Guruvayoor from Narayaneeyam -5
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. .
below is the collection of last slokas from Daskas 41 to 50 of this
great devotional work with a prosaic translation in English. A brief note on the contents of each dasaka
is also given, where possible, to put the slokas in context.
the Putana incident Nanda had been away at Mathura to pay taxes as a subordinate chieftain.
There he met with Vasudeva who cautioned him about something untoward happening
in GoKul. Nanda hastened to Gokul and found the terrifying body of Putana. He heaved a sigh of relief when he heard that
Krishna was fine. The gopas cut Putana’s
body into pieces and burnt them when fragrance of sandalwood emanated
from the burning body. Putana had
suckled Krishna though with the intention of killing him; that was the reason
for the fragrance. The whole of Nandagokul doted on Krishna and was captivated
by his childish activities and pranks. It was celebration time for all the gopas
whose happiness knew no bounds.
concludes this daska with the following sloka:
supreme bliss Yasoda must have experienced while suckling You, looking at your
face and smiling. O Lord who had such childhood! Save me from my
dasaka describes the shattering of Sakatasura by child Krishna. It was
one of those birthdays of Krishna.
Yasoda had invited all relatives, friends and brahmins for the
celebration. Krishna was lying near a
cart loaded with many things. Yasoda was busy in the kitchen. Suddenly there was great sound of breaking wood.
Everyone ran to the place from where the sound was coming and they were
surprised to see the cart shattered to pieces. All were surprised that Krishna
was not at all hurt. Some of the boys
guarding Krishna reported that the cart was broken to pieces when the child
Krishna kicked with his legs. No one
could believe this though it was a fact.
Nanda picked up Krishna who, he thought, had been miraculously saved by the Lord and
covered him with kisses, his hairs bristling with emotion. The dasaka concludes
with the following sloka:
this occasion that brahmins specially worshipped for your welfare, showered
their blessings on you and you
captivated the hearts of Vraja by your endearing traits and actions of
childhood. O Lord of Guruvayur of such childhood! Knidly free me from my
dasaka describes the Trinavarta episode. One of those days Yasoda found it difficult to
carry child Krishna. Wondering how the child could gain so much weight in so
short a time, she put him to bed and
went about doing her household chores.
Suddenly there arose the sound of a hurricane raising a dust-storm which
enveloped the whole atmosphere making it impossible for anyone to see what was
happening. This was the handiwork of an asura called trinavarta who
gathered up Krishna and carried him away in the storm. Yasoda, not finding Krishna, started crying
out her heart. By this time the speed of
the asura was curtailed because he could not carry the weight of
Krishna. He wanted to drop Krishna but
the latter had a vice-like grip on him.
The asura fell down on rocky terrain with such force that his body was
shattered and he met his death. Krishna
was playing happily on his dead body. Nanda and Yasoda thanked the Lord for
saving their child again. They prayed to Krishna (God incarnate) for the
protection of child Krishna who, they thought by the Lord’s Maya, was just an
ordinary child. Bhattathiri concludes
this dasaka with the following sloka:
Lord of Guruvayur! You killed trinavarata
whose power lay in air (vata). Why
don’t you put an end to my afflictions arising out of imbalance of vata in my
body? What shall I do my Lord! I once
again entreat you to cure me of my afflictions.
dasaka describes the naming ceremony of Nanda’s children. Sage Garga, master of the science of
astronomy and astrology, visited Nanda’s abode at the instance of Vasudeva in
order to perform, in secret, the naming ceremony of the child of Yasoda and of
Rohini. The first was named Krishna to
indicate that he was the embodiment of sat
chit and ananda ( i.e. Absolute Existence, Consciousness and Bliss). The
name also meant that he destroyed the sins of people (who took refuge in him).
The second child (born to Rohini) was named Rama meaning he gave joy to people
and also Bala because of his superior strength.
Garga told Nanda that whoever loved his son will never be deluded by the
sorrows of samsara and whoever hurts him will perish. He will vanquish many asuras, lead his people
to a state of pure happiness and help them cross all difficulties. Garga told everything about Krishna short of
telling Nanda that his son was the very incarnation of Hari.
concludes this dasaka with the following sloka:
Lord of Guruvayur!, after the departure of Sage Garga, with Nanda pleased and doting on you, may you have overflowing
compassion on me and may you put an end to my afflictions.
dasaka describes the childhoods of Krishna and Balarama. They had started
moving around the house on all fours, with their knees and hands. They shook
their tiny legs to hear the fascinating sound of their anklets. With their hair
falling on their faces, they sported sweet smiles and displayed their milk
teeth, stealing the heart of all who saw
them. In due course, they started walking with unsteady feet, falling, getting
up and walking again. Their mothers watched over them and picked them up,
embraced and kissed them when they fell and got smeared with mud all over their
bodies. The mothers, Yasoda and Rohini, suckled their children looking with
fascination at their smiling faces and display of their budding teeth. They thought
that the purpose of their life had been fulfilled by giving birth to these
children. In course of time the children
started walking normally and playing with the other children of their age in
the nearby houses. They chased domestic
animals and birds like cats, calves and parrots. The Gopis were enthralled by their childish
pranks and, leaving their household chores, they watched them playing.
Gradually, Krishna along with his friends, started stealing butter. The poet says here that the Lord probably
thought to himself ‘ I begged (three feet of land) from Mahabali but I won’t
beg before these milkmaids, rather I would steal’.
concludes this dasaka with the following sloka:
Lord of Guruvayur! when you stole curd and ghee the milkmaids felt neither
anger nor sorrow in their hearts, You
had already stolen their hearts and submerged them in an ocean of bliss. O Lord
of such kindness! Put an end to my diseases.
dasaka describes how Yasoda saw the whole of this cosmos in the open mouth of
her child Krishna. One day children complained to Yasoda that Krishna had eaten
mud while playing with them. Yasoda asked Krishna whether that was true but
Krishna .repeatedly denied it. Yasoda, with a tinge of annoyance in her voice,
asked Krishna to open his mouth. Krishna opened his mouth as if a lotus
blooming. Yasoda expected to see a lump
of mud in his mouth but what she actually saw was something unbelievable. She saw not only the whole of this earth but
also the other worlds with forests, oceans, clouds, the nether worlds, humans,
demons, celestial beings, Mahavishnu reclining on Adishesha and Krishna himself
standing with open mouth before Yasoda. Bhattathiri ends this dasaka with the
बाल! पाहि माम् ॥४६.१०॥
a moment your mother realised the Truth (that you were not her child but the
Supreme Lord Himself in whom all these created worlds subsist). Next moment you
clung to her saying ‘Mother! suckle me at your breast’, deluding her into
believing that you really were her child. O Lord of Guruvayur!, the wonder
child ! save me from my ailments.
dasaka describes the episode in which Yashoda ties child Krishna to a mortar. One
day while Yashoda was churning curd, Krishna nestled up to her and wanted to be
breast-fed. Half way through breast-feeding, Yasoda disengaged herself to
attend to milk which was boiling over in the kitchen. Krishna, annoyed at the abrupt termination of
his feeding, broke the pot containing
curd with the churning rod. The curd in
the pot spilt and spread all over the place.
When Yasoda came back she saw the muddle created by Krishna who was no
where nearby. Finally she saw him
somewhere in a corner feeding a cat fresh better. Annoyed, she wanted to tie
him to a mortar and brought a piece of rope.
But it was two inches short. She joined another piece to the first one
but that also fell short by two inches. This process went on for some time
until Yasoda, tired and perspiring, wondered what was happening. Finally
Krishna, moved by compassion, allowed himself to be tied to the mortar.
concludes this dasaka with the following sloka:
celestials were seeing this play of the Lord and they said) ‘O Lord you are approachable
by those who have cut all their bondages (apashah);
how were you controlled by this
Yasoda with a rope (sapasha)? O Lord of Guruvayur! thus praised by the
devas! save me from my afflictions.
dasaka describes how child Krishna released the sons of Kubera from the curse
of Narada. Krishna, dragging the mortar
to which he was tied by his mother, came near a pair of tall arjuna
trees. The mortar stuck across their trunks. While Krishna pulled at the mortar,
the trees broke with a thundering sound and fell to the ground. Krishna was
unhurt. From the tree trunk arose the
forms of two yakshas, Nalakubara and Manigreeva, sons of Kubera who had been
turned into the trees by the curse of Narada.
They were drunk and sporting in the Ganga with young women, all without
clothes on their bodies. When Narada passed that way the women covered
themselves with clothes but the sons of Kubera carried on with their nudity.
For disciplining them for their own welfare Narada cursed them to be trees
until they had the darshan of Hari in
his incarnation as Krishna. Now released from the curse, the sons of Kubera prostrated before Krishna,
sang his praises and went back to their world. Hearing the sound of trees
breaking, Nanda and other gopas came running and saw the huge trees which had
fallen with Krishna tied to the mortar standing near them unhurt. Nanda untied the rope which bound Krishna to
the mortar and thanked the Lord for saving the child. Bhattathiri concludes this dasaka with the
ब्रुवाणैर्गमितो गृहं भवान्
The child caught in the middle of two falling trees was saved unhurt by the
power of the Lord “ so saying, you were taken home by Nanda and the other
gopas. O Lord of Guruvayur! Save me from
dasaka describes the episode of Nanda and others shifting their abode from
Gokula to Vrindavan. Nanda and other gopas, seeing unexplained and
unforeseen calamities, like falling of trees, happening in Gokula
thought of moving out to another place. Upananda, one of the gopas, suggested
moving to Vrindeavan, a beautiful forest area to the west of Gokula. The
suggestion was accepted by everyone and the inhabitants of Gokula packed their
belongings, put them in bullock carts and set out on the journey to Vrindavan
along with their cows and calves, led by a well-furnished cart occupied by
Krishna and Yasoda. They did not
experience the distance traversed lulled by the sound from the carts and the
hooves of the cattle and the jokes and comments by Krishna. Reaching Vrindavan,
they built new shelters for accommodating all the families and for the
cattle. Krishna, with his friends, enjoyed the natural setting of the place with
the Yamuna flowing nearby with her clearer waters, coo of swans and blossoming
lotuses, velvety green pastures for the cows, flowering creepers like jasmine,
trees laden with their fruits, flocks of peacocks and peahens and the
Govardhana mountain kissing the skies. Bhattathiri concludes this dasaka with
the following sloka:
Guruvayur! you, along with Rama and
other cowboys, were raring to graze the calves in the green pastures of Vrindavan. May you Lord of Guruvayoor, of such enthusiasm, protect me from my afflictions.
dasaka describes the killing, by Krishna, of two demons. Krishna, equipped with
a cane, a horn and a flute, with his dark blue complexion, grazing the calves
with Rama and other children was a feast to the eyes of every one. Grazing the
cattle in the pastures within the forest, on the banks of the Yamuna and the
plateaus of Govardhana, Krishna one day espied an asura who had taken the form
of a calf. Krishna recognised him by his
vigorous shaking of the tail, frequent turning of his neck with eyes seeming to
wait for a chance to strike. Immediately he caught hold of his hind legs and
whirling him vigorously a few times, threw him up against a tall tree when he
was dead. Another day, when the cowboys
were quenching their thirst with the water from Yamuna, an asura in the form of
a huge crane caught Krishna in his beak. Immediately the crane dropped him like
a hot potato unable to withstand the heat emanating from Krishna’s body as if
he were Agni (the god of Fire) himself.
Krishna caught hold of his upper and lower beaks and split him into two,
killing him instantly. Bhattatiri concludes
this dasaka with the following sloka:
the sweet melody from your flute from a distance, the milkmaids hastened to
come close and see you with joyous eyes. You were the source of joy to your
mother and Nanda. O Lord of Guruvayur! drive away my maladies.