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.