Lord of Guruvayoor from Narayaneeyam -9
be a Magnum Opus of Meppathur Narayanabhattathiri, is a masterly summary of Srimad Bhagavatam in 1034 sanskrit slokas of
great poetic merit. The whole work is
divided into 100 dasakas of mostly ten slokas each. It was completed in 100 days at the end
of which Bhattathiri, who was suffering from chronic rheumatic disease, was
completely cured and also had a beatific vision of the Lord of Guruvayoor as Venugopala
. In the last sloka of each dasaka Bhattathiri cries out his heart, praying to the Lord to end his afflictions
and restore his health. .
prosaic translation in English. A brief
note on the contents of each dasaka is also given, where possible, to
put the slokas in context.
He stayed with the Pandavas at Hastinapura for sometime for their happiness. He then established the city of Indraprastha and came
back to Dwaraka. Arjuna, in the guise of
a sanyasi, abducted and
married Krishna’s sister Subhadra whose
hand had been promised to Duryodhana by Balaram. Arjuna had the tacit consent of Krishna who
somehow pacified an enraged Balaram. Krishna then went to Indrapastha along
with Arjuna, Subhadra and Balaram to show his affection for Arjuna and the other
Pandavas. While at Indraprastha Krishna met Kalindi on the banks of Yamuna and
married her. He helped Arjuna to burn the Khandava Forest to propitiate
Agni. Krishna also married Mitravinda
who was deeply in love with him but was afraid of her brothers. Satya, daughter of Nagnajit, was won by Krishna after tethering seven
powerful bulls simultaneously, taking seven different bodies. Krishna also
married Bhadra whose hand was offered by her brothers. Riding on Garuda with
Satyabhama seated on his lap and breaking the forts Krishna massacred Mura’s
army making Pragjyotishapuram a city with blood flowing. Five-headed Mura rose
up from the waters of the sea threatening Krishna who cut off his head by his ckakra. Narakasura who came with sixty five
four-tusked elephants also met the same fate as Mura. Praised by Bhumi, Krishna crowned Bhagadatta,
son of Narakasura, as the king. Narakasura
had kept in captivity sixteen thousand young women who loved Krishna and had
taken refuge in him. They were released from captivity by Krishna and sent to Dwaraka. The
four-tusked elephants were also sent to Dwarka except the one gifted to
Bhagadatta. Krishna then went to swargaloka with Satyabhama to give Aditi her ear globes
snatched by Naraksura. They were welcomed and honoured by Indra. Satyabhama was
the envy of celestial damsels whom the former excelled in beauty.. Krishna forcibly
took with him the Kalpavriksha from heaven after subduing an angered
Indra. Bhattathiri concludes this dasaka with the following sloka:
Satyabhama’s residence. You married the sixteen thousand young women rescued
from the captivity of Narakasura, put them in separate houses, kept them in
good humour by your playful activities and, taking as many forms, you surprised Narada by being with each of one
of those wives in their respective houses, engaged in various mundane
activities. You also fathered in each of them ten sons each. O Lord! save me
(from my ailments)
was abducted by Shambara. Pradyumna killed Shambara and, along with Rati, returned to
Dwaraka and abducted the daughter of
Rukmi. Aniruddha, Pradyumna’s son of
excellent qualities, married the grand daughter of Rukmi. Krishna attended this
wedding where Balarama killed Rukmi because of a quarrel in the game of dice.
Bana, son of Mahabali and a devotee of Lord Siva had one thousand hands. His daughter Usha had, in a dream, intimate
relations with Aniruddha whom she had never seen before. She fell madly in love with him and pined for
him. Her maid Chitralekha drew pictures of eligible young men for her.
Usha recognised Arniruddha in one of the pictures. Chitralekha brought Aniruddha to Usha by her
yogic powers and the couple spent time together in secret. Bana got wind of
this and imprisoned Aniruddha. This news
was brought to Krishna by Narada.
Krishna attacked Shonitapuram, capital city of Bana, with the Yadava
army. Shiva, guarding the fort, fought
back with his bhuthaganas. Bana
engaged Satyaki in battle. Kumara, Siva’s son, fought Pradyumna and Krishna
himself took on Siva. Krishna countered all of Siva’s astras until Siva
fell into a swoon by the mohanastra sent by Krishna. Shiva’s bhuthaganas fled in fear. Bana fought valiantly with five hundred bows
but all the bows were broken and his hands were being cut one after another. Shiva
jwara was overcome by Vishnu jwara. All of a sudden Siva regained
consciousness, sang praises of Krishna and requested Krishna
to leave Bana, whose sins had been purged, with two hands on each side. Krishna
relented and, honoured by Bana, returned
to Dwaraka with Aniruddha and Usha who were joined in wedlock. Bhattathiri
lizard and was trapped in a well. O Lord
of Guruvayoor! You took him out of the well and despatched him to heaven advising your own people about the importance of
showing reverence to brahmanas. Please
save me (from my ailments)
was an incarnation of Narayana himself. He carried, on his body, the distinguishing marks of Mahavishnu like srivatsa
(created by a red hot iron or some other metal), a huge discus made of
iron, kaustubha represented by a precious stone, ear globes (kundalas)
and yellow silk garments. He sent a messenger
to Krishna with the message that he (Paundraka) was the real incarnation of
Mahavishnu and Krishna should give up all those distinguishing marks of Vishnu
and surrender himself to Paundraka. After the messenger left Krishna came to
Paudraka with the Yadava army when Paundraka flung his discus at Krishna who
cut off Paundraka’s head with his Sudarsana chakra and destroyed his
army. Paundraka, though he challenged Krishna, had mentally identified himself
with Mahavishnu. Killed by Krishna he merged in Krishna attaining Sayuja
Mukti. Sudakshina, son of the King
of Kasi, created Kritya, a fiery
malevolent entity by abhichara (black magic), to kill Krishna who
flung his Sudarshana chakra at it. The
chakra chased the terrible Kritya which, crying hoarse and enraged, went back and burnt Sudakshina himself. The
city of Kashi was also destroyed by Krishna’s chakra. Bhattathiri concludes this dasaka with the following
son of Krishna by Jambavati, abbducted
Lakshana, daughter of Duryodhana but was caught and incarcerated by the
Kauravas. Balarama went to the Kauravas
to mollify them but enraged by their words threatened destruction of
Hastinapura. However, Samba was released
and Balarama left the matter at that thinking that it was for the Pandavas to kill the Kaurawas. O Lord of
Guruvayur! who can understand your
leelas? I take refuge in you for the removal from my afflictions.
for the defence of Dwaraka, left for Samanthapanchaka, a place well known for a
holy dip during the solar eclipse, along with yadavas and their
womenfolk.. Krishna, for the welfare of
all, himself took a holy dip, gave cash as dakshina to brahmins and mingled
with Pandavas, Kauravas and other friends. Hearing from the wives of Krishna
the manner in which Krishna had married them,
Draupadi was very pleased as also the other women in the group. Then
Krishna, seeing the gopas went to them and eagerly met with the gopis whose
bodies had become wafer thin as they were pining in separation from Krishna.
The sight of Krishna was a virtual carnival for the gopis whose heart had been
stolen by Krishna who found again the joy of nestling in their familiar
bosoms. Embracing Radha, Krishna
consoled her saying that so much delay
was caused because of the fights with enemies.
Radha, deeply in love, lost herself in Krishna who imparted to the
gopis, who had by this time overcome the pangs of separation, the knowledge
that He was the Sachidanandaswarupa Atman in all beings.
Gopis realised the truth of this in their lives and experienced the
bliss of Krishna Consciousness. The Rishis made Vasudeva perform a Yaga, for
the removal of all difficulties and for the benefit of all. The yaga lasted for
three months during which period the gopis enjoyed the company of Krishna. Bhattathiri concludes this dasaka with the following
Radha and firmly embraced her. Seeing
her free from sorrow, your heart was filled with joy and you then left for Dwaraka. O Lord of
Guruvayoor! save me from my afflictions.
king of Magadha, had kept in captivity twenty thousand and eight hundred
kings and was toturing them. Without
anyone to turn to for help, they sent a messenger to Krishna begging him to put
an end to Jaransandha. When Krishna was
preparing to attack Jarasandha with his army, Narada came and informed him of
YudhiShthira’s preparations for a Rajasuya Yaga. Making
up his mind that both these events could be accomplished simultaneously,
Krishna proceeded to Indraprastha, the capital city of Yudhishthira. The reason was that before starting the
Rajasuya Yaga Jarasandha had to be defeated any way. YudhiShthira
was happy when Krisha came with his wives.
Yudhishthira had scored victory over all the other kings except
Jarasandha. He therefore entrusted this job to Krishna, Bhima and Arjuna. The three of them went to Jarasandha in the
guise of brahmins and asked for a duel from him with any one of
the three. Jarasandha, who respected
brahmins, readily agreed and chose Bhima as the opponent. It was a terrible duel and Bhima was finding
it difficult to cope. Then Krishna by signs told Bhima that he should
vertically cleave into two parts Jarasandha’s body in order to kill him. Bhima did accordingly and sent Jarasandha to
the abode of Yama. Krishna released all
those kings kept in captivity by Jarasandha and asked them to go back to their
respective kingdoms and look after their subjects.
by washing the feet of brahmins etc. Fortunate indeed was Yudhishthira. The
question arose who should be honoured by agrapuja in Rajasuya. Sahadeva suggested Krishna’s name and this
was accepted by all except Sisupala who opposed it denigrating Krishna.
Pandavas took up cudgels against him but Krishna checked them and himself cut
off Sisupala’s head with his chakra.
Sisupala merged with Krishna as he was continuously thinking of Krishna
only for three births albeit as an enemy.
‘victory to Yudhishthira’ and ‘victory to Krishna’. However, Duryodhana was green wth envy seeing
the prosperity and success of the Pandavas.
He was confounded in the hall constructed by Maya for Yudhishthira. Areas with water appeared to him as dry land
whereas dry areas appeared as full of water. The result was funny. He appeared
to wade through water, careful not to wet his clothes, while walking on dry area.
On the other hand he walked freely on areas with water as if it were dry land. It was real funny.
generated uncontrollable laughter in Draupadi and Bhima which Krishna
encouraged on the sly by his sidelong glances. This way Krishna sowed the seed
for the great war of Mahabharata, happy
that the purpose of his incarnation, that of reducing the burden of the wicked
on Mother Earth, was soon to be accomplished. O Janardana! Lord of Guruvayoor!
save me from my illness.
during the marriage of Rimini obtained a viand (air plane) from Lord Shiva and attacked
Wanaka when Krishna was in the country of Korus. Pradyumna fought him with the
Yadu army and killed his valiant minister Dyumna. The battle lasted for 27 days. By this time Krishna
reached Dwaraka along with Balarama and attacked Salva whose army had been
decimated. Salva broke the bow sharnga of Krishna and killed before his
very eyes the illusory body of Vasudeva created by his magical powers. Some say Krishna for a second thought it was
real but Vyasa does not agree with this view. Saubha was pulverised by the mace
of Krishna and cast into the sea and Salva also fell with his neck cut off by
the chakra of Krishna. Dantavaktra attacked Krishna with his mace; Krishna killed with his mace Kaumodaki. Like Sisupala he also merged with Krishna
whose incarnation was for the liberation of those who always had the Lord in
their hearts. YudhiShthira lost Draupadi
in a game of dice between him and Duryodhana’s uncle Sakuni, master of
deception in the game. Draupadi was
dragged into the sabha (assembly) and Dussasana pulled at her robes. She frantically clutched her robes but it was
of no avail. Helpless, she cried out her
heart in anguish to Krishna to save her honour. Krishna heard her call and while Dussasana
kept pulling at the robes of Draupadi, unending lengths of clothing unwound
from Draupadi’s body. Exhausted
Dussasana gave up the effort. Thus did Krishna save Draupadi’s honour.
Pandavas in the forest, Durvasa arrived as a guest after Draupadi had partaken
of the food from the Akshayapatra, after which the Akshayapatra
automatically becomes empty. Draupadi was afraid of the anger of Durvasa.
Krishna came to her rescue and ate the remnants from the Akshayapatra.
eaten a sumptuous meal. Thus was
Draupadi saved from her predicament.
opted for Krishna alone on his side while Duryodhana chose to have whole of the
army of Krishna. Arjuna sent Krishna as
emissary of the Pandavas to Hastinapura where Krishna spoke, on behalf of the
Pandavas. While Bhishma, Drona and others
accepted the proposals of Krishna, Duryodhana was adamant and refused to yield
even as much land as could accommodate the tip of a needle. Krishna then revealed his cosmic form which
terrified the city of Hastinapura.
ready to fight in the opposite camp, was overcome by the feeling of pity at
that thought that he was out to kill them. Krishna told him that there was no
death for the atman which is
eternal, only the body dies. None can kill and none can be killed. Forget the
fear of killing and and, with your mind fixed in me, engage in this righteous
war for dharma which is the duty of a kshatriya. Krishna reveals to Arjuna his cosmic form and
restored him to his normal state, ready to do Krishna’s bid.
killing tens of thousands of kings daily and even Arjuna was tired of fighting. Then, Krishna, hreaking his promise of not
taking up weapons in this war, jumped from the chariot and ran towards Bhishma
with his sudarshana chakra, as if in a rage, but Bhishma
(who had vowed that he would make Krishna take up arms in the war)
simply saluted Krishna, with palms of his hands held together at his heart and
his bent in reverence.
his breast the Vishnavastra aimed at Arjuna by Bhagadutta. Arjuna had vowed to
kill Jayadratha by sunset and the latter went into hiding awaiting sunset. Krishna, by the brilliance of his chakra, hid
the rays of the sun. Thinking the sun had set Jayadratha appeared on the scene
and Arjuna killed him fulfilling his vow.
Krishna made the earth sink a few inches allowing the nagastra only to knocked off the crown on the
head of Arjuna.
Arjuna, on the advise of Krishna, defused the Brahmastra of Ashwathama
but still it still entered the womb of Uttara, wife of Abhimanyu. Krishna,
taking a miniscule form, entered the womb and with his chakra and
protected the child in the womb.
awaiting Uttarayana, when the Sun turns North. Requested by
Yudhishthira, he told the former all that was to be known about dharma.
When the Sun turned North he gave up his mortal body and merged in Brahman, all
the time seeing before his very eyes the Your captivating form. You made Yudhishthira perform three more
ashwamedha yagas which made the latter happy and fulfilled. O Lord of Grurvayoor! free me from my
Krishna at the gurukula of Sandeepani. He was greatly devoted to Krishna
and had no desire for material things.
He led the life of a householder, at peace with himself and the world. His wife, though equally good at heart, had
not as much self control. She once asked
her husband why he should not approach Krishna, consort of Lakshmi and a boyhood
friend of his for wherewithal of a reasonable living. Thus requested by his wife who was famished
with hunger, though detesting wealth
which makes one conceited and vain, Kuchela set out on his journey to Dwaraka
prompted by a strong desire to see Krishna.
He carried with him a fistful of flattened rice given by his wife tied
in a piece of cloth as a humble offering to his friend. He reached the wondrous city of Dwaraka and
entered the house of Rukmini, consort of
Krishna, and felt as if he had come to VaikunTha, the abode of
Mahavishnu. He was overwhelmed by the
loving care, affection and honour with which he was received by Krishna. Taking Kuchela’s hands in his, Krishna recalled their stay at Sandeepani’s gurukula
and how once they were caught in the
rain and storm while gathering firewood in the forest and how they spent the whole night there in the
forest exposed to biting cold winds and how Sandeepani had himself come in the
morning searching for them. Kuchela felt shy of giving such an insignificant
thing as a fistful of flattened rice to Krishna but Krishna himself snatched it
from him and put a handful of flattened rice into his mouth and greatly enjoyed
it. Krishna was about to have another helping of the flattened rice but Rukmini
held his hand saying that one handful was enough to make Kuchela more than a
millionaire. Next morning Kuchela took leave of Krishna without asking for
anything. On the way Kuchela was telling
himself that Krishna would have surely given him money if he had asked for it.
Now what was he going to tell his wife? He was immersed in thoughts of Krishna,
what he had talked, his smile, his sweet words, the hospitality extended by him
and so on. Then he came upon a beautiful
house with spacious halls with walls studded with precious stones. He thought
he had lost his way. When he entered the house he saw his wife decked in fine
clothes, wearing ornaments of gold and precious stones, surrounded by well-dressed maids. Kuchela
realized that this was a bounty from Krishna for a fistful of flattened rice
offered with love and devotion.
studded with precious stones, Kuchela was supremely detached and full of loving
devotion to You and he attained immortality merging in you. O Lord of Guruvayoor who fulfils the wishes
of your devotees! free me from my afflictions.
bringing back Sandeepani’s son who was dead, expressed a desire to see her six
sons who were killed by Kamsa. Krishna went to Sutala where Mahabali entrusted
them to Krishna. They were originally sons of Mareechi who, by the curse of
Brahma, were born sons of Hiranya Kashipu and in their next birth they were
born as sons of Vasudeva by Devaki and were killed by Kamsa. Devaki was happy to see them who were then
returned to Mahabali.
same time, Sruthadeva, a devoted brahmin, and Bahulashwa, a king also devoted to
Krishna. Shrutadeva offered him cooked
food and fruits obtained by him by bhiksha and Bahulashwa treated him with rich royal
food. Both were accepted with equal
satisfaction by Krishna who blessed both of them.
the death of his sons, eight of them one after the other. Krishna, for some reason, brushed it aside
saying it was all fate. There was some talk about this among the people. When
Arjuna was in Dwaraka the ninth son also died and hearing the anguished cries
of the brahmin, Arjuna vowed that he would immolate himself in fire if he did
not get the next son of the brahmin alive. Arjuna, without taking Krishna into
confidence, fortified the house of the brahmin with his arrows so that none can
enter the house. Still the ninth son also was lost. Arjuna, by his yogic powers, went to the world of Yama, swarga and other
child. Arjuna proceeded to immolate
himself in fire but Krishna prevented him.
He took Arjuna in his chariot to Vaikuntha, where they saw Mahavishnu,
clothed in yellow silks, dark as the newly formed cloud, reclining on Adishesha
with Lakshmi attending on him. Mahavishnu told them that he had taken away the
children in order to see them who were his own manifestations in different
bodies. The sons of the brahmin were restored to him by Krishna who had enacted
this drama only to make Arjuna realise that he (Krishna) was pure sattwic
manifestation of the sachidananda Brahman, one without a second
exploits and leelas, took the
Vrishni clan to greater heights
women with his playful activities. His incarnation, on the pretext of
unburdening the Earth of the wicked, was really for the liberation of all those
who were devoted to him.
manifested in all its resplendence, with its plenary powers, in the captivating
of Krishna. Narada, who revelled in the joy of Krishna’s remembrance, stayed in
Dwaraka those days. He imparted to
Vasudeva the knowledge of the unity of the Atman and the Paramatman,
Brahman. Uddhava, the foremost among
Krishna’s devotees got this knowledge from Krishna himself.
yours as Krishna scores over other incarnations. Only in this incarnation people got rid of
their afflictions and were liberated by such effortless means as deep
friendship, fear, affection, enmity, love, devotion and such other emotions directed
towards you. O Lord of such greatness! May
you allay the miseries of the whole world and ripen the devotion in the hearts
devotee without first ensuring that he has gained control over his mind and
senses. Otherwise, the acquisition of wealth will result in his becoming vain,
conceited and arrogant. Once the devotee
has achieved control of the mind and senses, the Lord is quick to fulfil his
wishes and there is no question of the devotee slipping from this state.
quickly propitiated and quickly angered. They are propitiated by some according
to their innate nature. Such people are
short-sighted because of which they slip or deviate from their position, Vritrasura is an example of such people. Once he asked Narada who could be easily
propitiated, pleased. Narada suggested
that he (Vritrasura) propitiate Siva not Vishnu who does not have a friendly
disposition to the bad. Vritra did
terrible penance and, after seven days, angered that Siva did not appear before
him, he prepared himself to cut off his head.
Siva appeared before him and Vritra asked of him a silly boon that any
one on whose head he (Vritra) placed his hand should drop dead instantly. Vritrasura wanted to test the boon by placing
his hand on Siva’s head. Siva ran in
panic, frequently looking behind, with
Vritra in hot pursuit. Vishnu saw shiva being pursued by the asura and, taking
the form of a Vatu, accosted Vritra saying “Why are you, O Vritra, deluded by
the words of this ghost, Siva. If you
have doubt in my words, try placing your hand on your own head”. Cajoled by vishnu thus, Vritra placed his
hand on his own head and instantly dropped dead.
Saraswati to find out who is the sattwic one among the Trimurtis (the Trinity
of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva). Brahma
could not tolerate the indifference and want of respect from Bhrigu, his son.
He became angry and was cooled by Narada.
Siva also could not countenance absence of reverence from Bhrigu and he
was prevented, by his consort Uma, from hurting Bhrigu. Bhrigu then went to Mahavishnu who was having
a nap with his head on the lap of Lakshmi.
He kicked Mahavishnu on his chest.
Vishnu woke up and profusely apologised to Bhrigu and said that he
(Mahvishnu) would ever carry the mark of Bhrigu’s foot on his chest as an
ornament. Thus, coming to the conclusion that Mahavishnu is the most sattwic of
the Trimurtis, Saraswatha rishis attained liberation by loving devotion to his
creation the Vedas sang your praises as the sachidananda swarupa, embodiment of Truth, Consciousness and Bliss
and One without a second. I worship you,
who is the Paramatma, who is of immeasurable greatness and the
fortune and joy of the gopis. I pray to you, O Lord, for the alleviation of my miseries.
of Mahavishnu, over and above Brahma,
Rudra and other devas, in the episodes, among others, of Vritrasura,
bhrigu, Mohini, and Ambarisha. The consciousness which shines through
equally in all beings, whether with form or without form, and which is
indefinable is Mahavishnu, the manifestation of Sachidananda Brahman in
pure sattwic form. In the five-fold
aspects of Brahman ( according to Saivas) as the Trimurtis, Ishwara and Sadasiva,
Ishwara corresponds to that
aspect of Vishnu which abides in vaikuntha and Sadasiva corresponds
to Mahavishnu. Of the Trimurtis Brahma is more rajasic and
trace of tamas; only Mahavishnu is purely sattwic. Adi Sankara, who is
impartial, also considered Mahavishnu as above the other aspects of Brahman.
.He wrote a bhashyam only for
Vishnu sahasranama, not for the sahasranamas of other
deities. Sankara gave up his mortal body
praising Krishna, the plenary incarnation of Vishnu. In the beginning of Mantrasastra, Mahavishnu, dark as the kalaya blossom
and above the Trimurtis, is mentioned as the Lord of all. It advised meditation on Pranava for the aspect of Brahman beyond name and form and
meditation on Mahavishnu for the aspect of Brahman with name and form. In Puranasangraha which is the essence
of all puranas, Mahavishnu is eulogised above all. In the Satyaloka, the
abode of Trimurtis, the position of Vishnu is mentioned as above those
of Brahma and Rudra.
the Braahma Kalpa, as mentioned in the second canto of Srimadbhagavatam, is the
one which is called by several names like Hari, Shiva and son. This is stated by sri Madhave, a staunch
devotee of Siva. It is evident that he
considered Mahavaishnu above all the other manifestation of Brahman. Eulogising
Siva and putting him above Vishnu in Skanda and other puranas is
for the purpose of not shaking the faith of those who, according to their innate nature, worship Shiva and firmly believe that Siva is
the dispenser of the fruits of their actions. This is called Arthavaada
utterly ignorant, have said is as per the words of Mantra sastra
only. O Lord of Guruvayoor who is
eulogised in Bhagavata which is essence of whatever Vaysa has written
! fill me with devotion and remove my