, Vishwarupa, gives a part of the offerings to his uncles, Asuras,              whenever he performs Yagas for the Devas.  Indra, enraged on hearing this, beheads the three heads of Viswarupa, killing his own Guru – a brahmana.  Twashta was extremely angry on hearing this news, performs a fire-sacrifice from which emerges Vritrasura who was gory in appearance.  The mantra was mispronounced  and hence Vritrasura was born as one who would be killed by Indra (rather than one, who would kill Indra).

Vritrasura was strong and daunting to the Devas, who took refuge in the Lord.  The Lord, who knew the real heart of Vritrasura, replied to the devas, ‘a true devotee who hankers for me will get me. One who looks for sensual pleasures is pitiable’ and blessed Indra with what he asked for – He instructed Indra to approach a sage called Dadichi and ask for his backbone with which he would make the ‘Vajrayuda’ – with which Vritrasura can be killed.  Indra does as instructed and confronts Vritrasura at the battlefield.

Vritrasura laughed at Indra – ‘Look at what you went and asked the Lord!’, he laughed, ‘It wouldn’t take me long to go to the Lord and ask for a boon to defeat Indra, and the Lord shall grant it to me! But, Indra, I wouldn’t ask him for that.  I wish for something greater and sublime!’   He very well knew that he was born to be killed by Indra and Indra also wanted victory over Vritrasura.   That was his wish too – to die at the hands of Indra – for the Lord’s will was his will too.

He would keep his prayer soft and secretive.  He had only 4 verses in prayer-
‘aham hare tava pAdaikamUla dAsAnudAso bhavitAsmi bhUyah |
manasmaretAsu pater guNAmste grhNIta vAkkarma karotu kAyah ||’

May my mind think about you and you alone; my hands serve you alone.

‘daasaanudasa’ – all great Mahatmas say this – May I be blessed t o serve the devotee of your devotee’s devotee! Such is their humility!  A bhajan by Kabir ends as ‘raam naam nij amrut saar, sumire sumire bin.. kahe kabir   chado harike charan nivaar‘ – ‘remembering the nectarine Rama Nama, devotees cross the ocean of the world, being a devotee of the devotees of the Lord, I shall not give up God’s Feet!’  Sekkizhar, the author of Periyapuranam calls himself ‘adiyaarukku adiyaar’; likewise, echo the Azhwars, – one of their name being Thondaradipodi (the dust at the feet of the devotees).    Sri Swamiji would say, if you can serve Rama like Lakshmana, serve the Lord/Guru, that is good. If that is not possible, be like Bharata – do what the Guru says.  If you cannot do even that, be like Shatrugna  – serve the devotee of Bhagavan.  Vritrasura asks for servitude to the servants of servants of the Lord.

And then in his second verse, he says,
Na naga prushtam nacha parameshtyam nasarvabhaumam narasadhipathyam
Nayoga siddhir apunarbhavam samanjasatva virahaiya kaankshe || (6:11:25)

Says Vritrasura, ‘I don’t want the pleasures of any of the worlds nor do I want any Yoga Siddhis; not even liberation if it means moving away from you, Oh Lord.  May I be constantly in your Smarana’.  Interestingly, in Uddhava Gita, the Lord uses these same words to describe the qualities of a true devotee.

The third sloka reveals the true nature of Vritra’s bhakti.
Ajatha pakshad iva maataram khagah stanyam yata  vatsadhara ksudhartha: |
Priyam priyeva vyushitam vishanna Manoravindaasksha didrukshate tvaam” || (6:11:25)

When a little bird is born from the egg and the mother is away, it helplessly cries out, and Vritrasura says he is like that bird, crying out for Bhagavan.  Then he goes one step higher and talks about a calf that is tied to a rope and can see its mother, but can’t go unto it.  He says that he is like the calf tied to the world  and hence not able to reach the Lord even though he knows the Lord is there.  Finally he reveals his true devotion when he refers to the love of a wife for her husband – she knows where her husband has gone and is capable of going, but she waits patiently for him to come – a devotee who wishes for Bhagavan to come down and bestow His grace and darshan.

In the final sloka,
“Mamottama sloka janeshu sakyam samsara chakre bramtah smakarmabi: |
Tvan maayayaatmatmaja daara geheshu Asakta chityasa na naatha bhooyaat”  (6:11:26)

He says, ‘Oh Lord!  Please bestow me with Satsang with your devotees. And keep me away from those who keep speaking of the world.’  He underlines that satsang is the root of everything.  He begins with satsang of the devotees of the devotees of the Lord and concludes with Satsang again, stressing the fact that if we are in a satsang, automatically, that which is referred in the other two slokas – staunch devotion towards the Lord comes.

In Pushti Marga, these slokas are the Chatusloki Bhagavatam.  They are indeed the four Purushartas – Dharma( serving the Bhagavan’s devotees), Artha (the Lord who is the greatest wealth), Kama (the greatest desire is to yearn for the Lord) and Moksha (satsang leads one to verily Moksha).  In Papa Ramdas’ words, ‘one whose lips has the Divine Name all the time is indeed a Jivan Mukta’.  Chanting incessantly is indeed Moksha.

After Vritrasura makes this prayer, Indra attacks him with Vajrayuda and Vritra is killed.
The sixth canto – the heart of Bhagavatam – has Ajamila Charitra and this story –showing us the greatest of Bhakti and the grace of the Lord.

The satsang ended with prayers and Nama Sankirtan.

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