Tuesday, January 25, 2022

From ignorance to brightness of Bhakti

30 Thiruppavai Stories

Sankranthi means journey into another phase. Goda leads her friends Gopikas into the path of Bhagawan. When the Sun moves towards Makara Rashi, it is called Makara Sankranti. Goda is leading us from darkness of ignorance to the bright path of Bhakti and love for Supreme soul. Goda imagined herself as a Gopika; for her, Sri Villiputtur is Vrepalle; she worshipped Sri Ranganatha through Vatapatrasai as Krishna. She performed the Vrata for one month with one song each, which brings her friends along with her towards Krishna. It is a 30-step road-map to Sayujyam, the abode of Bhagawan. She sent messages of love Ranganatha through the garlands after checking their beauty by decorating her person with them. She made another unique garland of 30 songs called Tiruppavai. Her Vratam resulted in Ranganatha himself sending the palanquin to Sri Villiputtur to bring the bride Goda to him. She won His heart. She proved that the icon is the incarnation of Supreme personality.

Also read: Lakshman refuses to become Yuvraj of Ayodhya

Stepping into divinity

Tiruppavai helps the devotees to complete the last month of Dakshinayana with Vratam and enter the divine Uttarayana singing the glory of Krishna. Since several centuries, Goda’sTiruppavai is moving millions of people all over India and wherever Indians spread out, towards the path of Saranagathi to Lord Krishna. She made Sankranti a very purposeful festival, in terms of getting closer to Paramaatma.

I remember my Peddamma, mother’s elder sister, Andaalamma who taught me the entire Ramayana like a serial, when I was in bed due to typhoid in my childhood and when there were no TVs at home. My peddamma Andalamma is Godamma for me. I think in every household, there is a Guru like Goda who takes us to Sri Krishna. We need to discover and recognize.

The conversations between Goda and Govinda; Goda plus Gopikas and Govinda were filled in 30 Pashurams. In Dwapara Yuga, Krishna was the destination for Katyayani Vratam for one month performed by Gopikas, siad Vyasa, the rishi who created Bhagawatam. The Vratam was fruitful as they gained the God Himself. A similar Vratam is performed by Goda in Kaliyuga that lead to Ranganatha marrying Goda.

Govinda asks Gopikas a testing question: “Okay, I will accept your personal services, I want to ask you, whether you want others also to try and achieve the success like you in this devotional endeavor?”

Also read: Krishna a cowherd, Is He Paramatma?

Goda and Gopikas: “We could get You after performing the Vrata strictly following its conditions and principles and singing the Songs for last one month. Like Gopikas in Vrepalle and we in Srivilliputtur, everyone who sings and follows the month-long Vratha will surely get the Bliss of Krishna. A mother cow, who lost her calf, looks at a grass shaped calf toy that reminds her child, and it causes the spring of milk. Similarly, those who sing thirty songs without missing any, will surely gain the result expected.

Ksheera Sagara Madhanam, the churning of milk-ocean, a great event of coordinated effort of Devatas and Rakshasas in the interests of universe was referred in last Pashuram. Vishnu descends in the form of Tortoise and holds up on His back, the Mandhara Hill, prevent it from drowning. God helps if people work together for welfare of Universe. Lakshmi emerges out of churning, and she reaches the chest of Vishnu. He became Madhava.

Goda referred to the event of this churning to pray to God to help us in churning and crossing the ocean of this worldly living exercise. Goda suggests singing all the 30 without skipping any, because they are thirty ascending steps to reach the destination of God. Then Lord Krishna, appears with His brilliant lotus-flower-like face and four strong arms to bless them with four Purushartha – Dharma-Artha-Kaama and Moksha. Thus, Goda explained Phalashriti, the fruitful result of the Vrata.

Also read: As child on banana leave, Krishna Beginning to Create

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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