Sri Gopala Vimsati – 17


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Gopalan with the decorations appropriate for his role as a cowherd now roams in the forest of BrundhA vanam to graze the cows and calves accompanied by His friends. He roams the forest with His herd of cows and decorates Himself with ornaments appropriate to the simple folks residing in the forests (i-e), natural products readily available in the forests.

The mischievous Gopalan, who stole the youth of the Gopis appears before them with many decorations that enhance His beauty. On his ears, the Gopis find the flower known as Laangali (Flower from the coconut tree’s sheaf/Tennampaalai flower); peacock feathers are found by them on his dark and curly tresses; red hibiscus also decorates those tresses. On his broad chest, they find a beautiful necklace made of yellowish-red seeds known as Gunjaa or Kunrumani strung together. With these and more AabharaNaas made of forest products, Gopala enchants the hearts of the adoring Gopis.


Swamy Desikan describes now the Kithava vEsham put on by the GopAla Baalan to bring the Gopis under His total control. Kitavan is one who is a pOkkiri (bemusing rogue). He is an enchanter and at the same time is a mischief maker (KuRumbhan). The Gopis naturally fall for Him head over heels. He has the red hibiscus (Bandhujeevam) in His hand. Over His ears, He has placed a Laangali flower. On His tresses are the peacock feathers. GrAmya bhUshaNams and His kalyANa guNams adorn Him. MahA Lakshmi resides on His chest in the form of the necklace made of KunRu MaNi seeds. He steals the hearts of the Gopis with His kithava vEsham. His charm and novel AabharaNams make the Gopis succumb to Him unconditionally. Kitavan is not a respectable term. Swamy Desikan chooses it as a term of endearment to address his personal God, the Gopika RamaNan, Govindhan.

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