Saturday, January 21, 2023

Krishna: For each of Seven Births, bond us with You

Madabhushi Sridhar -Tiruppavai 29

Tiruppavai by Godadevi from Tamil

ShittrumSirukaaleVanduUnnaiSevitthu Un

PottramaraiAdiyePottrumPorullKelaay

PettramMeyythundumKulatthilPirandu Nee

KuttrevalEngalaiKolllamallPogathu

IttraiParaiKollvaanAndruKaannGovinda

EttraikkumEzhEazhPiravikkum Un Tannodu

VuttromeYavomUnakke Naam Aatcheyvom

Mattrai Nam KaamangalMattru-el or empaavaai.

English Translation from By Madabhushi Sridhar

Listen, we all came over here very early-dawn

At Your golden lotus feet, for the sole purpose,

Not interested in just taking one Parai only

We, cowherds served you with personal bond,

Govinda, as long as these times continue,

For each of Seven Births, bond us with You

We seek this boon to serve You and You alone

Pray to you to remove all other desires from us

Originally the Vratam begins for rains. MargaShirsha bath is an important ritual in this Vrata. They desired bathing just to have close association with Krishna.  In the first pashuram, Narayana was set as the goal and strong desire to reach Him was expressed alongwith the demand for Parai, a drum like music instrument. The Gopikas wanted such drum. Jeeyar says Krisha is fond of butter and for the sake of butter he performs GhataNritya – dance, keeping seven pots on head, holding some more pots in two hands, with a drum arranged around waist. That Parai they are asking for. They value the Parai because it is so attached to Him with a butter story behind. 

Also read: We have incessant relationship with you

Next step is to develop association with persons nearer to God, is to follow certain principles and restrictions, as ordained by elders, receive initiation from Acharyas, understand the Mantra and meditate upon its meaning, before reaching God, first convince the divine Mother to recommend, then, tell Him that they sincerely are craving for His association and nothing else, try to attain Knowledge of self and liberation. They seek those peculiar ornaments which philosophically make you immortal, and through the landmarks of these steps complete the journey to reach Him. This is explained up to 27 pashurams.  Thus, Goda tells us what we are expected to ask from the Bhagawan.

God Himself is the means, and Gopikas have nothing of their own. These are the two principal rules of faith explained in 28th and 29th songs.  In 28th they say Krishna is the means. In the first song, they say Narayana would give Parai, but in 28th song Goda says we deserve to get His association. 30th song concludes with the VrataPhalam, the fruits of efforts.  First, they say Narayana give Phalam, and in the last they say Narayana Himself is the Phalam. They sought Conch, Sankham, which is very close and always filled with the air from the mouth of Krishna.

Also read: Goda fulfilled wish of Sri Ramanuja

is the Phalam. They sought Conch, Sankham, which is very close and always filled with the air from the mouth of Krishna.

Goda is taking the Gopikas, you and me, through steps gradually leading us to Saayujya, for final union with Supreme Soul. Ultimately, they have spelt out their desire to be with Him for seven generations. If every time Krishna descends again in any Avathara, they want to be bound by some relation with Him.

impurities like (1) Thinking of means other than God, (2) Seeking something else rather than God and (3) Serving God for one’s own reason. Seeking God as a means is a purification, which is called ‘purification of means’ (UpaayaShuddhi) as rendered in Song 28.

Goda is taking the Gopikas, yo

Phala-shuddhi

In song 29 it is purification of end-result- (Phala-shuddhi). Parai, that was repeatedly referred in previous Pashurams is just an excuse, their real demand is Service to God, for which they awaken Sri Krishna, request him to walk up to Simhaasana, and after He seated comfortably, they hail Him with Mangalam, ask for the instruments or ornaments. When Krishna was about to give them, they say: we did not ask for such ordinary Parai. Krishna is silent. They finally declare “You are our means and end. We want permanent chance of serving you”. They are not asking for avoiding rebirths, like the Acharya, but, saying: “if You want to give us many births, no problem, but in each birth, make us Your relatives and allow us to have your association”.

(Decorated for 28thTiruppavai at Sri Vijalakshmi Temple near ESI Hospital)

We seek forever, in the next seven births

They further ask Krishna: “You are born along with us in the cowherd community, who follow behind the tails of cows to live on.  Now, You cannot refuse to take our worship or bestow your grace on us. We are asking not just Your grace and boons today alone.  We seek forever, in the next seven births, to be privileged to have a close relationship with you in all your avatars. We should be beholden to you and offer worship only to You and none other. You should give this boon and ensure removal of any other desires from our minds. Unwavering, unquestioning, totally dedicated faith in Krishna at all times and occasions is what should rule our minds”. 

Also read: Lord on Banyan Leaf, like lively Blue Sapphire 

The conversation that went on is:

Goda: We seek your golden-lotus-like fragrant feet, like Lakshman who felt happy not to be crowned, but to serve at your feet. If you do not want our services, why did you take birth in our clan?

Govinda: You want to offer your services to me, fine; I will take whenever I want. You performed Vrata for Parai. I am giving it, please take.

Goda: We asked for Parai, True. But it was only an excuse. We want You and You only. Do not need this drum- Parai.

Govinda: Then what are you really intending to have, instead of your demand for Parai.

Also read: Devaki and Yashoda – the divine mothers of Krishna

Goda:  Whenever You descend on this earth, each of us should be your relatives and servants, like mother, wife, father, brother or any other etc. Seetha and Bharatha left you, but we would like to be with you like Lakshmana. Please remove all other desires from our contemplation.

This pashuram reflects the Tirumantra – eight-lettered mantra, Ashthaakhari. Guru Acharyas desired no rebirth. But Goda said give us births but let us be your associates. For us, taking birth along with you as your relative is better than the Moksha. 

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

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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