Sri Gopala Vimsati – 5


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Doddamallur Krishna

(Here, Swami Desikan enjoys the scene just before the Lord is caught in the act of stealing butter from a hidden vessel by his angry mother).

May the special pose that this protector of the Universe, who acted like an innocent child born in the family of cowherds of Gokulam, nurtures the inhabitants of his world! His mother normally stored freshly churned butter in shallow earthen vessels (Chattis). Gopalan routinely raided the kitchen and stole those gobs of butter. Yasodha thought that she could hide the butter in deep water pots to mislead her child. Gopalan defeated his mother in her efforts to save the butter and won the game. When his mother stepped out of the kitchen for a moment, he put his hands into the pot and helped himself. As he was enjoying himself, his mother arrived suddenly suspecting something was going on behind her back. She saw Gopalan stealing butter again and ran towards him with a rope in hand to tie him down as a punishment. Gopalan was bewildered by the sight of his angry mother. For a moment, he wanted to run away to escape his mother. He lifted his foot to run. His feigned fright at his mother however made him stop. He stood still pretending that he did not know what to do next. He closed his eyes at the thought of the impending calamity of being caught and punished by his mother. He appeared as though he was averting that danger by closing his eyes. It is common for ordinary human beings to close their eyes, when they face serious danger out of a sense of utter helplessness. Our Lord, who is the protector of His universe, adopted this posture as if he was a mere mortal. May the thought of the simplicity that He adapted for this occasion protect all of us in our daily lives!


Swamy Desikan longed for the visualization of the navaneetha nAtyam. He did not gain that boon and the SvAthma RakshaNam did not result. Now, Swamy Desikan shifts his prayer for protection from the Lord, who got caught in the act of stealing butter and ended up by being tied to a mortar by His mother. By the act of submitting Himself to being bound by a simple cowherdess, the all powerful SarvEswaran demonstrated His souseelyam for the entire world to see. Swamy Desikan now prays for svarakshaNam from this Parama Souseelya Moorthy. Harthum: He asked for bikshai of navaneetham using His dance as a trade off. It did not work because butter was money for the Gopis; it was their livelihood and hence YasOdha would not give her son what He wanted. She was also worried about her darling son eating too much butter. When He did not get the navaneetham, he resorted to gaining it (freshly churned delicious butter = svAdhu haiyangaveenam) by stealing it, when His mother was not looking. He got caught. He wanted to run. Before that He hesitated for a moment on the strategy of escaping His angry mother by running or by staying in place and trying to charm her by staying motionless (naapi gacchan na thishtan). This was the search in His mind (GopAla vichAram).

Now the reaction of GopAlan on seeing His angry mother rushing towards Him with a rope to tie Him down is described beautifully by Swamy Desikan: “DhrushtvA dhAmagrahaNa chaDulAm mAtharam jaatha rhOshAm”. He jumped from his place by a few feet (yeeshathprachalitha padhOnApagacchan na thishtan) and yet stayed put without running or staying put. He was caught in a state of dharma sankadam. What did He do next? He closed His eyes immediately fearing the worst and hoping for the best (sapadhi nayanE meeLayan). Swamy Desikan prays for this Protector of the Universe, who has taken this dubious role as a cowherd although He was born in the Kshathriyaa clan (MiTyA Gopa:).

dhAma grahaNa chaDulAm: YasOdhA was angry. She got hold of a rope to tie down her mischievous son. She was moving rapidly to catch the swift moving son of hers. The rope was short by two inches to tie Him. She got agitated over the problem and began to get angry. Her angry movements to get additional rope frightened the Lord. He was frozen with fear and stayed put although He wanted to run away. He closed His eyes quickly in fear of facing the music. Actually He wanted to come to the help of his tiring mother and let her tie him down.

Viswa Goptha, MiTya Gopa: Maam pAyAth: The Prayer of Swamy Desikan is: “May this KapaDa Naataka soothradhAri playing now the role of a helpless cowherd and yet is the Rakshan of the Universe and its beings protect us!”

For Upanyasam click here.


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