Krishna Ashtottaram

The 108 Names of Lord Sri Krishna

Lord Sri Krishna is the eighth of the Dashavataras but according to Srimad Bhagavatam He is not an avatar but He is Swayam Bhagavan, the original source of all incarnations. He is para-brahma and He is the Supreme Personality. The below prayers can be recitate daily by offering flowers or Tulasi to Krishna. It contains 108 Names of Krishna taken from Vishnu Sahasranama.

Lord Shree Krishna Animation

ॐ श्री कृष्णाय नमः
oṁ śrī kṛṣṇāya namaḥ || 1 ||
Obeisance to Lord Shri Krishna, who has a dark, attractive complexion, who attracts the mind of others (i.e. ‘karshati iti’)

ॐ कमलनाथाय नमः
oṁ kamala-nāthāya namaḥ || 2 ||
the Lord of Goddess Lakṣmī, Kamalā,

ॐ वासुदॆवाय नमः
oṁ vāsudevāya namaḥ || 3 ||
Vasudeva’s son

ॐ सनातनाय नमः
oṁ sanātanāya namaḥ || 4 ||
the eternal Lord

ॐ वासुदॆवात्मजाय नमः
oṁ vāsudevātmajāya namaḥ || 5 ||
Salutations to Vāsudeva (Vāsudev’s son, Krishna)

ॐ पुण्याय नमः
oṁ puṇyāya namaḥ || 6 ||
the Meritorious One, who is consummate piety

ॐ लीलामानुष विग्रहाय नमः
oṁ līlā-mānuṣa-vigrahāya namaḥ || 7 ||
who has assumed a human-like form (as Rama or Krishna) to perform His divine pastimes

ॐ श्रीवत्स कौस्तुभधराय नमः
oṁ śrīvatsa-kaustubha-dharāya namaḥ || 8 ||
the Lord who wears the Shri Vatsa (representing Shri Lakshmi) and the Kaustubha gem

ॐ यशॊदावत्सलाय नमः
oṁ yaśodā-vatsalāya namaḥ || 9 ||
Mother Yashoda’s darling child, the object of Yashoda’s maternal affections

ॐ हरये नमः ॥ १० ॥
oṁ haraye namaḥ || 10 ||
Salutations to Lord Hari

ॐ चतुर्भुजात्त चक्रासिगदा शङ्खाम्बुजा युदायुजाय नमः
oṁ caturbhujātta cakrāsi gadā śaṅkhāmbujā yudāyujāya namaḥ || 11 ||
the Four-armed Lord who carries the weapons of disc, conch, club and lotus

ॐ दॆवाकीनन्दनाय नमः
oṁ devakī-nandanāya namaḥ || 12 ||
One who gladdens the heart of His Mother, Devaki and brings joy to her.

ॐ श्रीशाय नमः
oṁ śrīśāya namaḥ || 13 ||
the abode of Shri (Lakshmi)

ॐ नन्दगॊप प्रियात्मजाय नमः
oṁ nanda-gopa-priyātmajāya namaḥ || 14 ||
Nanda Gopa’s darling child, dear son of the cowherd Nanda

ॐ यमुनावेग संहारिणॆ नमः
oṁ yamunā-vega-saṁhāriṇe namaḥ || 15 ||
the Lord who checked the flow of the Yamunā

ॐ बलभद्र प्रियनुजाय नमः
oṁ bala-bhadra-priyānujāya namaḥ || 16 ||
Balabhadra’s (Balarama’s) dear younger brother

lord_krishna_and_cow

ॐ मुचुकुन्द प्रसादकाय नमः
oṁ mucukunda-prasādakāya namaḥ || 25 ||
the Lord who blessed (gave salvation) to King Muchukunda

ॐ षॊडशस्त्री सहस्रॆशाय नमः
oṁ ṣoḍaśastrī-sahasreśāya namaḥ || 26 ||
the Lord of sixteen thousand wives

ॐ त्रिभङ्गिनॆ मधुराकृतये नमः
oṁ tribhaṅgine madhurākṛtaye namaḥ || 27 || (Tribhangi Lalitakritaye)
the sweet lord, who poses in a threefold-bending form

ॐ शुकवागमृताब्धीन्दवे नमः
oṁ śukavāg-amṛtābdhīndave namaḥ || 28 ||
the ocean of nectar in the form of Sukadeva’s words (spoken as Srimad-Bhagavatam)

ॐ गॊविन्दाय नमः
oṁ govindāya namaḥ || 29 ||
the Lord of the cows

ॐ यॊगिनाम्पतयॆ नमः ॥ ३० ॥
oṁ yoginām-pataye namaḥ || 30 ||
the Lord of the yogIs

ॐ वत्सपालना संचारिने नमः
oṁ vatsapālanā sancārine namaḥ || 31 || (vatsavāṭi carāya – वत्सवाटचराय )
the Lord who roamed (in Vrindavana) with the company of calves and friendly cowherd boys

ॐ अनन्ताय नमः
oṁ anantāya namaḥ || 32 ||
the Unlimited, Infinite One

ॐ धेनुकासुरभञ्जनाय नमः
oṁ dhenukāsura-bhañjanāya namaḥ || 33 || (mardanāya – मर्दनाय)
the Lord who killed the ass-demon Dhenukasura

ॐ तृणी कृत तृणावर्ताय नमः
oṁ tṛṇī-kṛta-tṛṇāvartāya namaḥ || 34 ||
the Lord who destroyed the whirlwind demon Trinavarta

ॐ यमलार्जुन भञ्जनाय नमः
oṁ yamaḷārjuna-bhañjanāya namaḥ || 35 ||
the Lord who broke the two Yamala-Arjuna trees

ॐ उत्तलॊत्ताल भॆत्रॆ नमः (उत्ताल-ताल)
oṁ uttālottāla-bhetre namaḥ || 36 || (uttāla-tāla)
the Lord who broke all the big, tAla trees (killing Dhenuka)

ॐ तमाल श्यामलाकृतये नमः
oṁ tamāla śyāmalākṛtaye namaḥ || 37 ||
the Lord who is a beautiful blackish as the dark Tamala tree

ॐ गॊपगॊपीश्वराय नमः
oṁ gopa-gopīśvarāya namaḥ || 38 ||
The Lord of the gopas and gopīs (the cowherd boys and damsels of Vrindavan)

ॐ यॊगिनॆ नमः
oṁ yogine namaḥ || 39 ||
the greatest Yogī

ॐ कॊटिसूर्य समप्रभाय नमः ॥ ४० ॥
oṁ koṭi-sūrya-sama-prabhāya namaḥ || 40 ||
the Lord who is as lustrous as a million suns

ॐ इलापतयॆ नमः
oṁ iḷā-pataye namaḥ || 41 ||
Lord of IlA, the earth

ॐ परस्मै ज्योतिषे नमः
oṁ parasmai-jyotiṣe namaḥ || 42 || (parañjyotiṣe – परञ्ज्यॊतिषॆ)
the Supreme light, the Supreme Radiance

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ॐ यादवॆन्द्राय नमः
oṁ yādavendrāya namaḥ || 43 ||
the king of the Yadu clan (Yadavas)

ॐ यदूद्वहाय नमः
oṁ yadu-dvahāya namaḥ || 44 ||
the preeminent leader of the Yadu Dynasty

ॐ वनमालिनॆ नमः
oṁ vanamāline namaḥ || 45 ||
One who wears the divine garland made of wild forest flowers (Vaijayanthi)

ॐ पीतवाससे नमः
oṁ pīta-vāsase namaḥ || 46 || (pītavāsane)
the Lord who wears yellow garments

ॐ पारिजातपहारकाय नमः
oṁ pārijāta-apahārakāya namaḥ || 47 ||
the Lord who removed the parijatha flower (from India’s garden)

ॐ गोवर्धनाचलोद्धर्त्रे नमः
oṁ govardhanācaloddhartre namaḥ || 48 ||
the Lord who held up the Govardhana mountain

ॐ गॊपालाय नमः
oṁ gopālāya namaḥ || 49 ||
the protector of cows, Gopāla

ॐ सर्वपालकाय नमः ॥ ५० ॥
oṁ sarva-pālakāya namaḥ || 50 ||
the protector of all beings

ॐ अजाय नमः
oṁ ajāya namaḥ || 51 ||
the all-victorious Lord who is unconquered/ invincible,

ॐ निरञ्जनाय नमः
oṁ nirañjanāya namaḥ || 52 ||
the unblemished, untainted Lord

ॐ कामजनकाय नमः
oṁ kāma-janakāya namaḥ || 53 ||
who incites the gopIs desires

ॐ कञ्जलॊचनाय नमः
oṁ kañja-locanāya namaḥ || 54 ||
the Lord who has beautiful eyes

ॐ मधुघ्नॆ नमः
oṁ madhughne namaḥ || 55 ||
the Lord who killed the demon Madhu

ॐ मथुरानाथाय नमः
oṁ mathurā-nāthāya namaḥ || 56 || (madhurānāthāya)
Lord of Mathurā (the Lord of sweetnes)

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ॐ द्वारकानायकाय नमः

oṁ dvārakā-nāyakāya namaḥ || 57 ||
the hero and Lord of Dvārakā

ॐ बलिनॆ नमः
oṁ baline namaḥ || 58 ||
To the all-powerful Lord, the One with unlimited strength

ॐ बृन्दावनान्त सञ्चारिणॆ नमः
oṁ vṛndāvanānta-sañcāriṇe namaḥ || 59 ||
the Lord who roamed around Vrindavana

ॐ तुलसीदाम भूषनाय नमः ॥ ६० ॥
oṁ tulasī-dāma-bhūṣaṇāya namaḥ || 60 ||
the Lord who adorns Himself with tulasi leaf garlands

ॐ स्यमन्तकमणेर्हर्त्रे नमः
oṁ syamantaka-maner-hartre namaḥ || 61 || (mani-hartre – मणिहर्त्रे)
the Lord who appropriated the Syamantaka jewel

ॐ नरनारयणात्मकाय नमः
oṁ naranārayaṇātmakāya namaḥ || 62 ||
the Lord who has the twin forms of Nara and Narayana

ॐ कुब्जा कृष्णाम्बरधराय नमः
oṁ kubjā-kṛṣṇāmbara-dharāya namaḥ || 63 || (kṛṣṭāmbara – कृष्णाम्बर)
the Lord who wore the ointment (sandal paste) offered by Kubja, the hunchbacked lady

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ॐ मायिनॆ नमः
oṁ māyine namaḥ || 64 ||
the Lord of Maya, the master of illusion

ॐ परमपुरुषाय नमः
oṁ parama-pūruṣāya namaḥ || 65 ||
the Supreme person

ॐ मुष्टिकासुर चाणूर मल्लयुद्ध विशारदाय नमः
oṁ muṣṭikāsura cāṇūra mallayuddha viśāradāya namaḥ || 66 ||
the lord who expertly fought the demoniac wrestlers Muṣṭika and Cāṇūra

ॐ संसारवैरिणॆ नमः
oṁ saṁsāra-vairiṇe namaḥ || 67 ||
the enemy of Samsara (the cycle of births and deaths)

ॐ कंसारयॆ नमः
oṁ kaṁsāraye namaḥ || 68 ||
the enemy of King Kamsa (who wanted to kill Krishna)

ॐ मुरारयॆ नमः
oṁ murāraye namaḥ || 69 || (murarine)
the enemy of the demon Mura

ॐ नाराकान्तकाय नमः ॥ ७० ॥
oṁ nārākāntakāya namaḥ || 70 ||
the destroyer of the demon Narakāsura

ॐ अनादि ब्रह्मचारिणॆ नमः
oṁ anādi-brahmacāriṇe namaḥ || 71 ||
the beginningless brahmacārī

ॐ कृष्णाव्यसन कर्शकाय नमः
oṁ kṛṣṇā-vyasana-karśakāya namaḥ || 72 ||
Kṛṣṇa, who removed Draupadi’s distress

ॐ शिशुपालशिरश्छेत्रे नमः
oṁ śiṣupāla-śiraś-chetre namaḥ || 73 || (śiccetre – शिच्चॆत्रॆ)
the Lord who cut off Sisupala’s head (with his Sudarsana Chakra)

ॐ दुर्यॊधनकुलान्तकाय नमः
oṁ duryodhana-kulāntakāya namaḥ || 74 ||
the destroyer of the dynasty of Durodhana

ॐ विदुराक्रूर वरदाय नमः
oṁ vidurākrūra-varadāya namaḥ || 75 ||
the Lord who benedicted Vidura & Akrūra

ॐ विश्वरूपप्रदर्शकाय नमः
oṁ viśvarūpa-pradarśakāya namaḥ || 76 ||
the Lord who revealed His Viswarupa (the Universal Form)

ॐ सत्यवाचॆ नमः
oṁ satya-vāce namaḥ || 77 ||
To the Lord who utters only truth

ॐ सत्य सङ्कल्पाय नमः
oṁ satya-saṅkalpāya namaḥ || 78 ||
the Lord of true resolve, whose determination is fact

ॐ सत्यभामारताय नमः
oṁ satyabhāmā-ratāya namaḥ || 79 || (ratāye)
the Lover of Satyabhama

ॐ जयिनॆ नमः ॥ ८० ॥
oṁ jayine namaḥ || 80 ||
the Lord who is ever victorious

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ॐ सुभद्रा पूर्वजाय नमः
oṁ subhadrā-pūrva-jāya namaḥ || 81 ||
the elder brother of Subhadra

ॐ विष्णवॆ नमः
oṁ viṣṇave namaḥ || 82 ||
Lord Viṣṇu

ॐ भीष्ममुक्ति प्रदायकाय नमः
oṁ bhīṣma-mukti-pradāyakāya namaḥ || 83 ||
the Lord who bestowed salvation on Bhishma

ॐ जगद्गुरवॆ नमः
oṁ jagad-gurave namaḥ || 84 ||
the Lord who is universal Guru, world preceptor

ॐ जगन्नाथाय नमः
oṁ jagannāthāya namaḥ || 85 ||
the Lord Lord of the universe

ॐ वॆणुनाद विशारदाय नमः
oṁ veṇu-nāda-viśāradāya namaḥ || 86 ||
the Lord who is an expert in playing flute music

ॐ वृषभासुर विध्वंसिने नमः
oṁ vṛṣabhāsura-vidhvaṁsine namaḥ || 87 ||
the Lord who destroyed the demon Vrishaba asura

ॐ बाणासुर करान्तकाय नमः
oṁ bāṇāsura-karāntakāya namaḥ || 88 || (karāntakṛte – करान्तकृतॆ)
the Lord who chopped off the hands of the demon Bāṇāsura

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ॐ युधिष्ठिर प्रतिष्ठात्रे नमः
oṁ yudhiṣṭhira-pratiṣṭhātre namaḥ || 89 ||
the Lord who established Yudhiṣṭhira (as the king)

ॐ बर्हिबर्हावतंसकाय नमः ॥ ९० ॥
oṁ barhi-barhāvat-aṁsakaya namaḥ || 90 ||
the Lord whose crest is decorated with peacock feathers

ॐ पार्थसारथये नमः
oṁ pārtha-sārathaye namaḥ || 91 ||
the Lord who is the chariot driver of Arjuna (Pārtha Sārathi)

ॐ अव्यक्ताय नमः
oṁ avyaktāya namaḥ || 92 ||
the Lord Who appears unmanifest, who is subtle and unseen to material vision

ॐ गीतामृत महोदधये नमः
oṁ gītāmṛta-mahodadhaye namaḥ || 93 || (mahodhadiye – महोधदियॆ)
the Lord who is the great nectar-ocean of Bhagavad-gita

ॐ कालीय फणिमाणिक्य रञ्जित श्री पदाम्बुजाय नमः
oṁ kālīya-phaṇi-māṇikya-rañjita-śrī-padāmbujāya namaḥ || 94 ||
the Lord whose beautiful lotus feet danced on the jeweled hoods of the Kāliya serpent.

ॐ दामॊदराय नमः
oṁ dāmodarāya namaḥ || 95 ||
the One who was tied up with a rope to a grinding stone by His mother Yaśodā

ॐ यज्ञभोक्त्रे नमः
oṁ yajña-bhoktre namaḥ || 96 ||
the enjoyer of sacrificial offerings

ॐ दानवॆन्द्र विनाशकाय नमः
oṁ dānavendra-vināśakāya namaḥ || 97 ||
destroyer of the leading demons, killer of the Lord of Asuras

ॐ नारायणाय नमः
oṁ nārāyaṇāya namaḥ || 98 ||
Lord Nārāyaṇa, Viṣṇu

ॐ परब्रह्मणॆ नमः
oṁ para-brahmaṇe namaḥ || 99 ||
the Supreme absolute Truth Brahman (which is spiritual)

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ॐ पन्नगाशन वाहनाय नमः ॥ १०० ॥
oṁ pannagāśana-vāhanāya namaḥ || 100 ||
the Lord who has a serpent (Adisesha) as His seat, the great snake Vasuki that forms the bed of Vishnu

ॐ जलक्रीडा समासक्त गॊपीवस्त्रापहाराकाय नमः
oṁ jala-krīḍā-samāsakta-gopī-vastrāpahārakāya namaḥ || 101 ||
the Lord who playfully stole the gopīs clothing while they played in the waters of the Yamuna river

ॐ पुण्य श्लॊकाय नमः
oṁ puṇya-ślokāya namaḥ || 102 ||
the Lord whose poetic depictions are virtuous, whose praises bestow merit

ॐ तीर्थपादाय नमः
oṁ tīrtha-pādāya namaḥ || 103 ||
creator of holy places, the One whose feet are holy

ॐ वॆदवॆद्याय नमः
oṁ veda-vedyāya namaḥ || 104 ||
the Lord who is the source of the Vedas, who is revealed by the Vedas

ॐ दयानिधयॆ नमः
oṁ dayā-nidhaye namaḥ || 105 ||
the Lord who is the Treasure of compassion

ॐ सर्वभूतात्मकाय नमः
oṁ sarva-bhūtātmakāya namaḥ || 106 ||
the Lord who is possessing the essence of the elements

ॐ सर्वग्रह रुपिणॆ नमः
oṁ sarva-graha-rūpiṇe namaḥ || 107 ||
the Lord who forms all the planets

ॐ परात्पराय नमः ॥ 108 ॥
oṁ parātparāya namaḥ
The Supreme beyond the highest

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The song of God (classic movie in hindi)

Meerabai – Saint, Singer and the soul in Sojourn

Mirabai-painting-by-Sharma-542x350

Sea is a difficult subject to write on. Not a mystery it lies
wide-spread before eyes, but whatever the measurement in hand,
its length, width, depth, height to which its waves rise, its
sublime quietude or fury, are always beyond the compass. Mira’s
case is hardly different. A Rathor princess wedded to the house
of Sisodias, the two earliest and the most reputed ruling
dynasties of Rajputana, Mirabai was essentially within the
periphery of history, the history of our times, not of far gone
days. However, with history’s all parameters and research
techniques applied even her parentage, husband’s name,
birthplace, dates, or rather years, of birth, death, matrimony.
could not be finally determined. Scholars, especially those
trained in European methods of researching plumbing court records
and those of genealogists and families of bards, are trying to
discover the historical Mirabai, a Mirabai in ‘modern historical
sense’ though despite such efforts, and a set of ever emerging
new arguments, even now her birth swings from one date to other
over a period of almost hundred years or more, from 1403 to 1506
C. E., and whatever is claimed as widely accepted is merely a
broad consensus. And, efforts at discovering this historical
Mirabai are not mean by any standards. Scholars world-over are
exploring various records and interviewing people in anyway
linkable to Mira; Rajasthan’s royal houses are searching their
stores to find their Mira-connections in mass of rags; and women
of Rajasthan are re-visiting past for discovering in Mira’s life
the contexts that glorified Rajput womanhood. In October, 2002,
the University of California and the Los Angeles’ County Museum
of Art had jointly held at Los Angeles an international
conference on Mirabai with participants from world over. As
reveal the papers presented, the conference underlined
international efforts to locate Mirabai into history but Mira
still transgresses it and declines to transform into a chain of
dates or what are called ‘the historically established events’.

poison_bowl_sm

History’s strange predicament is that it has of Mira hardly
anything conclusive on record, but still it cannot write her off
from its pages. The dilemma of many modern scholars aft is that
they seek to apply same parameters for spanning a rock which they
apply for measuring water. What is appropriate in case of a king
may not be so in case of a saint. One cannot determine the moment
of a saint’s attaining enlightenment the same way as he does the
date of a prince’s ascendance. Hence, more significant than
choosing the kind of methodology is to determine to which kind of
person one has to apply it. Mira was not a king in whose life
dates, individuals, events, personal things – birth, marriage,
death, or whatever, mattered much. In a king’s life they do. If
not the Babur’s son, history would not have known Humayun. If the
date of his death was not conclusively determined, the date of
Akbar’s ascendance, or indeed the sequence of all subsequent
events in his life and indeed in the polity of the subcontinent
would have muddled. It is entirely different with Mira. Mira
would not have been any different if Rao Duda was not her
grandfather, or Rao Ratan Singh, not her father, or if Kumbha was
her husband, not Bhojaraj. It is not in any of them that Mira
seeks her relevance. Actually, Mira has her relevance in Mira, in
her love, sufferings, devotion and complete submission to
Krishna, in her power to inspire and generate confidence among
those pursuing the path of truth, and above all, in her
forbearance and unique courage in facing every moment bringing
her death with a smile on face, not in individuals, material
world, or even in her historicity. Nida Fazali, a known
contemporary poet, in one of his widely sung verses, paid to Mira
perhaps the most appropriate tribute. He perceives in Mira the
strength to transform into the light of life the instruments of
death – the cup filled with poison, or the deadly cross.

MEERA

In a world full of lies, liars and hypocrites Mira stood for
truth and gave it strength. He perceives in Mira’s mad devotion
such intensity that the temple’s inoperative votive deity would
not remain confined in the idol, but the all powerful One would
come out of it and extend His bliss and divine aura into all
directions. He finally prays to God to let the temple have a mad
Mira once again.

History’s fallacy is that in search of Mira it looks into the
doors that not only threw her out but generations after
generations kept washing their floors, walls and all records lest
any of her imprints are left behind. It forgets that a postal
address is not Mira’s home-address, and one does not reach her by
knocking that door. She certainly had an abode, the soul’s as
well as the body’s, the bones’ as well as the bricks’, but she
lived in neither. A saint, Mira lived beyond both, the body and
the bricks, and certainly not in the palatial abodes of her
in-laws or even father. In the world Mira was a soul in sojourn,
a traveler in a transit house, yearning to reach home where lived
her Lord : ‘Janyugi main nah rahungi piva bina pardesa’ –  I will
go, I will not stay here, without my Lord this land is foreign.

mere_to_girdhar_gopal_doosra_na_koyi_mirabai_bi47

Life Story Of Mirabai

Most of the details of Mirabai’s birth, parentage, matrimony,
circumstances of death . are just approximate arrived at by broad
consensus. Unanimity does not prevail even in regard to her name.
Dr. Barthaval contends that Mira was not her actual name but the
term’s literal meaning being ‘Consort of Ishvara -God’ it emerged
as Mira’s popular name. Purohit Harinarayana, another scholar,
claims that Mira, developed from ‘Mir’, the title of the
descendants of the family of Muhammad, was a name inspired by
Shah Sufi of Ajmer, though in view of Rajputs’ great dislike for
Shah it is not likely that any Rajput would inherit from Shah
anything, even a holy syllable, for naming his daughter. Scholars
like Dr. Padmavati and Dr. Bhagwan Das Tiwari among others
mention Mirata, Miram and Miran as Mira’s three other names.
Mirata, divisible as Mira+ta, is linked with Merata, one of the
places associated with her birth. It broadly means ‘one from
Merata’. In early 17th century genealogy of Munhata Nainsi Mira
has been mentioned as Miran, and in one or two others, as Miram,
though these are only local phonetic variations of the term Mira.

images-63

It is alike with the date of her birth which swings from 1403 to
1506. Though no conclusive evidence has so far come to light
supporting it, 1500 C. E. has wider acceptance. Apart that a
local scholar from Mewar Devashri barrister claims it as the date
of Mira’s birth, the dates that scholars like Dholerava Bhat,
Kunwar Sukhvira Singh Gahlot, Munshi Deviprasad, Harvilas Sarda
among others fix as the date of her birth are also around 1500 C.
E., that is, in between 1498 to 1506 C. E. Citing some secondary
evidences Jhaveri takes the date of Mira’s birth back to 1403, G.
A. Grierson and W. G. Archer, to 1420, Thakur Chatur Singh
Rathor, to 1457-58, and F. E. Keay to 1470. W. G. Archer’s
opinion is somewhat significant. In his ‘The Loves of Krishna’ he
contends that Vallabhacharya was Mira’s follower, and as
Vallabhacharya was born in 1478, Archer takes back the date of
Mira’s birth to 1420. Vallabha’s Pushtimarga had begun taking
shape when he was in his thirties, approximately around 1520-30,
the period when Mira, having relinquished the houses of both,
Rathors and Sisodias, was passing through the prime period of her
‘bhakti’ life. Strangely, Vallabha’s Pushtimarga immensely
influenced all Vaishnava devotional poets, Surdasa and others;
however, nothing of it is traceable in Mira’s writings, and that
too when he had his seat in Mewar itself, one of the two most
significant places in Mira’s life. It strongly suggests that Mira
might have preceded Vallabhacharya.

mirabai-Krishna-257x300

Merata, a medium size town situated at Delhi-Jodhpur train route,
is now widely accepted as Mira’s birthplace, though some scholars
yet contend, Parashurama Chaturvedi being quite firm, that her
birthplace was Kukari, and a few others, that it was Chokari.
Kalyanamal Shekhavat has a far different opinion. He claims that
Mira was born at Bajauli, though she lived at Kuraki for
sometime. In his ‘Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan’ Col. J.
Tod mentioned at two different places Rao Duda and his son Ratan
Singh as the names of Mira’s father. Mewar records, collected by
Munshi Devi Prasad, too, confuse between Duda and Ratan Singh as
her father’s name. However, despite such initial confusion it is
now almost unanimously accepted that Ratan Singh was Mira’s
father. Similar confusion prevails in regard to her mother’s
name, which in some sources has been mentioned as Kusum Kunwar
while in others, Virakumari. It is popularly believed that Mira’s
mother died soon after Mira’s birth, though some scholars contend
that it was not so. In his ‘Bhaktirasabodhini’, the early 17th
century commentary of Bhaktamal, Priyadas claims that Mire’s
parents, both mother and father, were alive for long.

Mira’s Marriage

The event of Mira’s marriage, about the date of which greater
unanimity prevails, has strange undertones, and from here Mira
seems to take two different directions, one, the essential or
fundamental to which her essential being inclined, and the other,
incidental, which as human-born she was obliged to take. It was
largely at this juncture that the traditional or popular Mirabai
whom accumulated faith of generations across centuries
constructed and people’s memory retained, something like the
spiritual Mirabai, emerges. The human-born Mirabai was married in
1516, when barely sixteen, though till recently confusion
prevailed as to the name of her husband, which some sources – J.
C. Omen, Colonel Tod, G. A. Grierson among others, claimed was
Rana Kumbha, and other, Bhojaraj. Perhaps the historical Mira
temple constructed close to Rana Kumbha’s Victory tower at
Chittor, confused Col. Tod to relate Mira and Kumbha with each
other. This temple dedicated to Mira enshrines Krishna, and Mira
seated close to his feet, sings and plays on lyre for him in
perpetuity. However, a wider consensus evolved in favor of
Bhojaraj as Mira’s husband.

mira_mandir_chittor_sm

Unlike her matrimony in human-birth, there is hardly any confusion in regard to the matrimonial status of the popular or spiritual Mirabai. This Mira was wedded to One Infinite who manifested in human, personal, beatific and joyous form of Krishna. Krishna was her Lord and to Him she was wedded with ties of love beyond fetters of this world, rigid modesty norms and chains of family life. She was married to Him in every birth, and in every birth she yearned for him in love and was thus ever his spouse and ever his maid. This Mira, the pure soul, a part of the Supreme separated from Him, was thus ever wedded and was ever – births after births, a virgin : ‘Charana Sarana ri dasi Mira, janam janam ri kwanri’ – a servant at her Lord’s feet Mira was a virgin, births after births. Strangely, scholars jump from one date of Mira’s marriage to another and from one person to the other as her husband but as for Mira, she claimed to be ever a virgin – ‘Janam janam ri kwanri’, and if she was dyed in colours of anyone’s love, it was Krishna’s – ‘Shyam rang ranchi’ – dyed in Krishna’s blue. History, a coward, does not have the courage to look into the eyes of the Mira who is both, ever wedded and ever a virgin. This eternal consort of the Supreme, and His virgin ever in sojourn till he meets her and she unites with him in inseparable union, is hardly discoverable in debris of history

img_21

Unlike her matrimony in human-birth, there is hardly any
confusion in regard to the matrimonial status of the popular or
spiritual Mirabai. This Mira was wedded to One Infinite who
manifested in human, personal, beatific and joyous form of
Krishna. Krishna was her Lord and to Him she was wedded with ties
of love beyond fetters of this world, rigid modesty norms and
chains of family life. She was married to Him in every birth, and
in every birth she yearned for him in love and was thus ever his
spouse and ever his maid. This Mira, the pure soul, a part of the
Supreme separated from Him, was thus ever wedded and was ever –
births after births, a virgin : ‘Charana Sarana ri dasi Mira,
janam janam ri kwanri’ –  a servant at her Lord’s feet Mira was a
virgin, births after births. Strangely, scholars jump from one
date of Mira’s marriage to another and from one person to the
other as her husband but as for Mira, she claimed to be ever a
virgin – ‘Janam janam ri kwanri’, and if she was dyed in colors
of anyone’s love, it was Krishna’s – ‘Shyam rang ranchi’ – dyed
in Krishna’s blue. History, a coward, does not have the courage
to look into the eyes of the Mira who is both, ever wedded and
ever a virgin. This eternal consort of the Supreme, and His
virgin ever in sojourn till he meets her and she unites with him
in inseparable union, is hardly discoverable in debris of history.

meera_and_krishna_os13

Mira Transformed

Interestingly, Mira’s utmost poetic imagery and devotional idiom
center on marriage, particularly its bonds that tie the two
together, resulting union and its delight, and separation and its
pangs. She presents herself as her Lord’s virgin, bride, humble
servant, one willing to live the way he liked . Mira seems to
have discovered in marriage love’s essential idiom – formal and
intrinsic; and, it is somewhat natural for it was an event of
marriage that transformed the human-born Mirabai into the
spiritual Mirabai; to some extent, the spiritual Mirabai was born
out of an event of marriage. As the popular tradition has it,
once when yet a child, Mira saw a marriage procession reaching
her neighborhood. A curious mind, she asked her mother what for
so many richly bejeweled and costumed men riding horses and
palanquins had come there. When told that it was a marriage
procession and that the most richly bejeweled youth riding as
splendidly saddled horse walking ahead of others was the
bridegroom come to marry their neighbor’s daughter, Mira
innocently asked her mother where was her groom. Mira’s mother
smiled at her innocence and to amuse her picked the idol of
Krishna and giving it to her said that he was her groom. Mira’s
adolescent mind believed it. She recalled how, though not in a
procession, her groom had likewise come. A few days ago a ‘yogi –
ascetic, carrying this idol of Krishna, came to her house. With
its mesmeric beauty the idol bewitched the child and she insisted
to have it but the ascetic did not concede and went away, and the
eyes of a sad Mira followed him till he was visible. But, a
little later, the ‘yogi’ came back, gave the idol to Mira and
left. It is said that no other than Raidasa, the ‘jogi’ heard a
divine voice, after he had left Mira’s village, instructing him
to go back and give the idol to the child.

mirabai_decrates_her_beloved_lord_krishna_hk64

Mira’s mind was so deeply influenced by this association of the
Krishna’s idol with the ‘yogi’ that in many of her songs Mira
addressed Krishna as ‘jogi’ and herself as his ‘jogin’. It
actually shaped Mira’s vision of Krishna on two lines. She was
his bride completely devoted to him but unlike the Krishna of
Jaideva’s Gita Govinda Mira’s Krishna was not indulgent in
sensuous love. Hers was more often a yogi.

krishna_and_mira_as_radha_sm

The distress of Radha in Gita Govinda, or even her Sakhi’s, is in
context to other Gopis, but Mira rarely sees her Krishna beyond
her own contexts. She yearns for Krishna but these are her own
yearnings, not Krishna’s. She does not drag him to her level of
sensuous yearnings. This ‘jogi’ Krishna struck the imagination of
Kishangarh artists too, and they painted him as ‘yogi’ and Radha,
perhaps a transform of Mira, something quite unusual to Krishna’s
iconography.

yogini_mira_sm

Mira venerated Raidasa as her ‘guru’ – teacher, in some of her
verses, and so contended the popular tradition, though
chronologically Mira and Raidasa, broadly accepted period of
Raidasa being from 1394 to 1418, weren’t contemporaries. It is
said that Raidasa had led her to the path of Vaishnava ‘bhakti’.
It seems that this might have led the common mind to link ‘yogi’
and Raidasa for they both led her to the path of Krishna.

Mira’s Pre And Post Marriage Life

Slightly varying is the contention that Mira’s mother died early
and Mira was the sole charge of a fond grandfather Rao Duda, a
staunch Vaishnava. Reciprocally, Mira the child took care of her
grandfather’s religious activities – lighting lamp and incense,
making sacred food for offering, dressing up the idol, arranging
things in order, and when rites began chanting hymns along with
him and herself prostrating before the idol. This Vaishnavite
atmosphere was Mira’s initial training and the factor that shaped
her personality. Whatever her inspiration, by the time of her
marriage with Bhojaraj her mind had become fully absorbed in
Krishna so much so that when on her lips were the marriage-rites
related hymns within her heart were thoughts of Krishna. She
earnestly believed that she was being married to Krishna, not to Bhojaraj.

krishna_takes_poison_effect_sm

As reveal most sources and even the tradition, Mira did not have
problems with Bhojaraj but her real ordeal began with his death
in 1523. Under rigid customs of ‘sati’, Mira, a Rajput widow, was
required to immolate herself, which Mira declined. She argued
that wedded to Krishna who was ‘Avinashi’ – indestructible, not
to anyone other than him, she was not a widow. Immolating herself
would disgrace him whose consort she was. This incensed everyone’s
anger in the family and even beyond including her father who
thought the same way. Now Mira, the bride of the house of
Sisodias, was the object of everyone’s disdain. Ungenerous
treatment apart, she was subjected to various atrocities, mental
and physical, to include even attempts on her life, to which
everyone in the family was a party. Her father-in-law Rana Sanga
was a little considerate, but he died in 1527 fighting against
Babur and with this the reins passed into the hands of Ratan
Singh, and a little after, Vikramaditya Singh, Mira’s worst
oppressors. The Bhaktamal, its various commentaries, and other
early records evade mentioning the names of tormenters, but
enumerate a number of atrocities, including a few attempts on her
life, to which Mira was subjected. Mira’s atrocities, especially
the attempts to kill her, also feature in the 17th century poetry
of Priyadasa, Dhruvadasa, Nabhadasa and Dayabai among others.
However, the list of atrocities and occasions when attempts on
Mira’s life were made, and divine miracles which every time
aborted them, is quite large in the popular tradition. In some
more recent literature, as in Ananda Swami’s ‘Miram
Sudha-Sindhu-Swami’, this list has been further exaggerated.

Some of the attempts made on Mira’s life have exceptional
unanimity. As the Bhaktamal and almost all other texts have it,
considering Mira’s life and ways derogatory to Rajput values the
Rana, chronologically Rana Ratan Singh, decided to end Mira’s
life. She was sent a cup full of poison which Mira drank but it
did not harm her. It is believed that Krishna had taken on him
poison’s evil effect with the result that his image turned blue.

adorable_krishna_as_shrinathji_wh30

The Bhagavata’s Krishna is also blue-complexioned but the
Nathdwara Krishna is bluer perhaps for manifesting him who drank
Mira’s poison.

When this attempt failed, he sent a wicker-basket with a deadly
cobra in it; however, when Mira opened it, it revealed just a
Saligrama, a symbolic form of Vishnu. The Mira Mandir at
Vrindavana has a Saligrama icon claimed to be the same into which
the cobra sent to kill Mira had transformed. As popular is the
event of Rana’s encounter with Krishna in Mira’s apartment. It is
said that Krishna often appeared in Mira’s chamber and she spoke
to him. Hearing her talk to someone privately Rana’s sister
Udaibai reported the matter to her brother. With a naked sword in
hand Rana, perhaps Vikramaditya, stormed her chamber shouting
where her lover was. When he found none except Krishna’s image,
he left shamefaced. In slight variation, he flung his sword on
one behind the curtain wherefrom a disc – Vishnu’s Sudarshana
Chakra, emerged and struck his sword, and in sheer horror he
left. As some sources have it, Rana passed the night almost in
fearful trauma. In the morning, in complete inversion of the
values that he so far venerated, the king and his wife went to
Mirabai and submitted to her as her devotees.
mirabai_and_her_joyous_bhakti_sm
Whatever, after the atmosphere of the royal household, where lust
for power and sensuous pursuits overrode piety, became throttling
Mira decided to relinquish it. As have some sources, she first
went to Merata, her father’s abode. Her uncle Rao Viramdeva and
cousin Jayamala were cordial and she was allowed to have her own
way but subsequent political events, reducing Merata to Jodhpur’s
suzerainty in 1538, and Rao Maladeva pressurizing Mira’s uncle to
mend Mira’s ways or banish her, forced Mira to leave. She first
went to Vrindavana and then to Dwarika. Now her devotional life
was in full swing. She moved in sadhus’ company, danced and sang
in temples and beyond breaking all barriers that rigid society
and its customs imposed. In visual representations the Mira of
palaces was a wanderer of roads with songs on lips and a ‘vina’ –
stringed instrument, in hands.

When at Vrindavana, Mira heard that the known Krishna-devotee
Jiva Goswami was at Vrindavana. She desired to meet him, but
under a vow not to cast his eye on a woman, he refused to see
Mira. Thereupon Mira sent him words that she was under the
impression that in Vrindavana there was just one male and all
others, His Gopis. Now she finds that there is another male
parallel to Him and identifies his separate entity. Jiva Goswami
did not fail to understand the underlying meaning and ashamed
rushed to meet her.

Mira’s Death

When in her forties, Mira came to Dwarika. Now every moment of
her life was devoted to Krishna. In the meantime her cousin
Jayamala succeeded in wrestling Merata back and regain his
supremacy. He sent messengers to Mira asking her to return. Some
of the messengers stayed at Dwarika pressurizing her that they
would not go back unless she accompanied them. As the tradition
has it, she asked them to wait for the night, and when the night
fell, all alone she entered into the temple, in some legends,
into deep forest, for bidding farewell to Shri Ranachhoraji. She
sang two songs; with the one, her spiritual being merged into the
image of the Lord, and with the other, merged into Him her mortal
form. Those who had seen her entering the temple never saw her
coming out. Her mortal body was never found. Another tradition
puts it with some difference. With her wide open eyes she looked
at her Lord praying Him not to separate her from Him. It is said
that thereupon the Lord stepped out of the idol, entered into her
through her eyes, occupied her spiritual being, and let the
discarded mortal body fall.mirabai-you-tube-dot-com

Mira’s Popularity, Poetry And Nature Of Bhakti

What an irony that Mira, who during her lifetime was not only
despised by her kin but even the common man’s head did not bow to
her, out of fear or whatever, is perhaps the most popular saint
of India. As compared to three to four films attributed to other
saints Mira has not less than ten movies made on her life. The
most popular Hindi book series Amar Chitra Katha has published
Mira on number 36, while Kabir appears on 55, Tulsi, on 62 and
Surdasa, on 137.

Not merely that country has a number of temples devoted to Mira,
even structures earlier to Mira herself, such as the 14th century
Mira Mandir at Ahad, Udaipur, Rajasthan, are renamed after her.

mira_mandir_ahada_udaipur_sm

Kabir, Surdasa, Tulsi, Nabhadas. were ‘bhakti’ poets. ‘Bhakti’
was their poetry’s essence but basically they were poets.

Mira sometimes sang like Kabir : ‘Jantar mantar kachhu na janun
ved parhi nahi Kasi’ – neither adept in cosmology or the science
of syllables nor I have read Vedas or visited the holy Kashi, but
she was just an uncut naive ‘bhakta’. When she danced, in her
legs revealed her surrender to her Lord; when she sang, in her
words revealed her yearning to unite with Him. Neither a dancer,
nor singer, Mira was ‘bhakti’ incarnate – surrender in love, a
surrender beyond questions, calculations, fear, and all thoughts
of profit or loss, something that Chaitanya called Gopi-bhava –
single-pointed submission as Gopis had for Krishna. It is said
that once sage Narad saw Narayana tormented by acute headache. A
bewildered Narad asked him if he could do anything that would
relieve him of pain. Narayana told him that the dust of someone’s
feet alone could do it. Narad could give the dust of his own feet
but how could he, an humble devotee of Narayana, do it? He went
to Narayana’s spouses but considering it a sin they too declined.
Narad thought he could find someone in Brij who could give his or
her feet’s dust. He went to Brij, met Gopis and told them all
about Narayana’s pain and the remedy he sought. Not a moment of
hesitation, Gopis collected a basketful dust of their feet and
gave it to Narad. A sin or virtue, beyond all calculations of
profit and loss the concern of Gopis was their Lord’s relief –
the Chaitanya’s Gopi-bhava. This was the form of Mira’s ‘bhakti’,
and in this Mira discovered her ultimate strength to face
whatever came her way : ‘Koyi nindau koyi bindau main chalungi
chal aputhi’ -whether condemned or lauded Mira would go the way
not treaded ever before.

meerabai_for_her_krishna_was_love_supreme_idg830

Mira sometimes sang like Kabir : ‘Jantar mantar kachhu na janun
ved parhi nahi Kasi’ – neither adept in cosmology or the science
of syllables nor I have read Vedas or visited the holy Kashi, but
she was just an uncut naive ‘bhakta’. When she danced, in her
legs revealed her surrender to her Lord; when she sang, in her
words revealed her yearning to unite with Him. Neither a dancer,
nor singer, Mira was ‘bhakti’ incarnate – surrender in love, a
surrender beyond questions, calculations, fear, and all thoughts
of profit or loss, something that Chaitanya called Gopi-bhava –
single-pointed submission as Gopis had for Krishna. It is said
that once sage Narad saw Narayana tormented by acute headache. A
bewildered Narad asked him if he could do anything that would
relieve him of pain. Narayana told him that the dust of someone’s
feet alone could do it. Narad could give the dust of his own feet
but how could he, an humble devotee of Narayana, do it? He went
to Narayana’s spouses but considering it a sin they too declined.
Narad thought he could find someone in Brij who could give his or
her feet’s dust. He went to Brij, met Gopis and told them all
about Narayana’s pain and the remedy he sought. Not a moment of
hesitation, Gopis collected a basketful dust of their feet and
gave it to Narad. A sin or virtue, beyond all calculations of
profit and loss the concern of Gopis was their Lord’s relief –
the Chaitanya’s Gopi-bhava. This was the form of Mira’s ‘bhakti’,
and in this Mira discovered her ultimate strength to face
whatever came her way : ‘Koyi nindau koyi bindau main chalungi
chal aputhi’ -whether condemned or lauded Mira would go the way
not treaded ever before.
Meerabai
To Mira, the ties between her Lord and her were those of love,
the love that looked like this world’s. Not an inhabitant of this
world, Mira discovers in it the frame for her Lord’s picture, in
the world’s sensuous ways, her Lord’s ways, and in its idiom, the
diction to communicate with Him. Not a symbolic or elemental
merger, Mira desired, with her body, soul and all faculties, that
her Lord, when He met her, rushed to her, smiled and embraced
her – ‘Uthi hans kantha lagao’. In love, her form of devotion and
its essence, Mira sought release from the cycle of birth and
death : ‘Jana Mira Kun Girdhara milaya, dukha metan sukha bheri,
Ruma ruma sata bhayi ura mein, miti gayi phera pheri’ – the
moment Mira met Girdhara, sorrows vanished and happiness emerged,
all agitations of mind and body extinguished, and the cycle of
birth and death is destroyed.

To Mira, the ties between her Lord and her were those of love,
the love that looked like this world’s. Not an inhabitant of this
world, Mira discovers in it the frame for her Lord’s picture, in
the world’s sensuous ways, her Lord’s ways, and in its idiom, the
diction to communicate with Him. Not a symbolic or elemental
merger, Mira desired, with her body, soul and all faculties, that
her Lord, when He met her, rushed to her, smiled and embraced
her – ‘Uthi hans kantha lagao’. In love, her form of devotion and
its essence, Mira sought release from the cycle of birth and
death : ‘Jana Mira Kun Girdhara milaya, dukha metan sukha bheri,
Ruma ruma sata bhayi ura mein, miti gayi phera pheri’ – the
moment Mira met Girdhara, sorrows vanished and happiness emerged,
all agitations of mind and body extinguished, and the cycle of
birth and death is destroyed.

Mirabai-2


This article by Sri P. C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet


Bibliography:
Bhaktamal
Chaurasi Vaishnavan ki Varta
Mewar Records
Pada-prasanga-mala, commentary on Bhaktamal by Nagaridasa
Bhakti-rasa-bodhini, commentary of Bhaktamal by Priyadasa
Dhruvadas : Bhakta Namavali
Ananda Swarupa : Miram-Sudha-Sindhu-Swami
Col. J. Tod :  Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan
G. A. Grierson : The Modern Vernacular Literature of Hindustan
J. N. Farquhar : An Outline of Religious Literature in India
F. E. Keay : A History of Hindi Literature
W. G. Archer : The Loves of Krishna
J. S. Hawley : Saints and Virtues
S. S. Mehta : A Monograph on Mirabai, the Saint of Mewar
V. K. Subramanian : Mystic Songs of Mira
John Stratton : Three Bhakti Voices
K. P. Bahadur : Mira Bai and Her Padas
Usha Nilsson : Mir Bai

Friendship with God: A Case Study of Krishna and Sudama

For the suffering man, tired with the constant striving for sensual gratification, pricked by the arrows of desire, the only source of peace is to immerse himself in the ocean of stories narrating the spiritual adventures of Lord Krishna. Indeed the Shrimad Bhagavatam says: ‘True speech is only the one that sings the glory of Krishna. Only those hands can be called hands which arise in the service of God. Only that mind is worthy of its name which contemplates on Him who abides in the hearts of all creatures. Only those ears are ears which listen to the sacred stories of Krishna. The head justifies its name only when it bows before both the moving and the unmoving forms of the Lord. Only those can be truly called eyes which see God everywhere.’ (X.80.3-4)

mirabai_decrates_her_beloved_lord_krishna_hk64

One such story is that of Sudama, a friend of Lord Krishna. The Sanskrit word for friend is ‘sakha’ which holds a deeper meaning. It is composed of two words sa and kha. Sa means ‘together’ and kha means ‘renown’, suggesting a pair of friends who are renowned together; for example Rama-Lakshmana, Krishna-Arjuna, Krishna-Balarama and also Krishna-Sudama.

Sudama was a wise Brahmin who not only had a deep theoretical knowledge of the Vedas but also lived according to Vedic principles. Though he was a householder he made do with whatever came his way and never made any efforts to acquire anything. He never asked anybody for anything. He would eat whatever anyone gave him and go hungry if no food came his way. Very often he would have to go hungry for long stretches of time. Consequently, he became so thin that his veins started showing up prominently. He never had anything decent to wear and dressed in rags. He was a true avadhuta. His wife, extremely devoted to her husband, lived in the same condition. Whenever anyone gave them a little rice, she would cook and serve it to him at times going hungry herself. This was how they lived.

A time came when they had to go without food for several days. His wife, not anxious for her own personal self but extremely concerned about her husband, requested him in a sweet voice, even though her own body was trembling with weakness: “Lord, I have heard that Krishna, the husband of Goddess Lakshmi, is your friend. Please go to Him for help. He is the only refuge of saints. When He will come to know that you are a householder but still struggling for a few grains, He will definitely give you sufficient money to make your ends meet. He is living in nearby Dwarka only. He is so generous that He gives away even Himself to devotees who remember His lotus feet. Will not He, who is the father of the whole world, confer worldly necessities on His devotees, which are negligible compared to the spiritual boons He blesses them with (and hence easily given)?”

Sudama was disinclined to go to Krishna for any material gain. He was convinced that the Lord was omniscient, all-powerful and supremely compassionate. “My condition is not hidden from Him,” though Sudama. “He must be feeling that this is the proper condition for me, so we should be pleased with what pleases Him. We have no need to make any direct efforts.”

However, along those thoughts it also occurred to him: “I don’t have to ask for, nor take anything from Him, but if I go to Dwarka I will have the good fortune of seeing the Lord. What bigger gain can there be?”

He said to his wife: “O blessed lady! Since you wish me to do so I will go. However get something for me to present to Lord Krishna. It is not proper to go empty handed.” His wife was happy to hear this, but from where was she going to get something for her husband to take as a present? She went to four houses and brought back from each a fistful of pounded rice flakes. They were respectively red, white, small and big. Four fistfuls of four kinds of rice. However, there was no option. She tied them in a tattered piece of cloth and gave the bundle to her husband. The great Brahmin Sudama set out to Dwarka with the gift in his hands. His only thought on the way was: ‘How will I receive the darshan of Lord Krishna?”

When Sudama reached Dwarka, he was amazed to see the grandeur and luxury of the city. Krishna’s palace was protected by three layers of garrisons. However there was no restriction on saints and Brahmins who had free access to Krishna’s residence, which was surrounded by palaces belonging to his sixteen thousand wives. While entering Krishna’s inner chambers, Sudama felt supreme bliss (Brahmananda) as if he was merging his individual soul into the Supreme Soul.

At that moment Lord Krishna was seated on the bed of His wife Rukmini, who was none other than Goddess Lakshmi. As soon as Krishna caught sight of Sudama He put Rukmini aside, jumped off the bed and came running towards His friend. He caught Sudama warmly, embraced him and said: “Friend! I’m meeting you after ages! Where were you all these days?”

Lord Krishna, who is the reservoir of all the pleasure in the world, Himself experienced great pleasure on embracing His friend!Then Lord Krishna washed Sudama’s hands and feet with His tears. Shri Krishna is a staunch devotee of Brahmins, who are often referred to as ‘gods of the earth (bhu-devata). Indeed luxuries and wealth are appreciable only when used in the service of the poor and the learned. Actually, both the poor and the learned are forms of the Lord only, but the learned person has the ability to create thousands of other learned persons; therefore, service to the learned is of special importance. Hence, we too should seek out learned Brahmins and facilitate the protection of Dharma in whatever way we can.

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Krishna then arranged for Sudama’s bath and wrapped His own pitambara (yellow cloth) around his shoulders. He gave the Brahmin a new sacred thread, applied sandal paste on his forehead, and served a delicious meal. Then the Lord made Sudama sit on His own bed and worshipped him. The goddess of fortune Rukmini herself personally began to fan him. The other women of the palace wondered why Krishna was so eagerly serving this poor Brahmin who was neither neat nor clean nor dressed properly; but with the grace of Krishna they immediately understood that the Brahmin was not an ordinary being and must have performed great pious austerities which had earned him the special affection of Lord Krishna.

Later on at night, Sudama and Krishna held each other’s hands and began to talk about their early life at their guru’s ashram where they had lived and studied together. They sang praises of their common venerable guru who had imparted both knowledge and wisdom to them. They felt supremely blessed on having shared those precious and enriching moments together at that hermitage of learning. Thus they passed away the night in reminiscences.

Next morning, when it was time for Sudama to leave, Shri Krishna thought to Himself: “I must respect the detachment of My Brahmin friend. He is an ascetic who desires nothing. He has never worshipped Me with a desire for material benefit. Nonetheless, his wife hopes to get relief from their extreme poverty and it is my duty to look after those who are the dependent of those who depend upon Me.

With this in mind Krishna asked his friend: “Brahmin Devata, have you brought any gift for Me?” Sudama felt acutely embarrassed. He tried to hide the small bundle of four kinds of rice flakes because it screamed aloud the entire history of his poverty. How could he open it and offer such stuff to the Supreme Lord?

Bhagawan Krishna abides in every heart and knows what goes on there. He snatched the little bundle, dug into it and put a fistful of the rice into His mouth. He was about to eat more when Rukmini Ji caught His hand saying: “Won’t you let us also have this Brahmin’s Prasad? By accepting one fistful you have already given him all possible wealth in this world. If you eat a second fistful we will all have to go to his house to serve him.” This indicates that when food is offered to Lord Krishna with love and devotion, He is pleased with it and accepts it even though it may entail an effort on His own part. In the process goddess Lakshmi becomes so obliged that she has to go personally to the devotee’s home to take care of him and his circumstances.

Despite all this, Shri Krishna sent Sudama off empty handed. During the journey home Sudama began to think joyously: “How much respect Lord Krishna has for Brahmins. He embraced a sinful and poor person like myself and allowed me to touch His heart – the same heart which is the abode of Lakshmi. Not only that, he made me sleep on the very bed that goddess Lakshmi sleeps on. He pressed my feet with His own hands to serve me! I thank Krishna for not giving me any wealth. This he did for my own benefit. He knows that when a man gets material wealth he becomes intoxicated and forgets the real wealth which is devotion towards God.”

Sudama walked on towards his village, blissfully engrossed in such thoughts. However when he reached near, nowhere could he see the poor village he had left behind. Instead he saw a fabulous city with big houses and opulent palaces. He thought that he had lost his way and mistakenly drifted back towards Dwarka. He was trying to sort out his thoughts when he saw his dutiful wife, beautifully dressed, coming out to welcome him. She was laden with ornaments from head to toe and was accompanied by a band of musicians.

Sudama understood that it was the lila of his beloved Krishna and thought out aloud: “Just as the clouds shower rain while we sleep, and depart silently, so also my dear Krishna does not allow anyone to see that it is He who gives.”

This actually the proper method for doing dana. The more secret it is kept the stronger will be its effect upon the inner self of the donor.

Sudama remained immersed in the supreme bliss he had always experienced. He remained detached all his life, and used all his possessions as if actually belonging to God. In the end as a result of his Bhakti he attained the Lord.

This article by Nitin Kumar.


References & Further Reading:

The Devotee and the Angry Saint – Study in the Inner Workings of God

This is the story of a highly fortunate king named Ambarisha. He had inherited from his father the rule of the whole world including all the seven continents and an inexhaustible amount of wealth and power. Undoubtedly these are all precious things difficult for an ordinary human being to obtain. For Ambarisha however, all of it was unreal like a dream. He understood the perishability of wealth and knew that it ultimately leads man to darkness. He could realize all this because he was a devotee of Lord Krishna and His bhaktas. For one who has attained to such devotion, the whole world and its wealth is nothing but equivalent to a piece of stone.

All activities of Ambarisha were devoted to Krishna. His mind was devoted to the lotus-feet of the Lord. His voice was always engaged in singing the glories of Krishna, his hands in cleaning and maintaining the temples of the Lord and his ears in listening to the excellent stories of Krishna.

He engaged his eyes in the darshan of the images and temples of Krishna, his sense of touch in touching the devotees of the Lord, his nose in smelling the tulsi leaves offered to Him and his tongue in tasting the the food offered to Krishna (prasad).

He engaged his legs in visiting the holy places of Krishna and his head in bowing down before the images of the Lord. In this manner had he converted his karma into a yajna, offering all his actions unto the Lord. He ruled the world according to the advice of brahmins who were also devotees of Lord Krishna.

Ambarisha, the great bhakta, under the guidance of great sages like Vasistha and Gautama, performed the ultimate worship of Lord Krishna by successfully completing the horse sacrifice known as Ashwamedha Yajna. This is a complicated sacrifice with many parts. However, Ambarisha, with the blessings of the brahmins, was able to perform it successfully. His yajna became noted for the sumptuous amount of dakshina offered to the priests. In fact, the brahmins in his yajna were so richly attired that they looked like gods themselves.

In this way the king, through his bhakti combined with austerities, propitiated Lord Krishna by following his dharma and thus was gradually able to disassociate himself from all attachments. He gained the firm conviction that one’s house, wife, children, relatives, friends, chariots, armies, wealth – all are fleeting and transient. This exceptional devotion prompted God to assign His weapon, the powerful Sudarshan Chakra, in the protection of His bhakta Ambarisha.

King Ambarisha’s wife too was similarly pious. Once, with a desire to worship Lord Krishna, the king, along with his wife, undertook to observe the fast of Ekadashi for one year, meaning that he would not eat anything on the eleventh day of each (lunar) month and break his fast only on the next (twelfth day).

When the year ended the couple fasted for three nights in the month of Kartik and after bathing in the Yamuna river performed puja of Lord Krishna at Madhuvana (modern Mathura). At the end of the puja they distributed lavish gifts on brahmins, including milk-bearing cows decorated with gold. Then, after the brahmins had partaken of a fabulous feast, the king himself decided to end his fast and took permission for the same from the brahmins. No sooner had he decided on having his food than there appeared on the scene the great saint Durvasa.

King Ambarisha rose to greet the sage and offered him a respectful seat. He then washed the saint’s feet and humbly requested him to have food. The sage gladly accepted and went to have a bath in the Yamuna first. There the saint entered samadhi while meditating on the Supreme Lord and lost track of time. Meanwhile, the auspicious hour for breaking Ambarisha’s fast was passing away. The king, conversant with the nuances of dharma, knew that eating before a guest was a fault and so was also not breaking one’s fast at the auspicious hour. He then consulted the wise brahmins who reminded him that it is mentioned in the Vedas that drinking water is equivalent to eating and also non-eating. Thus deciding, king Ambarisha, remembering Lord Krishna, had a little water and waited for the return of the sage.

After some time Durvasa came back and was respectfully greeted by Ambarisha. However, no sooner had the sage laid an eye on the king he understood that he had broken his fast before Durvasa himself had had his food. Now in Indian history Durvasa is known as ‘the angry saint’, and at that moment his anger revealed itself manifold because he was extremely hungry too. With a trembling body and frowning brows he furiously admonished the king, who stood all the time with folded hands: “Look at this cruel man! He is maddened by the pride of his wealth. Not only does he lack devotion towards the Lord but considers himself as God. Today he has crossed all limits by transgressing dharma. He had extended an invitation to a guest but instead of feeding him, has himself eaten first. Now I will punish him for his offence.”

Flared up with rage, the great sage pulled out a lock of his hair and created from it a demoness to kill Ambarisha. This fearsome ogress resembled the blazing fires which consume the world at the time of pralaya (dissolution of the world). Spitting fire she rushed towards the king with a sword in hand, the earth trembling under her feet. However, the king remained unperturbed. He did not even stir and remained where he was. The Shrimad Bhagavatm says: ‘Narayana-parah sarve na kutashchana bibhyati – Those who have surrendered to God do not have anything to fear’ (6.17.28).

The Sudarshana Chakra, already deputed in the protection of Ambarisha, immediately came to his rescue and burnt down the demoness, much like a forest fire destroys a serpent. The Chakra then started towards Durvasa himself. The latter, on seeing the failure of his efforts and the advancing Sudarshan Chakra, started fearing for his life and ran in all directions to save himself. The Chakra closely pursued him, like a forest fire following a serpent. Observing it so close behind him, he took to his heels, fleeing to different quarters, including the sky, earth, underworlds, seas and even the heavens. However, wherever he went he saw the Sudarshan Chakra close behind him.

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When he could not find escape anywhere, the terrified Durvasa decided to take refuge with Brahma Ji and applied to him saying: “O Creator of the Universe!, protect me from the Chakra of Lord Vishnu”.

Brahma Ji replied: “My own life is dependent on the great Lord. The whole world, including myself, will vanish at the mere contraction of Lord Vishnu’s brow. Me and all the other gods are subject to the commands of Lord Vishnu and live within his divine law. (Hence how can we help you?)”.

When he was thus refused protection by Brahma Ji, Durvasa, tormented as he was by the scorching heat of the Sudarshan Chakra, sought asylum with Lord Shiva at the latter’s abode on mount Kailasha. To his request the Great Shiva replied: “Durvasa Ji, we cannot prevail against the Supreme Lord who is the source of infinite jivas like Brahma and from whom are born thousands of universes like this one. The Chakra is the weapon of the Supreme Ruler of the universe. It is unbearable and irresistible even for us. You should take refuge in Lord Vishnu Himself. He will save you from your misery.”

Being thus disappointed, Durvasa then went to Vaikuntha where Lord Vishnu lives with His wife Goddess Lakshmi.

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All the while Durvasa was being scorched by the Chakra’s heat. Trembling with fear, he fell at the Lord’s feet and said: “O Lord! You are the one desired by all saintly people. O Almighty God! You are the protector of the universe. Protect me too, who am an offender. I was ignorant of your supreme power and committed an offence against your beloved devotee Ambarisha. Save me from that sin, as even a being in hell is released when he utters your divine name.”

The Lord replied: “O Brahmana! I am not at all independent, being completely under the control of my devotees. My heart has been won over by My selfless devotees and hence My heart is in their possession. I love them and they Me. I am the sole refuge of My devotees. Therefore, other than My devotees, I do not desire anybody, not even Myself or My wife Lakshmi. How can I even think of giving up those who have renounced their wives, homes, sons, relatives, wealth and have taken refuge in Me? Like a chaste wife brings her virtuous husband under control by her service, so have my devotees captured my heart with their devotion. For true devotees My bhakti is an end in itself (and not a means of gaining anything material or even transcendental). Durvasa Ji! What more can I say? My loving devotees are My heart and their heart is none other than Me. They do not know anything except Me and I too don’t know anything other than them.

“Listen O Great Sage! I will tell you a remedy for your torment. It is by offending Ambarisha that you have reached this state of distress. You should therefore go to him only. Remember, a power, when used against a devotee of God, causes harm only to the wielder of the the power while the devotee remains unscathed. There is no doubt that asceticism and learning are spiritually beneficial; but, when the same powers are mishandled through indiscipline, they produce contrary results. Hence O Brahmana! I wish you all good fortune. Go and seek forgiveness of king Ambarisha. Then alone will you gain peace.”

Thus commanded by the glorious Lord Vishnu, Durvasa Ji returned to Ambarisha’s palace and hurled himself at his feet. Ambarisha felt ashamed at Durvasa’s action and with his heart overflowing with compassion prayed aloud: “O Sudarshan Chakra! You are the glorious Agni. You are the all powerful Surya. You with a thousand spokes are extremely dear to your Lord. I pay my respects to you. You are the protector of the whole world; I request you to protect this brahmana too.

“O Divine Wheel, you have an auspicious hub. You are the splendour of the Supreme Lord and the protector of dharma. Your speed is as quick as that of one’s mind. By your splendour of dharma you destroy the darkness of adharma and protect even beings like the Sun. For the sake of our entire clan I request you to bless Durvasa Ji. This will be your grace on us. If I have ever done a charitable deed, or performed a yajna, or followed my dharma or if our family regards brahmins as gods, then may Durvasa Ji be freed of the inflammation tormenting him. If I have visualised God as the soul of all beings then may the Lord be pleased with me and Durvasa be relieved from his distress.”

No sooner had Ambarisha uttered the prayer than the Chakra subsided. Thus freed, Durvasa Ji felt relieved and praised the king bestowing on him the highest blessings: “My dear king! Today I have witnessed the glory of a true devotee of the Lord. Even though I offended you, you wished only for my welfare. For those who have tightly gripped the lotus feet of the Lord, there can never be a deficiency in their karma. Beloved Ambarisha! Your heart is full of compassion. You have done a great favor to me. Oh! You forgave my offence and saved my life.”

A long time had elapsed since all this had happened and yet King Ambarisha had not taken his food. He was waiting for Durvasa Ji to return. Now he caught hold of the saint’s feet, pleased him and fed him sumptuously. Durvasa was extremely satisfied after taking this meal and said respectfully: “O King! Now you too have your food. I am very pleased with you. I feel gratified on seeing you and talking with you. Songs celebrating your spotless character will be sung by the women of heaven. This earth too will always chant your glory.”

After Durvasa Ji had gone, king Ambarisha took the food left, made auspicious by the fact that the great sage Durvasa had partaken it. Pondering on Durvasa’s calamity and finally his release, the humble devotee Ambarisha did not give any credit to himself but felt that everything had been done by God. The great king continued in his path of devotion by dedicating all his actions, performed according to his caste (varna) and stage of life (ashrama), to the Lord. By the strength of this devotion he became detached from all material life and starting considering even heavenly delights as manifestations of hell.

In course of time, Ambarisha entrusted his kingdom to his sons who were of the same disposition as him and entered the forests. There he concentrated his mind wholly on the lotus feet of the Lord and became finally free from all material fetters.

Conclusion: Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita: “My bhakta is never destroyed” (9.31), implying that protection is given by God to the one who surrenders before Him Also, people often accuse Durvasa Ji of being tempered and unfair. But that is a mistake. Durvasa is an enlightened devotee and an incarnation of Lord Shiva. He sacrifices his own reputation in order to show the greatness of the Lord’s devotees and how they are protected by Him. People would never have come to know of Amabrisha’s patience and forbearance had Durvasa not shown anger. Nor would they have known how the Lord’s protection is always with the devotees. Sage Durvasa hence becomes a catalyst for revealing the greatness of the Lord and His devotees. A similar innocent occurs in the Mahabharata when Durvasa calls upon the Pandavas who are living in a forest. Actually, we tend to see only the outward behaviour of Durvasa. If we look a bit deeper, we will see that his heart is filled with love.

This article by Nitin Kumar.


References & Further Reading: