shrImaan.h ve~NkaTa naathaaryaH kavitaarkika kesarI.
vedaantaachaarya varyo me sannidhattaaM sadaa hR^idi.
I salute that divine effulgence named Gopala, who was born on this Sri Jayanthi day and roamed in the forests of Brindhaavanam wearing the unfading garland made of wild flowers of the forest known as Vaijayanthi MaalA. This garland was his characteristic decoration. He enchanted the Gopis of Brindhavanam. adiyEn salutes this illustrious Jyothi.
We will now add the highlights of Commentaries by Vaikunta Vaasis Thirukkudanthai Raaghava PatrAcchAr, his brother ChinnA Mu SrinivAsa PatrAcchar and Anbil GopAlAcchAr Swamy as well as the summary observations from Dr.V.N. Vedantha Desikan under each one of the Gopala Vimsathy slOkams for enriching the anubhavam of Swamy Desikan. adiyEn is indebted to Poundarikapuram Srimath Andavan for making it possible to access these treasures with the help of Dr.V.N.Vedanatha Desikan, the Editor of this series on Swamy Desikan’s SthOthrams.
ParAsara Bhattar saluted the ThiruvAimozhi Veda Samhithai blessed to us by Swamy NammAzhwAr as being driven by the doctrine of “KrishNa ThrushNaa Tatthvam” or the deep love and longing of SaThakOpar for KrishNan. That thirst transformed into the Paasurams of Swamy NammAzhwAr. Commentators point out that the same Krishna ThrushNa bhAvam has been experienced by Swamy Desikan in his Gopala Vimsathy SlOkams. Further, the commentators opine that this sthOthram is about GopAlan aspect as Aayan and not about the aspects of Him as GithAchAryan or DwArakAdhipathi enjoying GrahasthAsramam. The Gopalan aspects are about the Lord’s sojourn in Gokulam and BrundhAvanam as an infant, child and adolescent Youth.
Let us now focus on the individual words chosen by Swamy Desikan in the twenty (vimsathy) slOkams of this sthothram. The first SlOkam is also the first slOkam in the Mahaa Kaavyam of Sri YaadhavAbhudaya. The first slOkam is noted for so many adjectives (VisEshaNams) and for the omission of the VisEshyam (prime object, KrishNa here). Great poetic beauty is revealed through such abundant usage of adjectives (BrundhAvana Charam, Vaijayanthi VibhUshaNam, Jayanthy sambhavam and Vallavi Jana vallabham) Krishna is not specifically mentioned by name.
WORD BY WORD COMMENTARY BY EARLIER SCHOLARS:
1. VandhE: “NaaTAyaiva nama: padham” was the salutation to Krishnaa in DasavathAra sthothram of Swamy Desikan. Here, the salutation is “VandhE”. Gopala is fond of seeking anjali (anjalim yaachamAnO GopAla:). Before He even waits and begs for the anjali, Swamy Desikan offers his anjali through the declaration: “VandhE”. Swamy Desikan identifies thus Gopalan as His NaaTan (Supreme Master). He indicates that He can not let the Lord seek anjali from him and he will offer his anjali even before He asks. The extreme simplicity (Soulabhya) and His over-supremacy (Parathvam) propel Swamy Desikan to offer his homage to His Lord as the resident of Gokulam and BrundhAvanam. He is not focusing on Him as GeethAchAryan or DwArakAnATan. “VandhE” is namaskArAthmaka MangaLa sabdham.
2. BrundhAvana-charam: BrundhAvanam means a forest. It also means a place filled with calves and cows. Gopalan roamed in this forest with the calves and cows to make it sacred with His holy steps. He was born in Mathurai but all His leelais took place here. “BrundhAnAm avanam yasmin, Tath BrundhAvanam” is one definition: He protected and nurtured the calves and cows at this forest. In the sixth slOkam of NyAsa Tilakam, Swamy observes as to what happened at this forest known as BrundhAvanam: “BrundhAni Ya: svavasayan vrajasundareeNAm, BrundhAvanAnthara-bhuvAm sulabhO BhabhUva”. He got the assembly of Cowherds under His influence and HE HIMSELF became readily accessible in all parts of BrundhAvanam.
3. Vallavee Jana vallabham: He is the dear Lord (Priya NaaTan) of the GopikAs. Swamy Desikan is going to refer elsewhere about this special relationship as: “Vallavee VallabhO na:” and “dhaivatham youvana Priyam”. He is normally SrI Vallabhan (dearest to SrI Devi, who pleads (PurushakAram) for us. Here, Swamy Desikan suggests that the Gopis have similar power due to their love for their Lord. At the time, He is with the Gopis, He will not think about His SrIvallabhathvam. Now, Only Gopalathvam is dominant. He is the Youth (YuvA) who is the Sun for the lotus Faces of Gopis (MadhanAdhura vallavaagana VadhanAmbhOja DhivakarO YuvA).
4. Jayanthee Sambhavam: He incarnated on the auspicious day of Jayanthee, which is the day in which KrishNa Paksha ashtami is united with RohiNi during the AavaNi month. The PurANic support for this auspicious day is: “Jayam PuNyam cha tanuthE Jayantheem tEna thAmm vidhu:” (Both victory and PuNyam is conferred). As Gopalan born on the Jayanthee day, He is forever victorious. There are other Jayanthees but His Jayanthee is SrI Jayanthee.
5. DhAma: This means Supreme effulgence (Sva PrakAsa Param JyOthi). It also means abode (sTAnam). His three abodes are: Vaikuntam, Milky Ocean and Adhithya MaNDalam. This is the apoorva JyOthi, which moves around the forests of BrundhAvanam. As this child moves with Vyjayanthi garland and the sacred feet having the rekhAs, the paths of the forest are lit with this divine jyOthi. That is the result of the SarvalOka CharaNyan’s lotus feet (dhvaja rEkhAngitham asya MahA Purusha Dimbhasya charaNam). He is the One having the tEjomaya MangaLa vigraham. He is the radiant lamp born in the Kulam of Cowherds (Aayar kulatthil thOnRu aNi ViLakku). This tEjas (DhAma) is self-radiant and is recognized as aprAkrutha Suddha Satthvamayam. Swamy NammAzhwAr salutes that JyOthi as “adhiyanchOTHI uRU /Aadhi+amm+jyOthi+uru” (Beautiful ancient jyothir maya roopan).
6. Vyjayanthee vibhUshaNam: “Jayanthee Vaijayanthee” padha prayOgam is delectable to the ear (ANUPRASA SABDHALANKARAM). He has many vibhUshaNams(alankAra vasthus) but as one who roams the forest, Vana Maalai (Vyjayanthee Maalai with TuLasi and wild flowers of the forest) seems to be the most appropriate for this GopAla Sisu (GopAlOchitha VanamAlaa).
7. The Four most dominant GuNams of the Lord indicated in the words of this slOkam are, VAATHSALYAM, SOUSEELYAM, SOULABHYAM AND SWAMITHVAM. Vaathsalyam is implied by the word “BrundhAvana charam”, where His love for the calf and cows. Souseelyam is indicated by the word: “Vallavee Jana Vallabham”. He is the Lord who delights the company of Sri Devi without interruption and yet during KrishNaavathAram, He has joy in the company of common folk as the cowherdesses. His Soulabhyam is referred to by the word: “Jayanthee sambhavam”, when He descends form His Supreme abode to “BhU MaNDalam”. The word “Vyjayanthee VibhUshNam” implies Swaamythvam (Lordship).