Sunday, June 23, 2024

The bonds of affection, not ropes, bind Krishna

Tiruppavai -5

Tiruppavai by Godadevi from Tamil

MaayanaiMannu Vada Madurai Maindanai


AayarKulathinilThondru Mani-vilakkai


ThooyomaiVandhu Naam ThoomalarThoovi-t-thozhudu



TheeyinilThoosagumSheppu-el or empaavaai

English Translation from Tamil  By Madabhushi Sridhar

Krishna – the mysterious boy of Mathura in north

On the serene banks of sacred Yamuna river waters

The brilliant effulgence of Yadava clan

Who surrendered to Yashoda’s abundant love bond,

We reach you with flowers of our hearts -pure with affection,

Meditate upon Krishna before singing Him

to burn the past sins, present misdeeds & future wrongs

like a spark of fire turns piled up cotton into ashes

Narayana &Vyuga

In first, it is NaaraayanaTatwam, in second poem, reclines (second poem) in Vyuha Ocean of Milk, as Vibhavam (His descendent forms – Avatara) in third, Antaryaami in the fourth and in fifth in Archaswaroopam, the worship idol, in temples on the earth.  

Also read: Gracefully raining knowledge equally on all

Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand in north India are abodes of Gods- Raama and Krishna. Among cities, Mathura is that of Krishna, one who enjoins on the banks of River Yamuna, a brilliant light of the Yadava clan, the innocent cowherds. One day Yashoda tired of with the mischief and mystery of Little Krishna and wants to punish Him.

This story was explained beautifully by Sri BhagavadhamUlukalabandhanam in 40th part

Yashoda was suckling Krishna in her lap. The milk which was kept on the oven for boiling began to overflow. Yashoda slowly placed Krishna down and rushed to remove the boiling milk so that it may not flow over to the hearth. Krishna, having been disturbed, felt angry and broke the pot meant for churning the curds with a heavy stone. With tears in his eyes, he went to the interior of the house and ate fresh butter.  After removing the vessel from the hearth, Yashoda saw the broken pot and laughed heartily, knowing that it was Krishna’s work. 

Stream Significance of Damodara Bandhana Lila by Radhanath Swami | Listen  online for free on SoundCloud

She finds him standing on the overturned base of a wooden mortar and was giving butter to a monkey. Seeing his mother approaching him with a stick in her hand, from the corner of his eye, he gets down in haste and runs away, pretending to be afraid. Yashoda runs after her son and manages to catch hold of him. He was now weeping aloud and rubbing his eyes with his hands.  The kaajal in his eyes began to spread and his eyes were filled with fear. She cast off the stick and tried to bind him to the mortarwith a string. However, the string fell short by about an inch. She knotted together various strings available in the house and tried to bind him again. Still there was the same one inch of deficit. She tries yet again, but the shortage was the same one inch. Yashoda smiled, looking at the cowherd women smile at her frustration. She felt amazed that she could not bind Krishna. Her body was bathed in perspiration. Her braided hair loosened. Seeing the over-exertion of his mother, Krishna let himself be tied by her, out of compassion.

Lord Krishna noticed a pair of Arjuna trees, who were the sons of Kubera in the previous birth, Nalakubara and Manigriva. Narada, who happened to see the arrogant sons of Kubera bathe in the river Ganga in an intoxicated state with no clothes on, cursed them to become trees (and remain self conscious in that state). They will get back their form of yakshas, after Vasudeva graces them.

Krishna slowly proceeds to the spot where the two trees stood, to make the word of his exalted devotee Narada come true.  He crawled between the two trees. He passed through, pulling the mortar behind him. The mortar fell crosswise. The vehement dragging of the mortar by Krishna uprooted the gigantic trees and both fell down with a terrific crash, their trunk, leaves, and boughs violently shaken by the force exerted by Krishna. Nalakubara and Manigriva arose from that spot illuminating the whole quarters with their splendour, shorn of all their pride.  They extoll Krishna. “Hail to you, O Vasudeva, your auspicious sight has been possible to us only through the grace of the divine sage Narada. Let our speech be employed hereafter in recounting your excellence, our ears in hearing your stories, our hands in doing your work, and our mind in the thought of your feet.”  Krishna, still tied to the mortar, laughingly spoke to the twin yakshas.

Also read: Bhagavan lives in NaaraayanaTatva

“The kind-hearted sage Narada has graced you with his curse, as you were blinded by the pride of your fortune. O Nalakubara and Manigriva, return to your abode. Supreme devotion has already been kindled in you, due to which you will realise the highest goal.” The two yakshascircumambulate the Lord and take leave of him.

Hearing the crash of the trees, the cowherds led by Nanda rush to the spot. They were bewildered when they saw Krishna standing safe amidst the fallen trees. The infants playing there tried to tell them that Krishna had dragged the mortar through the trees which caused it to fall and also that they saw two men rising from there. The cowherds dismissed it as child talk. Nanda untied Krishna from the mortar and set him free.  (

Once in a similar situation, she made him to open His mouth to check whether he really ate mud parts, Krishna has shown the 14 Universes to mother in her little mouth, even then Yashada could not realize the NaaraayanaTatwa of the boy, because of His Maya (illusion). She again wants to tie him down with common thread. One Who surrenders only to love, has stood before lovely mother offering her to tie Him up. Every time she picks up thread and tries to bind, it falls short of the required length, and the mischievous boy keeps on smiling. But He is the Ocean of Kindness, Karuna Samudra, DayaSaagara. Smilingly He allows the available length of the rope to bind Him at last. She is now feeling successful in binding him to the heavy mortar and goes out with confidence that He could not move. But, Krishna is Krishna, He drags it out of the House, and leads it to middle of the two long trees, which fall down releasing the two Gandharvas from the curse of Rishis. All move in hearing the thunderous sound of fall of two trees. Mother is shell shocked to find safe and playing little Krishna amidst fallen trees. When lifted Him to her heart, the mother finds the marks of rope around his stomach and tears roll down on to her cheeks. Krishna wipes them out and smilingly and silently tells, Dear Mother, they remain on my person as marks of your love and from now onwards I will be known as Damodara. (Dam = marks on Udara- stomach). She might have not heard that promise as she is engulfed in abundant love.

Also read: No perfect being on this earth: say Seeta and Goda

Goda reminds us in this Paashuram of this wonderful Damodara Leela, which Vyasa in Bhagavatam and Pothana in Telugu Bhagavatam explained beautifully.  If not for love, is it possible for anyone to bind with a piece of rope, Naaraayana who contains the 14 Universes in his stomach, who resides as Vaasu Deva in all beings?

Goda says we all shall meditate upon his deeds in Brindavan, sing like Gopikaas, who purified their hearts and minds with serene waters of Yamuna, and offer our hearts as flowers at His feet.

Someone doubted, do you think this will happen? There could be many obstacles to this effort. You remember, Dasaratha fixes muhurath for the crowning of young prince Raama, the whole of Ayodhya rejoiced at that good news, but what happened ultimately? Mandhara and Kaikeyi prevailed that Raama must be exiled for fourteen years.  She answers all such doubts in this song. Certain things are pre-destined as consequences of past deeds. A bee finds itself closed as lotus petals were folded at the sunset. That bee cannot escape till the sun rays open the petals. Reconciled to such reality, the bee rests with a hope to get freedom at dawn. Meanwhile a rogue elephant desires to take bath in the early hours and throws out the lotus, destroying it along with the Bee. Who knows how the end comes?

In this Paashuram, Goda refers to two great episodes from Raamayan and Bhagavatam. Raama’s exile and Krishna’s Damodara Leela. Goda in these first five Paashurams, sets the agenda, prescribes procedure and in Song 5, assures the sweet result of Vrata.

Goda tells Gopikas and us, the doubting fellows, reassuringly not to doubt, have complete faith in Naaraayana, love him, without worrying about your past, present and future misdeeds that might not allow you to break the vicious cycle of birth-death-rebirth. If you love him unconditionally, that is enough; he will burn all your sins, the heaps of sins and misdeeds go away in fire like piled up cotton is burnt just by a spark of fire. He is benevolent enough to accept your love, provided you offer your mind and heart.

Shri Krishna is found all times on the banks of river Yamuna, as if He is ready to take those who want to cross the river of Samsara, the mundane world.  Yes, He is ready. Are we ready?  Are we pure enough? 

Then what is purity? Krishna never talks about strict requirement of external bodily purity but always shows you that He would be ready to help you if you invoke him with pure heart, wherever you are and whatever be your condition.  Draupadi was in her monthly period of Rajaswala, but when she cried for His help in Kaurava Sabha where Dussasana was disrobing her, Krishna was the only one to rescue her from such a humiliation. Five Husbands, their cousins, fathers in law, elders of the clan remain silent spectators. Offer your hearts like flowers. You need not decorate the flowers into garlands or place them meticulously according to some prescription. If you throw the heart like flower, enough for Him. Or even one Namaskara is enough for him to vanish your sins. What are those flowers, Vishnu liked most? – Non-violence, Control over desires, Love for all living creatures, tolerance, wisdom, penance, meditation, and Satya – the Truth. 

Also read: Aiming to reach ultimate Lord Naaraayana

Madabhushi Sridhar

Prof. M. Sridhar Acharyulu
Prof. M. Sridhar Acharyulu
Author is Dean, Professor of law at Mahindra University at Hyderabad and former Central Information Commissioner. He published a number books in English and Telugu.


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