Mucchata Brahmmadulaku…

tanjore-paintings-081

I recently came across a rendition of Sri Thyagaraja (Telegu poet composer 1767-1847) of “Muchhata Brahmmadulaku.” I looked up the lyrics, and I was surprised to find that this song was composed in praise of Lord Shiva, the Lord of Tiruvarur. Lord Shiva in this temple also bears the name “Thyagaraja,” and the famous poet was named after this deity…

Srimati R. Vedavalli has rendered this wonderful song in madhyamavati. Even for those who are not connoisseurs of carnatic music, this song will please! The lyrics and meaning are from sahityam.net.

Is this grandeur possible to be beheld even by Brahma and others?
O Damsels! Come, let us behold!

Is the grandeur of Siva going in procession, thinking of the (dark) green-bodied and supremely holy Parvati, possible to be beheld even by Brahma and others?

As all the paraphernalia (of the Lord) charmingly shine in the hands of people resembling sundry gods, as true devotees extol Him, as the (on-lookers’) hearts exult, and as a lot of ornaments along with jasmine garlands dazzle on His white body – is it possible even for Brahma and others to behold the grandeur of Lord Siva coming in procession in the palanquin studded with all precious stones in the cool hours?

Is it possible even for Brahma and other to behold the grandeur of Lord Siva – the Lord of five rivers – coming in procession very charmingly, whole-heartedly accepting at every step all kind sacred offerings, with much happiness at the unlimited services rendered, and with the intent that ‘I shall search and bestow, in plenty, the wishes of those devoted people who always perform name-chanting and penances’?

Is it possible even for Brahma and others to behold the grandeur of Lord Siva – the Lord who wears serpents as ornaments – coming in procession by becoming the Ocean of mercy after watching the splendour of great devotees performing nicely the exposition of the songs consisting of the names Lord hari in fine musical notes in exquisite tunes, being vigilant for speedy protection of all virtuous people, and proclaiming that ‘I am the Thyagaraja who bestows wishes’?

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Sri Jayadeva…

radha1

Sri Jayadeva Goswami appeared in Orissa around 1200 AD. He is most reknowned for his composition, the “Gita Govinda” which has been sung across India in both Hindustani and Carnatic styles of classical Indian music. Possibly his most famous work, the Dasavatara stotra is an invocation, following which, his songs on Radha and Krsna’s sweet Vrindavan pastimes unfold. The Gita Govinda consists of 12 chapters, each consisting of prabhandhas, further divided into couplets of eight (explaining the famous “ashtapadis” these songs are commonly referred to). Songs from the Gita Govinda, such as “Priye Charusile” and “Chandana charchita” are known to all connoisseurs of classical Indian music regardless of school and style…

Sri Jayadeva married Padmavathi, a pious dancer in the temple of Sri Jagannatha in Puri. Together they served the Lord with exquisite devotion – Sri Jayadeva composed songs in the Lord’s honor, and Padmavathi danced to these compositions before the deities of Puri. Sri Jagannatha is so attached to the verses of these songs that He even wears a silk outfit with pure gold embroidery of Sri Jayadeva’s verses. A line in the song “Priye Charusile” is even reputed to have been penned by Lord Jagannatha Himself!

The following is the famous Dasavatara stotra by Sri Jayadeva which begins with “Pralayapayodhi jale.” This stotra includes ISKCON’s Nrisimha pranati which is recited daily at the end of Mangala and Sundara aartis.

matsya

Pralaya-payodhi-jale dhruta vanasi vedam
Vihita-vahitra-charitramakhedam
Keshava dhruta-meena-sarira jaya jagadisa hare!

Victory to Keshava, the lord of Universe,
Who assumed the form of a fish,
And gave protection like a boat to Vedas,
Which were immersed in the turbulent sea of deluge.

kurma

Kshitirathi vipulatare tisthtati tava prushte
Dharani-dharana-kina-chakra-garishte,
Keshava dhruta-kachapa-sarira jaya jagadisa hare!

Victory to Keshava, the lord of Universe,
Who assumed the form of a tortoise,
And made the great mountain rest on his back,
And allowed it to churn the ocean like a wheel.

varaha

Vasati dasana-sikhare dharani thava lagna
Sasini kalanka-kaleva nimagna
Keshava dhruta-sukara-rupa jaya jagadisa hare!

Victory to Keshava, the lord of Universe,
Who assumed the form of a boar,
On whose tusks rested the earth,
Which was drowned and appeared.
Like the shadow on the moon.

nrisimha

Thava kara-kamala-vare nakha madbhuta-srngam
Dalita-hiranyakasipu-thanu-bhrngam
Keshava dhruta-narahari-rupa jaya jagadisa hare!

Victory to Keshava, the lord of Universe,
Who assumed the form of a man lion,
Whose nails of his lotus like hand,
Were made wonderful weapons,
And Crushed Hiranyakasipu like a wasp.

vamana

Chalayasi vikramane balimadbhuta-vamana
Pada-nakha-nira-janita-jana-pavana
Keshava dhruta-vamana-rupa jaya jagadisa hare!

Victory to Keshava, the lord of Universe,
Who assumed the form of a dwarf Brahmin,
Who by his massive steps deceived Mahabali,
And the Ganges emanating from the nail of whose feet,
Made all living beings holy and divine.

parashurama

Kshatriya-rudhira-maye jagad-apagata-papam
Snapayasi payasi samita-bhava-tapam
Keshava dhruta-bhrgupati-rupa jaya jagadisa hare!

Victory to Keshava, the lord of Universe,
Who assumed the form of Parasurama,
Who bathed the earth with blood of Kshatriyas,
Who washed away the sins of the world,
And who calmed down the pains of existence.

ramar

Vitarasi dikshu rane dik-pati-kamaniyam
Dasa-mukha-mauli-balim ramaniyam
Keshava dhruta-rama-sarira jaya jagadisa hare!

Victory to Keshava, the lord of Universe,
Who assumed the form of Lord Rama,
Who presented the lords of ten pretty directions,
The delightful offering of ten heads of Ravana.

balaramar

Vahasi vapusi visade vasanam jaladabham
Hala-hati-bhiti-milita-yamunabham
Keshava dhruta-haladhara-rupa jaya jagadisa hare!

Victory to Keshava, the lord of Universe,
Who assumed the form of Balarama,
Who wore cloths of colour of the River,
Yamuna over his white body and made,
The river fear his weapon of the plough.

buddha

Nindasi yajna-vidher ahaha shruti-jatam
Sadaya-hrdaya darsita-pasu-ghatham
Keshava dhruta-buddha-sarira jaya jagadisa hare!

Victory to Keshava, the lord of Universe,
Who assumed the form of Buddha,
Who found fault with fire sacrifices,
In which poor animals were sacrificed,
As prescribed in the Vedas due to his compassionate heart.

kalki

Mleccha-nivaha-nidhane kalayasi karavalam
Dhumaketum iva kim api karalam
Keshava dhruta-kalki-sarira jaya jagadisa hare!

Victory to Keshava, the lord of Universe,
Who would assume the form of Lord Kalki,
Who would appear like a blazing comet,
Holding a terrifying sword and kill,
All barbarians at the end of Kali age.

all-ten

Sri-jayadeva-kaver idam uditam udaaram
Srunu sukha-dam subha-dam bhava-saram
Keshava dhruta-dasa-vidha-rupa jaya jagadisa hare!

Victory to Keshava, the lord of Universe,
Who assumed ten different forms,
With a humble request to hear,
This pleasant, holy and divine,
Poem composed by Jayadeva.

krishna-on-kaliya

Vedan uddharate jaganni vahate bhu-golam udbibhrate
Daityam darayate balim chalayate ksatra-ksayam kurvate
Paulastyam jayate halam kalayate karunyam aathanvate
Mlecchan murchayate dasakruti-krute krishnaya tubhyam namah!

Salutations to Lord Krishna who assumed ten different forms,
And saved the Vedas, bore a mountain, lifted the earth,
Killed Asuras, tricked Mahabali, exterminated Kshatriyas,
Won over Rakshasas, drew Yamuna towards him and showered mercy,
And would benumb the barbarians, in his ten different incarnations.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Sri Rajagopalaswamy

rajagopala-swamy2

Sri Rajagopalaswamy with Sri Rukmini, Satyabhama, and Senkamalvalli

The most beautiful and charming of deity is certainly that of Sri Vidya Rajagopalaswamy of Mannargudi. “Mannar” means king, and “gudi” means temple in Telegu. The Rajagopalaswamy temple is quite ancient, and is located in the Thiruvarur district of Tamil Nadu. The temple was reputedly built in 1000 AD. After the period of Rajathi Raja Cholan, this temple was renovated by his successor, Kulothunga Cholan during the period of 1074-1125 A.D. and because of this, later this sthalam is called with the other name “Kulothunga Chola Vinnagaram”. In the 1600s, the temple was patronized extensively by Sri Vijayaraghava Nayakar who built the seven prakarams/walls around the temple, making this temple much like the famed Srirangam temple. Sri Vijayaraghava Nayakar was the last in line of the Thanjavur Nayak kings, and he was beheaded after being captured in battle against the Nayak king of Madurai, Sri Chokkanatha Nayak. To honor Sri Vijayaraghava Nayak’s extensive devotion to Sri Rajagopalaswamy (the king even referred to himself as Mannarudasu – servant of Sri Rajamannar), the Lord gives darshan on Sri Vaikunta Ekadasi dressed as Sri Vijayaraghava Nayak, adorned with the typical Nayak-style hat…

28179622_a09e400fb8

Sri Rajagopalaswamy’s temple at Mannargudi

The deity of Lord in the main sanctum is Sri Para Vasudevar. The utsava murti is the celebrated deity of Rajagopalaswamy, with consorts Sri Rukmini and Sri Satyabhama devis. The sthala puranam of the temple states that Lord Krsna appeared here to bless two rishis, Sri Gopralaya, and Gopila. The two rishis travelled to Dwarka to have darshan of the Lord, but by the time they reached, Dwapara yuga had ended, the Lord had ascended to the spiritual world, and Dwarka was submerged in the ocean. The Lord, out of compassion for the sages, advised them to go south, and pray for His appearance a place called Shenbagaranyam (forest of Shenbaga flowers).

shenbagam-flower

The Shenbaga flower (Sanskrit. Champaka, Latin. Michelia Champaca)

The Lord later appeared to these rishis in 32 forms, the first being Sri Paravasudevar, and the last being the charming form of Sri Rajagopala. It is said that even the bees in this place refrain from taking honey from the fragrant senbaga flowers, so that they remain pure for offering to the Lord in Mannargudi.

47979129mannar2

The Lord appears wearing a half dhoti, holding a whip (chendu) in His right hand, and in the company of cows and calves, all lovingly gazing at His lotus face. Recently, the residents of Mannargudi dedicated a 67 kg gold armor (kavacha) for this deity as a mark of their affection for Him…

Here is a video of this beautiful deity. I hope your heart is captured by His extraordinary beauty! Hare Krsna!

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Gopashtami nectar…

cow_llcow_llcow_ll

On the eighth day of the bright fortnight (shuklashtami) of Kartik, Lord Vasudeva took up cowherding. Previously, since He was still young, He and His fellow cowherd friends took care of calves. This day, which marks the day Lord Krsna began His pauganda pastimes (when he was between 6-10 years of age) is celebrated worldwide. Srimati Radharani joins Lord Krsna in this pastime, but Herself dressing as a cowherd boy (Her brother Subala was Krsna’s close associate, and there was certainly a resemblance between Subala and Radharani). Seeing Srimati Radharani dressed as a cowherd boy, Her gopis joined in, making for an unusual celebration.

damodar8

On this day cows are worshipped. To worship a cow, the scriptures say that one pets it on the head, and under it’s neck. Then one offers it some grass to eat. Simple! Yet, this gracious act is so pleasing to Lord Krsna, Who is the protector of cows, and personally appeared and cared for them. In the Gita dhyana, there is a verse which states that all the upanishads became cows, and Lord Krsna, the son of a cowherder, milked them. Arjuna became the calf, and the entire universe benefitted from the milk he drank…

The following are pictures of the Gopashtami celebrations this year at the ISKCON temple in Tirupati. This temple was recently consecrated by my spiritual master Srila Jayapataka Swami. The deities are Sri Sri Radha Govinda, surrounded by the ashtasakhis, or the eight closest friends of Srimati Radharani. This day is special, because when Srimati Radharani appears in gopa-vesha, Her lotus feet are visible to the devotees. One who sees Her lotus feet is assured of attaining pure love for Lord Krsna very soon (the only other occassion this occurs is on Sri Radhashtami – Srimati Radharani’s birthday). This festival has been celebrated for years at ISKCON Mayapur, and below are pictures of the beautiful presiding deities Sri Sri Radha Madhava, with the Ashtasakhis…

image002

Sri Sri Radha Govinda, ISKCON Tirupati

image001image003

The Ashtasakis on either side of Sri Sri Radha Govinda

image006

Sri Sri Radha Madhava, ISKCON Mayapur

image008image007

The Ashtasakhis on either side of Sri Sri Radha Madhava

Note: Pictures courtesy of my dear friend Sumati dasi ACBSP.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Beautiful Thief of Thirumalirumcholai…

03kallazhagar_entering_the_vaigai_river_kgn1

Sri Kallazhagar in procession along the Vaigai river during the Chithirai festival

The Lord appears as Sri Kallazhagar, or the “Beautiful Thief” at Sri Thirumalirumcholai, located right outside of the south Indian metropolis of Madurai. The large temple is set in a clearing on a hillock, surrounded by lush forests (in stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of Madurai). This temple is one of the 108 Divya Desams, and has many legends surrounding it. Sri Malayadvaja Raja (Goddess Meenakshi’s father) did pratyaksham for the Lord here, and he attained moksha by praying to the deity enshrined here…

dsc00307

Sri Kallazhagar bathing in the Noopura Gangai

Below is a video of the bathing of Sri Kallazhagar in the Noopura Gangai, a waterfall that appears outside the temple. The waters of the Noopura Gangai are sacred, and believed to emerge from the anklet (noopuram) of Sri Vamana when He raised His foot to measure the heavenly planets in His second of three paces. Watch till the end of the video. You will get a rare glimpse of the Lord in simple wet bathing garments, and one can really appreciate His beautiful features, sans adornments…

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The gopis worship Katyayani devi…

b5ee_11

According to Vedic civilization, unmarried girls from ten to fourteen years of age are supposed to worship either Lord Siva or the goddess Durga in order to get a nice husband. But the unmarried girls of Vrndavana were already attracted by the beauty of Krsna. They were, however, engaged in the worship of the goddess Durga in the beginning of the hemanta season (just prior to the winter season). The first month of hemanta is called Agrahayana (October-November), and at that time all the unmarried gopis of Vrndavana began to worship goddess Durga with a vow.

They first ate havisyanna, a kind of foodstuff prepared by boiling together mung dhal and rice without any spices or turmeric. According to Vedic injunction, this kind of foodstuff is recommended to purify the body before one enacts a ritualistic ceremony. All the unmarried gopis in Vrndavana used to daily worship goddess Katyayani early in the morning after taking bath in the river Yamuna. Katyayani is another name for goddess Durga. The goddess is worshiped by preparing a doll made out of sand mixed with earth from the bank of the Yamuna. It is recommended in the Vedic scriptures that a deity may be made from different kinds of material elements; it can be painted, made of metal, made of jewels, made of wood, earth or stone or can be conceived within the heart of the worshiper. The Mayavadi philosopher takes all these forms of the deity to be imaginary, but actually they are accepted in the Vedic literatures to be identical with either the Supreme Lord or a respective demigod.

1747822746_0e7af3e092

The unmarried gopis used to prepare the deity of goddess Durga and worship it with candana pulp, garlands, incense lamps and all kinds of presentations–fruits, grains and twigs of plants. After worshiping, it is the custom to pray for some benediction. The unmarried girls used to pray with great devotion to goddess Katyayani, addressing her as follows: “O supreme eternal energy of the Personality of Godhead, O supreme mystic power, O supreme controller of this material world, O goddess, please be kind to us and arrange for our marriage with the son of Nanda Maharaja, Krsna.” The Vaisnavas generally do not worship any demigods. Srila Narottama dasa Thakura has strictly forbidden all worship of the demigods for anyone who wants to advance in pure devotional service. Yet the gopis, who are beyond compare in their affection for Krsna, were seen to worship Durga. The worshipers of demigods also sometimes mention that the gopis also worshiped goddess Durga, but we must understand the purpose of the gopis. Generally, people worship goddess Durga for some material benediction. Here, the gopis prayed to the goddess to become wives of Lord Krsna. The purport is that if Krsna is the center of activity, a devotee can adopt any means to achieve that goal. The gopis could adopt any means to satisfy or serve Krsna. That was the superexcellent characteristic of the gopis. They worshiped goddess Durga completely for one month in order to have Krsna as their husband. Every day they prayed for Krsna, the son of Nanda Maharaja, to become their husband.

olden_days_yamuna_fm_1024x768

Early in the morning, the gopis used to go to the bank of the Yamuna to take bath. They would assemble together, capturing each other’s hands, and loudly sing of the wonderful pastimes of Krsna…

Note: Text excerpted from Krsna Book, by His Divine Grace, Sri A.C Bhaktivendanta Swami Prabhupada.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Krsna dances with the gopis…

2127355984_33f4c74a8c_o

Today marks the end of the month of Kartik (Damodara), and it is the day of Lord Krsna’s rasa lila with His beloved gopis – Lord Krsna’s most exalted pastime…

Krsna’s rasa dance should never be compared with any kind of material dance, such as a ball dance or a society dance. The rasa dance is a completely spiritual performance. In order to establish this fact, Krsna, the supreme mystic, expanded Himself in many forms and stood beside each gopi. Placing His hands on the shoulders of the gopis on both sides of Him, He began to dance in their midst. The mystic expansions of Krsna were not perceived by the gopis because Krsna appeared alone to each of them. Each gopi thought that Krsna was dancing with her alone. Above that wonderful dance flew many airplanes carrying the denizens of the heavenly planets, who were very anxious to see the wonderful dance of Krsna with the gopis. The Gandharvas and the Kinnaras began to sing, and, accompanied by their respective wives, all the Gandharvas began to shower flowers on the dancers.

2157878460_466c754cd8_o

As the gopis and Krsna danced together, a very blissful musical sound was produced from the tinkling of their bells, ornaments and bangles. It appeared that Krsna was a greenish sapphire locket in the midst of a golden necklace decorated with valuable stones. While Krsna and the gopis danced they displayed extraordinary bodily features. The movements of their legs, their placing their hands on one another, the movements of their eyebrows, their smiling, the movements of the breasts of the gopis and their clothes, their earrings, their cheeks, their hair with flowers–as they sang and danced these combined together to appear like clouds, thunder, snow and lightning. Krsna’s bodily features appeared just like a group of clouds, their songs were like thunder, the beauty of the gopis appeared to be just like lightning in the sky, and the drops of perspiration visible on their faces appeared like falling snow. In this way, both the gopis and Krsna fully engaged in dancing.

When some of the gopis became very tired from dancing and moving their bodies, they placed their hands on the shoulders of Sri Krsna. Then their hair loosened and flowers fell to the ground. When they placed their hands on Krsna’s shoulder they became overwhelmed by the fragrance of His body which emanated from the lotus, other aromatic flowers, and the pulp of sandalwood. They became filled with attraction for Him, and they began to kiss one another. Some gopis touched Krsna cheek to cheek, and Krsna began to offer them chewed betel nuts from His mouth, which they exchanged with great pleasure by kissing. And by accepting those betel nuts, the gopis spiritually advanced.

2340585452_54f717a2f8_o3

The gopis became tired after long singing and dancing. Krsna was dancing beside them, and to alleviate their fatigue they took Sri Krsna’s hand and placed it on their raised breasts. Krsna’s hand, as well as the breasts of the gopis, are eternally auspicious; therefore when they combined, both of them became spiritually enhanced. The gopis so enjoyed the company of Krsna, the husband of the goddess of fortune, that they forgot that they had any other husband in the world, and upon being embraced by the arms of Krsna and dancing and singing with Him, they forgot everything. The Srimad-Bhagavatam thus describes the beauty of the gopis while they were rasa dancing with Krsna. There were lotus flowers over both their ears, and their faces were decorated with sandalwood pulp. They wore tilaka, and there were drops of sweat on their smiling mouths. From their feet came the tinkling sound of ankle bells as well as bangles. The flowers within their hair were falling to the lotus feet of Krsna, and He was very satisfied.

2347566681_536f78df9a_o

As stated in the Brahma-samhita, all these gopis are expansions of Krsna’s pleasure potency. Touching their bodies with His hands and looking at their pleasing eyes, Krsna enjoyed the gopis exactly as a child enjoys playing with the reflection of his body in a mirror. When Krsna touched the different parts of their bodies, the gopis felt surcharged with spiritual energy. They could not adjust their loosened clothes, although they tried to keep them properly. Their hair and garments became scattered, and their ornaments loosened as they forgot themselves in company with Krsna.

2242365166_fe875511e6_o

While Krsna was enjoying the company of the gopis in the rasa dance, the astonished demigods and their wives gathered in the sky. The moon, being afflicted with a sort of lust, began to watch the dance and became stunned with wonder. The gopis had prayed to the goddess Katyayani to have Krsna as their husband. Now Krsna was fulfilling their desire by expanding Himself in as many forms as there were gopis and enjoying them exactly as a husband…

Note: Images from http://flickr.com/photos/iriskovalio/

Text adapted from Krsna Book by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized