Question 4: Still, one thing is not understood. Deva sthrees could have simply got married to KaNNan and enjoyed Him as His spouses. They could have got their prayers fulfilled; instead, why should they be born as Gopa sthrees, leave their husbands, in-laws, children and run to KaNNan? Why should KaNNan allow this? How can this be establishment of Dharma? This act is against the manushya dharma.
Answer: Firstly there are two issues that need to be understood. The husband-wife, father-son relations are all not permanent- everyone knows. These all come due to this sareera sambandham (due to the association with this body). For this body, these relations come. They are present as long as this body exists. After that these relations vanish. In next birth different parents, children, spouse etc. Thus the relations are only temporary and are for this birth. Being a wife, husband is due to the body taken by this Jeevathma and these roles will change next birth.
But the relation between Paramathma and Jeevan is always permanent. He is Swami; We are dAsars. This is always so. It is natural for all jeevaathmas. It is no way associated with the body of jeevathma and does not change when bodies change for various births. Whatever number of births we take, this relation will never ever change. unthannOdu uRavEl namakku ingu ozhikka ozhiyaadhu, Govinda – says GodhA PiraaTTi. Hence desiring for the Lord, devoted to Him, performing service to Him are all to be sought after. They are normal for jeevathma and are perfectly in accordance with dharma, saasthrAs. This is to be actually the welcome one and should necessarily be sought after by every jeevan for redemption. To achieve that and in course of achieving the same, if there is a choice between this versus the bodily relation, one can choose the relation (eternal) with the Lord. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Kaikeyi wanted to coronate Bharathan and let him separate from the Lord Rama. But Bharatha, who wanted to serve the Lord, brushed aside even the bodily relation of Kaikeyi as his mother as she was the stumbling block for that service. He hated her for such thoughts and preventing him from performing kaimkaryam for Rama. For us, the Bhagavad, BhAgawatha anubhavam alone is prime and important. It is in line with our nature. If the relations are in line with this want of ours and they work towards, support the same for us, then they can be with us; if they work against this and do not support our Bhagavad BhAgawatha anubhavam, they can be brushed aside like Bharathan. Nothing wrong. The cowherd women did that. It is no way termed as incorrect; in fact, it is most appropriate for jeevaathma by its nature.
This is very clear in Srimad Bhagawatham. When KaNNan sees them devotedly running towards Him leaving the elders, husbands, children, and others- and asks: “what do you want me to do for You all? Go back quickly and serve your husbands. Do not leave the dharma meant for women and ladies, wives and mothers? This not correct. Do not come here. If you want, you do keerthanam, sing my name, utter my name and think of me from your homes. Go home. ”
Gopikas could not control their tears. Their throats choked. Their eyes welled. Their hearts broken. Their words did not come out of their mouths, tongues refused to co-operate due to the emotions and sorrows. Mouths quivered. Our KaNNan- our Lord- KaNNan- is he saying this? Our only Master, Swami- to Him we belong to- does He ask us not to come to Him any more and ask us to go back? They started appealing to Him.
swaDharma ithi DharmavidhA tvayOktham |
asthvEvamEthadhupadESapadham tvayeeSE preeShtO
bhavAmsthanumruthAm kila bandhurAthmA ||
kurvanthi hitvayi rathim kuSalA: sva Athman
nithyapriyE pathisuthAdhibhiraarthidhai: kim |
thanna: praseedha paramEswara maasma ChinDhyA ASAm
bruthAm tvayi ChirAth aravindha nEthra ||
Husband, children- serve them- You are advising us. Let that be there. You are the permanent relation for all jeevans. You are darling bandhu too for us. You are the AtmA for us as well. Due to our puNya, paapams, the karma phalam, there is only dukkham (sorrows) due to these relations and association with them. What is the use of that? You are Priyaml darling for us. The buddhimaans (intellect) realizing this eternal relationship with You and Your darling form, ParamAthmic nature, would get eternal enjoyment from You only. ParamEswaraa! PankajaakshA! Lotus eyed lord- most merciful One! Please bless us, do not break the love that we have for You from time immemorial and for long time.
This is what is Parama hitham for Jeevathma. Most pleasing to the Lord as well. One should have longing for Bhagavad vishayam,. Interest and longing for other matters- one should attempt to get rid of. For that one should always contemplate on : God alone is eternal relation for us. All others are only temporary. Due to karma, these relations exist. Thes sukhams, dhukkhams are due to Karma. This is what is insctruced bt Sage Yaagnyavalkya to MaithrEyi and is in BrahadhAraNyaka Upanishad.
Gopikas realized this from their experience; and enjoyed His relationship with them. KaNNan also [as is His nature as the most merciful Lord who runs to devotees to be with them] blessed them with such experience. This greatest ultimate of all saasthrAs is established to us in this Gopika charithram. KaNNan also, in order to establish this wonderful Bhaagawatha saasthra dharmam, made this act as His leelA; and blessed them especially. He wanted His avathAram to glorify this jeevathmA’s longing for association and relationship with Him for ever and desire for enjoyment of His swaroopa, roopa sowndharyam. That was one of His yet another special [visEsha] Dharma sthApanam. Thus, it lays down the path for the highest Vaishnava, prapannan quality and way of life and establishes the most wonderful way of VaidIka life. Gopikas are the highest form of devotees and prapannans the world has ever seen. This is the greatest of Upanishad DharmA, the pinnacle of saasthrAs. The jeevathmAs’ nithya niroopAhika ananhaarya sEshathvam is well established in Gopika Charithram.
The Paramabhakthi [intense devotion] of Gopa sthrees! What a great devotion! What a mind set of Them ! what a manO bhAvam! All deeds completely in accordance with saaathrAs- [not disliked or hated by even their spouses!] These marvelous dhiva chShtithams of KaNNan as leelAs should always be contemplated, enjoyed and read, listened to by us; if one does that, the desire for lowkika kaamam would vanish; the desire for sensual pleasures would disappear slowly and KaNNanukkE Avathu kaamam (desire for KaNNan alone) would linger and grow in us. Swamy desikan says: This charithram on Gopikas is the best medicine for the diseases [like Kaama, krodham] in our minds. This is the one praised and prayed by Rishis and Saints.
raagAdhirOga prathikAra bhUtham rasAyanam sarvadhaSAnu bhAvyam |
AsIdhanuDhyEyathamam muneenaam dhivyasya pumsO dhayithOpavhOga: || [4. 101]
Srimad BhAgawatham also mentions bhakthi parAm prathilabhya kAmam hadhrOgam ASvapahinOthi aChirENa DhIra: – based on which swamy Desikan composed the above sloka. Here, the sains follow this charithram and and declare and enjoy as the Grandest One- says Swamy. He refers to Sri NammAzhwAr “kuravai aacchiyarOdu kOttathum” and then “en appan than maayangaLE ninaikkum nenjudaiyEn. [i am blessed with the mind that contemplates only on my Father’s leelAs and dhivya chEsthithams].
Thus we enjoyed the Gopika charithams. We need to touch upon one of last slokas of Yadhavaabhyudhayam before completing this series for completion’s sake. That tells us how one should enjoy the KrishnAvathAram.
nAreeshtaChhA miyamithadhiyO nAkanAThESwarathvam
samyOgE Cha pravaNamanasa: SASvatham brahmacharyam |
athraikasyAm purinivasatha: sarva lOkADhikathvam niDhyAyantha:
swarithamatharan dhustharAm thasya leelAm ||
The subjects discussed here are:
1. Bhagawaan Sri KaNNan is Devaadhi Devan- He was always at the beck and call of Gopika girls. Once when one girl complained to Him that her legs are paining and can not keep walking. He lifted her and carried her on His shoulders. Thus he listens to his devotees and allows himself to be at their service. But we should not be misled to believe that He is not the Lord. He listens to these young girls of Gopas and the young Gopa boy friends. Though he does that, He is the lord of all Devas, Devaadhi Devan. Devendra, Brahma, et al came and prayed to Him and praised Him.
We are bounded to someone due to our karma and its association on us. It is mandate on us. There is no esacpe and it is due to our karma bandham. For SarvEshwaran, it is not the case. He is bound down and tied down to devotee’s pleas and requests due to his own sankalpam. “kaTTuNNa paNNiya peru maayan- paNNiya is important. All this is due to His mercy and anugraham on the devotees and that’s why comes Sri KrishNAvathArams says Srimad Bhagawatham. anugrahA bhakthAnAm maanusham dhEhamAsThitha: Thus listening and heedimng to the request of His devotees, He thus becomes easily accessible and sowlabhyan. That is His Greatness. That is the greatness of Sri KrishnaavathAram.
KaNNan alone is SarvEshwaran. He alone due to His sowlabhyam blesses the devotees should be fully and properly understood – this is what is contemplated by KaNNanallaal Deivam illai; [There is no God other than KaNNan]. Can there be any one equal to Him with such Parathvam and still exhibit such greatest sowseelya, sowlabhyathvam!
2. KaNNan- who was involved in his affair with sthrees- is eternal Brahmachaari! -
KaNNan had 16000 women as his spouses and was conducting his family with each one of them individually – as seen and enjoyed by Sage Narada. He also had enjoyed being united with Gopa sthrees. In spite of all these, KaNNan is declared as the eternal ever Nithya Brahmachari. When Pareekshith was born from utthara’s womb, it feels as a charcoal [due to AsvatthAmA’s asthira’s power]. The only lineage – heir from Paandava vamsa was Pareekshith and hence they were grief struck looking at the lifeless char coal child. It was told by one of the elders that if pure Bramachari’s foot touches the child, it would be alive; become normal and active- said KaNNan. But none dared come near as they felt scared that their true nature would be revealed. [sri Ramanuja defines the term Brahmacharyam in GitA BhAshyam as: “not having even a thought at any time that women are the objects of enjoyment”. What a great and wonderful definition!]
Thus, since none came forward, Bhagawaan KaNNan himself come forward: If I am the true purest Brahmachari and if I am SarvEshwaran, let the child come back alive and become normal. ” He touched the baby’s body in full with His divine Lotus Feet. Immediately the baby became fair complexioned and was full of life, alive and crying. In front of everyone, this had happened. This is mentioned by Swamy Desikan:
vimOhanE vallabagEhineenAm na brahmacharyam bibhidhE thadhIyam |
sampathyasthE bAlakajeevanam thath sathyEna yEnaiva sathAm samaksham ||
Thus KaNNan is the purest Brahmachari is Sathyam. It was also true that He had played and enjoyed with cowherd women; 16000 spouses; How could that both be possible. Answer is: Only Bhagawaan can make that happen. We should never ever equate Him with us. Sage Narada once – came into Krishna’s palace saw KaNNan welcoming him and asking his wife to bring waters for argyam, pAdyam etc. and honoured the sage; in the next house he went into and saw KaNNan eating with his wife serving him; third house he saw Him doing ThiruvArAdhanam; fourth house, he was playing dhAyam with his wife; The wonderstruck Narada came out and after some time, all KaNNans came out to become one to board the chariot and reach the palace. He realized the Lord’s Iswarathvam and sang in praise of Him. The Lord too replied to the Sage: oh Brahma rishI! I am the one instructing DharmA. I am also following the same in strict sense. I have come here to protect dharma and establish the same. Do not worry.” He conducted his grahAsthama dharmam with His 16000 spouses; with no grievance from any one.
KaNNan Himself says in GitA: DharmAvirudDhO bhUthEshu kAmOsmi-.
Swamy Desikan also says:
AvidhitharaChanEna swEna pArThAya gItha:
Swayamajani kaama: kO(S)pi DharmAvirudDha:
It is possible only for Bhagawaan. The ultimate GrahasthAsramam and the love, desire’s extent therein was well established here and to establish that dharma, this leelA of KaNNan was played. By the GopikA charithram, the greatest Upanishad Dharmam was established and shown to us…
The Lord’s ThirumEni (Body) is completely Suddha sathvam, aprAkrutham- unaffected by matter (that we see and have). Hence, His natural Brahmacharyam can never change. It is also told that with His mere sankalpa (will), He gave the sambOga sukham to Gopikas. Sage Suka says the same in: avarudDha sairEtha: his brahmacharyam thus never changed or was affected. KaNNan only blessed them with His grace and anugraham and granted what they desired for. He never desired the same for. He did not consider them as objects of enjoyment and hence in Ramanuja’s definition he was full Brahmachari and Nithya Brahmachari.
3. The One who resided in the corner of Dwaraka is the Lord of entire worlds. When Jarasandham came to fight in the battle field, KaNNan [in order to protect the people from destruction from the battle] built a city in the centre of an ocean and stayed there with His people. Jaraasandhan and others mistakenly thought that He felt scared and hence ran away. They laughed at His running away with fear. But as a matter of fact, they were completely shivering with fear.
It is completely wrong to belittle KaNNan as the one staying in a corner of Dwaraka city. He is the Lord of all. He is Devas’ Devan. He is the One who grants to these Devas what they grant to their devotees. As a matter of gratitude, they gave little of what He had given them, when he built this Dwaraka city. KubEra gave away some wealth. Varunan gave Him some horses. Devendra gave the paarijatha tree etc. They grabbed the opportunity to show their gratefulness.
One should enjoy KrishNAvathAram thus and contemplate on His glorious deeds and leelAs. Then only can one get rid of the maayaa (samsaaric affliction). If one learns in half baked manner about His dhivya chEshthithams, then we will end up arguing with kutharkam and never ever be able to cross the ocean of samsara. Thus with Gopika charitham, the highest Upanishad saasthrA and VaidIka dharmam is established.
We should place our heart and mind at the lotus Feet of KaNNan and Swamy desikan thus established the same in Yadavabhyudhayam.
Anything found good in these posts is only due to the wonderful original article written by Sri U Ve Dr Vasudevachar Swami from Swamy Desikan’s excellent analysis. Mistakes, errors, omissions are entirely mine.
Written by Shri Madhavakkannan