Saturday, June 22, 2024

Devaki and Yashoda – the divine mothers of Krishna

Madabhushi Sridhar – Tiruppavai– 25

Tiruppavai by Godadevi from Tamil





NeruppennaNinraNedumaley! Unnai



VaruththamumTheerndhuMagizhndhu-el or empaavaai

English Translation from By Madabhushi Sridhar

Born to a divine woman in one night.

Travelled to another mother in hiding.

Overcoming all the attacks of demon,

who planned to harm you in many ways, You

Instilled killing fire of fear in Kamsa’s mind,

O Supreme Self, we all wantonly came,

Seeking your unlimited grace, to serve you,

To sing your glory, O Krishnato get relieved of all pains. 

Sri Krishnavatharam is a comprehensive phase of Vishnu.  It is not like descending on earth to perform just one transaction of securing a devotee elephant caught by crocodile -Gajendra Moksha or instantly born out of pillar Narasimha to save Prahlada. Sri Krishna had varieties of purposes to serve in a prolonged life. While Rama had to fight the demons in his youth, Krishna’s battle with demons begins right from His birth itself.  Though born with super-natural powers i.e., four hands and Sankha and Chakra, he has to hide all that and move secretly out of prison. Krishna blessed the divine mother with His birth but had to leave her the next minute and move to another blessed mother far from the city. They fear to speak about the birth of a boy, the name of the mother due to the fear of Kamsa who ordered his evil forces to kill the infants of a few weeks age.  Gopikas and Goda were so immersed in the story of Krishna that they feel the tremors of Kamsa’s threat to the life of Krishna even during their Vratam.  Devaki and Vasudeva could not enjoy the bliss of having Vishnu as their son as were tense and always worried about hiding him from Kamsa. They had to give up just born son to Yashoda in Vrepalle.

Also read: Hail thy feet that mapped the entire world in two steps

Yashoda is an equally blessed personality to bring up Vishnu as a child. But she also was frightened with the series of attacks on Krishna within a few days of his birth. Poothana, Sakataasura and several other such demons come to attack in a sequence. Yet, fearless Krishna went on giving tense situations to Kamsa and his gang.

Goda’s team of devotees plead with Krishna saying: “You need not descend for us. We do not generate any necessity to come to a particular place to save us. We, on our own reach you. We have no demands or needs at all. It is enough if we have your darshan. We want you, and nothing else.”

Also read: Opened fire-emitting eyes

Sri Krishna responds: “You claim that you do not want anything but Parai?”

Gopikas&Goda: “You wanted to give parai. If you give, we will take it. We do not want to say no, as You may think that we are independently deciding. We desire to sing your glory. You are so rich that even Mahalakshmi could ask for some wealth from You. The moment we saw you we are relieved of pain caused by separation from you. All these days we could not even take your name, fearing Kamsa.  Now we do not have that fear. We happily sing your name and fame. That is enough for us”.

Vishnu is ‘Antaryami’, invisibly protects us all. If he comes out and appears before us, we may not identify him. We may even argue that he is not the God. This is one of the Bhakti Sutra, which Goda explained in this 25thPashuram.

To explain the virtue of Devaki and Yashoda, Jeeyar Swamy, Sri BhashyamAppalacharya explain that the nectar emerged when Angels and Asuras churned the ocean of Milk. But Dasaratha got such nectar from the sacrifice called Putra Kameshthi and got four great sons. Here, Devaki, Vasudeva, Nanda and Yashoda performed penance for long to have a wonderful kid –Sri Krishna.  Devaki has the fruit of penance as her child in the womb. Yet, she could not enjoy the fantastic childhood of enchanting Balakrishna.

Yashoda has that fortune which is unimaginable and immeasurable. We cannot find any personalities parallel to Devaki or Yashoda anywhere, anytime. One gave birth to Krishna, and the other controlled the Parabrahman who commands 14 Universes.

Also read: Shedding Ego, crowding around You

We all know Ugrasen as a very pious and generous king. How could he give birth to a demon like Kamsa? One Asura called Vimaludu in guise (body) of Ugrasena cheated his wife and raped her. Kamsa was born out of rape by a demon.   With cruel qualities he grew into a demon and was warned by divine voice that he would be killed by the eighth son of Devaki and Vasudeva.

Godamma and her team sing the glory of Krishna, who was born to one mother (Devaki), and brought up as the son of another mother (Yashoda). The demon Kamsa was poised to kill the infants to protect himself from eighth son of Devaki. But Krishna created a terror in his mind that caused fire in his stomach. Goda says “We are here to sing of your Glory and if you bestow grace on us and fulfil our wishes, we will rejoice for ever, relieved of all our sorrows. 

After He wakes up, Goda sings five songs glorifying the virtues of Krishna. This is the second of those five verses. In all these five verses she is invoking the great qualities of Krishna with appropriate episodes of his life. They hesitate to tell the desire till the end of vrata. But they ask for bestowing the grace and fulfil the desires.

Also read: Surrendered at Your Feet and Gate, Helpless and Praising

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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