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Vraja Vilasa: Sannanda, keeper of the water buffalo

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May Sannanda, keeper of the she-buffalo, who has a golden complexion, whose mind is filled with tenderness, who is very generous and kind, whose face is beautified with a black moustache, who is deeply devoted to Sri Nanda Maharaj, who worships Mādhava with his very life and greatly delights him by treating him on buffalo yogurt, and who is Sri Nanda’s younger brother and Sunandā’s father, protect us.


gauraḥ komala-dhīr udāra-caritaḥ snigdho vrajendrānujaḥ
śyāma-śmaśrur alaṁ tadīya-caraṇe bhaktaḥ sunandā-pitā
yaḥ prāṇaiḥ parimañchya mādhava-sukhaṁ dadhnā mahiṣyāḥ paraṁ
sannandas tanute sa pātu nitarāṁ naḥ kāsarīṇāṁ patiḥ

Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā: Vraja Dham is enriched by different companions of the Lord who all have different feelings and attitudes, and these eternal companions each relish Sri Krishna’s sweetness according to their own feelings, which emanate from their self-perfect prema-rasa. nija bhāve kore kṛṣṇa rasa āsvādane (Caitanya-caritāmṛta). Even Sri Krishna, who is the object of their love, forgets about his own prowess and fullness and considers himself blessed if he can relish their individual spontaneous sweet love. This is the specialty of Vraja prema.

Wherever is a full maturity of sweetness, there is also the greatest blossoming of rasa. This truth can be directly experienced when we discuss the pastimes of Vraja. The more the heart of an practising devotee gets purified by the vraja-bhāva upāsanā, the more his heart ascends the staircase of love, and the more he becomes blessed with the experience of pure sweetness. The best way of practising this vraja-bhāva upāsanā is through hearing, chanting and remembering of the sweet feelings of Krishna’s companions in Vraja.

In this verse Das Goswami praises the younger brother of Vraja’s king Sri Nanda Maharaj and the father of Sunandā, Sannanda.

sunandāpara paryāya sannanda kunda pāṇḍaraḥ;
śyāma-celaḥ sita dvitri keśo’yaṁ keśava-priyaḥ

Another name of Sannanda is Sunanda. His complexion is fair, he wears black and white clothes, two or three of his hairs are white, and he is very dear to Keshava. (

He keeps buffalo because he believes that Sri Krishna’s body will be nourished by their milk, therefore he is the Mahiṣapati, buffalo-keeper. He loves all things only if they bring happiness to Krishna. He worships Sri Krishna through his buffalo-yogurt. This worship is a great event of love, in which all mishap and inauspiciousness of the beloved are wiped out.

Those who are beloved are worshiped with ingredients that are auspicious and are very dear to them. Buffalo yogurt is very dear to Krishna and is naturally a very auspicious product, hence he is worshiped with it.

Das Goswami says:

yaḥ prāṇaiḥ parimañchya mādhava-sukhaṁ dadhnā mahiṣyāḥ paraṁ

He expands Mādhava’s happiness by worshiping him with his very life and with buffalo yogurt.

When seeing his worship one thinks he is not doing it with yogurt, but with his very life-airs! That is why Mādhava, who is dedicated to relishing the love of his devotees, finds so much happiness in it.

Although Mādhava generally means the husband of the goddess of fortune, or master of all wealth, Krishna only hankers for the purely sweet love of the people of Vraja. When Sri Krishna killed Putana, Aghasur and Bakasur, lifted Govardhana hill, subdued the Kaliya serpent, swallowed the forest fire and danced the Rāsa, he showed such vast prowess that no one can conceive of it, but even all that prowess is drowned in the bottomless and fathomless ocean of loving sweetness in Vraja and simply serves to nourish that sweetness. This endless sweetness is established on the foundation of that endless prowess, and its glory attracts all people. But it is only because of its proximity to the pure, sweet love of the Vrajavasis. That is why Lord Brahma, Uddhava and others were astonished when they saw this extraordinary sweet love of the Vrajavasis and prayed for birth in Vraja even if as a blade of grass or shrub, so that they could be showered by the dust of their feet.

In this verse the tender feelings, generous activities and gentleness of Sannanda are mentioned – all these great glories arise automatically as a result of rendering loving devotional service, this is proclaimed everywhere.

yasyāsti bhaktir bhagavaty akiñcanā sarvair guṇais tatra samāsata surāḥ

All the demigods and their godly qualities eternally reside in anyone who has unswerving devotion to the Lord. (Bhāgavata 5.18.12)

Das Goswami prays:

gaura varṇa sukomala, udāra carita;
nandera kaniṣṭha bhrātā ati sneharīta
śyāma varṇa śmaśru-bhare śrī-mukha sundara;
nanda prati bhakti yāra ati gāḍhatara
sunandāra pitā boli vrajavāsī jāne;
prāṇa paṇe dadhi diyā kore kṛṣṇa nīrājane
mahiṣī rakṣaka se sannanda nāma yāra;
rakṣa korun more ei minati āmāra

“May the buffalo-keeper named Sannanda, who has a golden complexion, who is very tender-hearted and

generous, who is Nanda’s very affectionate younger brother, whose face is beautified by a black moustache, who has very deep devotion to Nanda, who is known by the Vrajavasis as Sunandā’s father, and who worships Krishna with buffalo yogurt and his very life, protect me. This is my prayer.”

The post Vraja Vilasa: Sannanda, keeper of the water buffalo appeared first on Vrindavan Today.


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