Tuesday, October 4, 2022

The stories of Tiruppavai: Krishna’s boon to Poothana who gave poisonous milk

Several Bhagawata stories and incidents from the Raamayana are referred to along with some more storiesin Tiruppavai.Goda in a very crisp symbolic way, in a few words mentions an interesting episode in Srimad Bhagavatam. In Sixth Pashuram, Goda writes aboutPoothana, the demon, who was commissioned by Kamsa to find and finish the boy who was born a few days ago everywhere in his kingdom. His aim was to remove his proclaimed enemy the eight son of Devaki and Vasudeva. He knew the He was born in his jail, but he does not know when he left jail and where he is growing up.

Soorphanaka dead

Obeying Kamsa’s orderto kill any infant of a few days age all over his kingdom, Poothana among others, came to Vrepalle. She came to know that in Yashoda -Nanda’s house, a child was recently born. She daubed poison on her milky breasts reached their house. Pretended to be a mother, she requested Yashoda to allow her to breastfeed little Krishna. Krishna in her lap, sucked her milk, and poison also out of her. As He went on sucking, she could not tolerate the pain and fell dead. Lord Krishna relieved the demon of the vicious circle and liberated her soul. He was very kind towards her because at least for a few minutes she thought of herself to be His mother. No bounds to His generosity and compassion towards the jeevas, irrespective of their character.

The meaning of sixth pashuram

Goda got up early to reach another young girl. She asked: “Are you not hearing the chirp of birds, are they not waking up all of us? Listen to the beckoning sound of the white conch Sanka from Temple of Vishnu who moves on Garuda, the king of birds. Vishnu is none other than Krishna, who as a baby sucked the poison, milk and life of Pootana too, who disguised herself as mother and when He casually moved his leg, the demon of Sakata has broken into pieces. He meditates upon the next creation while leaning on five hooded serpent – Adishesha, who is the cause of regeneration of Universe, who also resides in the minds and hearts of Yogis and Munis, who gently get up without disturbing the Vishnu residing in their heart, chanting “Hari…Hari”. That Hari Chant is resounding in the minds of Girls of Vrepalle.  In this PaashuramAndaal is showing the proofs of sunrise through chirps of birds, sound of Conch from temple, Hari Harinamam chanting by Munis and Yogis while getting up to tell others that it was dawn and time to get up.

Destroying Sakataasura

Destroying Sakataasura

Once, Yashoda took Him to the banks of River and safely placed him underneath the bullock cart before she got into her routine works. Another Demon sent by Kamsa invisibly entered the cart and was trying to kill Him.  At that time young Krishna was flashing his hands and legs crying for milk. The effect of that automatic movement was so severe that the cart flew up and has broken into pieces. The cart is asymbol of body that runs on two wheels of two different consequences of Good (Punya) and Bad (Paapa) deeds. Once that person realizes that God is the driving force, touches His feet and He would be liberated. Krishna showered mercy over Sakata just by touching the cart, and the latter attained the abode of Lord.

JaanaShrithi Story

JaanaShrithi is a king, pious, and good donor. One day, two swans were flying over his palace. One of them said to the other, ‘King is a good dharmika, righteous person, but he has less interest in Brahma Jnanam. Let us not fly over the king and disrespect him by allowingour shadow to fall over him. The other swanasked, “Why are you afraid of him so much? Is he Raikwudu?”JaanaShriti understood their conversation, wanted to know that person who was referred as greater than him, located Raikwudu with all efforts. His emissaries found him under a bullock cart behaving like a maverick. The king left the kingdom, offered all the wealth to Raikwudu and got lessons of Brahma-Jnaana from him. This story establishes that the Aachaarya in the form of Swan cautioned about his lapse and showed the right path to reach Parabrahma.  Goda’s reference to chirping birds refers to thisUpanishadic story.

In this Paashuram, Goda specifically explained how Yogi is different from Muni. Muni maintains silencealways thinking about Bhagavan who the cause of the whole Universe is. Unlike him, Yogi does all activities in service of God but meditates on His deeds. Lakshmana is Yogi who served Lord Raama throughout especially the period of 14 years of exile. Whereas Bharata though far off from Raama deeply and silently thinks about Him always. Bharata is Muni.  In Nanda VrajamMunis and Yogis used to wait for the Darshan of Sri Krishna at the cowshed expecting that Lord Krishna would come there to feed the cows and lay them to rest before He went home.

One who feels the presence of Paraamatma in him, will be very careful; Like a pregnant lady, Yogis and Munis get up cautiously feeling His heaviness in their minds, chanting Hari and Hari. Prahlada is considered such a Yogi, who held his heart strongly with his hand when soldiers threw him down from the hill-top lest Naaraayana in him should be injured. Prahlaada did not mind any harm to himself. The devotees like Yogis, Munis or Prahlada think that they have a duty to protect Naaraayana, though He does not need it.

Goda’s sixth Paashuram has such depth of meaning with such allusions. 

Madabhushi Sridhar 21.12.21

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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