Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Tiruppavai-5: Krishna’s divine name: a spark of fire that burns piles of sins

Tamil Paashuram-5

MaayanaiMannu Vada Madurai Maindanai

ThooyaPeruneerYamunai-t-thuraivanai

AayarKulathinilThondru Mani-vilakkai

ThaayaiKudalVilakkamseydaDamodaranai

ThooyomaiVandhu Naam ThoomalarThoovi-t-thozhudu

VayinarpadiManathinaalSindhikka

PoyaPizhaiyumPugutharuvanNindranavum

TheeyinilThoosagumSheppu-el or empaavaai

English Poem 5

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

We, in our mediation, give a shape to what we think the God will be. It is the ‘moorthy’ – the statue. If you can offer your hearts as flowers, sincerely, that is ideal worship. If you invoke Him with love, those words themselves are mantras and that is called ArchaaRupam of Bhagavan. Goda explains this with her symbolic poetry, full of RupakaAlankara studded sentences. God descends down and further down to come nearer to and easy for devotees.

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.  

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. 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.

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 Heroic 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: Tiruppavai-4

Also read: Tiruppavai-3: Narayana: divine name, philosophy and source of bliss

Also read:Tiruppavai Pashuram2

Also read: Tiruppavai-1 : Goda’s love letter: A poetic Garland

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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