Brahma Sthuthi – Part 1
Brahma Mohana Leela in Srimad Bhagavatam lucidly elucidates that no one can escape the potency and clutches of Bhagavan’s Maya, including even the Creator – Brahma himself! Four main episodes in Srimad Bhagavatam – Brahma Mohana Leela, Kaliya Nardanam, Govinda Pattabhishekham, and Raasa Lila, highlight how Lord Sri Krishna through His Divine Play, conquered the pride of His devotees and taught them how to surrender unto Him.
Brahma had disappeared with the Gopas and the calves to his abode. Lord Sri Krishna figured out what Brahma was upto, He Himself assumed the form of both the calves as well as their keepers so exactly to every inch, with the same bodily complexions, the same features, same gait, same voice, mannerisms, exact clothes and other accessories – he simply replicated the entire system with Himself! Like every other day, that evening too, He walked back home with Himself in the form of calves, Himself herding them in the form of their keepers and His very Self (Sri Krishna) merrily sporting with all of them. At the melodious sound of Krishna’s flute, the Gopis of Vrindavan came out, and instead of looking at Krishna as they usually do, embraced their own children with great affection and took them inside.
Slowly a year passed on earth, (which passed as a moment in Sathya Loka) the mothers of all the boys were happy playing and fondling them with utmost affection. The cows showed intense love for the old calves, even more than for their new-born calves. This was because it was Bhagavan Krishna who was residing in every home and every cow-shed.
Meanwhile Brahma returned to earth and was completely perplexed at what he beheld. Lord Krishna and his dear friends were there again and the calves were also happily grazing nearby. What baffled him further was that the cowherd boys and calves that he had taken away were also safe and sound in Sathya Loka. Thus trying to delude Bhagavan Sri Krishna, the One who is beyond delusion, Brahma was Himself deluded. The next moment, absolutely stupefied, Brahma saw right in front of him all the cowherd boys and calves appear as Lord Sri Hari clad in yellow silk with four arms, carrying a conch, a mace and a lotus in their hands; all animate and inanimate beings, from Himself (Brahma) to a blade of grass, worshipping and serving the various forms of the Lord. As he stood gazing, Bhagavan Krishna drew off the curtain of His Maya, and Brahma had the vision of Sri Krishna standing all alone rubbing His eyes with a morsel of rice in His hand searching for His companions and calves.
Realization dawned upon Brahma that Sri Krishna is the soul of every being including himself. He is the real Creator. Overcome with shame, Brahma stood motionless. He alighted his mount, stretched, prostrated to Bhagavan washing His Feet with tears of joy. Humbled by the recollection that the glory of the Lord is unfathomable, Brahma offered his pranams repeatedly and with folded hands began to extol the Lord.
Brahma’s praise known as Brahma Stuti in Srimad Bhagavatam, is a very soulful prayer; is also regarded as a very nectarine one by all great Mahatmas. It is laden with detailed descriptions of the Lord’s many beautiful forms along with gems of invaluable lessons on Bhakti towards Bhagavan.
In this month’s episode we shall enjoy one verse from this stuti which is said to carry a very significant message for all spiritual aspirants earnestly treading the path of Bhakti.
Lord Brahma in this sloka, extols the greatness and good fortune of a Bhakta who is treading the path of Shravana Bhakti. Sri Swamiji too brings out this same message in a Madhurageetham, “Kadai KeLu Kadai KeLu” which also gives the profound essence and greatness of Shravana.
We shall relish this sloka and understand the depth of its meaning through relevant lines from this Madhurageetham.
gnyAne prayAsamudhapAsya namantha eva
jeevanthi sanmukharithAm bhavadhEya vArthAm I
SthAne sthithAhA shruthi gathAm thanu vAng manobhir
ye prAyasho ajitha jithopyasi, thai strilokyAm II
Lord Brahma extols those devotees who remain in the state as they are (Sthane sthithAhA) in deep contemplation of the Lord’s divine form, His Name and His attributes, undertaking no herculean effort nor going out of the way (gnyAne prayasamudha pAsya) to attain gnyAnA. He says, these devotees align their body, words and mind (thanu vAng manobhir) in listening to Bhagavat katha; Sri Swamiji too in this Madhurageetham beautifully explains the same as steps involved in listening – remembering the stories time and again, relishing and assimilating them in the heart and singing the kirtans (kadhaiyil ketadhai karuthinil kondu, manadhil ninaithu keerthanum pAdu ). He further goes to say that as the devotee does this keertanam, shravanam and smaranam, Bhakti initially sprouts as a sapling and then grows into a big tree to bestow the fruits of gnana, bhakti and vairagya (gnAna bhakti virakthi vaLartthu).
Sri Swamiji in the first charaNam of this song, describes in detail what these stories of the Lord (bhavadheeya vArthA) are. They are the stories of Lord Sri Rama (dharmAvathAramAna rAmanin kadaiyaiyum), the divine plays of Lord Sri Krishna (leelAvathAramAna kriShNanin kadaiyaiyum), the various incarnations of Lord Sri Hari (Hariyin anantha avathAra kadaigaLaiyum) and more importantly the stories of the devotees of the Lord (HaridAsargaLin kadaiyaiyum nI kELu ) – the stories that enhance one’s bhakti towards the Lord (yad bhAgavata mAhAthmyam bhagavat bhakti vardhanam). The stories of the Bhaktas are indeed very special because the Lord Himself is bound by the chord of their pure love and total surrender.
Sri Swamiji in the anupallavi of this song elaborates the meaning of “sanmukharithAm” – expounded by Paramahamsas who render the katha out of pure love and dis-passion (bhakti virakthiyuDan kadai solbavariDam…) and who have the experience of prema in their hearts, the experience of oneness with the Lord’s Divine Form, His qualities and the greatness of the Divine Name. These stories on entering (shruthi gathAm) into the portal of the ears automatically instil Shraddha and Bhakti in the heart (…shraddhA bhakti yuDhan kathai kELu) of the listener.
Sri Swamiji further goes to say, a devotee who leads his life thus, attains the ultimate goal in no time (thurIya nilaiyai duridatthil aDaiya) which is same as what Brahma says, that such a devotee wins even the Lord who is Himself unconquerable in all the three worlds( ajitha jithopyasi, , thai strilokyAm ).
Let us now go on to enjoy the complete song which hails the glory and power of Shravanam.
kadai kELu kadai kELu
sadA harikadaiyai nI kELu
bhakti virakthiyuDan kadai solbavariDam
shraddhA bhaktiyuDan kadai kELu
dharmAvathAramAna rAmanin kadaiyaiyum
leelAvathAramAna kriShNanin kadaiyaiyum
hariyin anantha avathAra kadaigaLaiyum
haridAsargaLin kadaiyaiyum nI kELu
aShTAnga yOgatthin utthama palanaiyum
thaTTAmal nIyum aDaindiDavE
kaShTam vilagi iShTam kai kUDa
kAlatthai naShTamAkkAmal kadai kELu
kavalaiyaip pOkki amaithi nalgiDum
avalanilai pOkki Anandam aLitthiDum
thuvaLum manadaiy thuLLiDa seydiDum
pavaLa vAyanivan kadai kELu
kadaiyil kETTadaik karutthinil koNDu
manadil ninaitthu kIrtthanam pADu
gnAna bhakti virakti vaLartthu
thurIya nilaiyai duridatthil aDaiya
viShNu rAthan pOla kadai kELu
viShNu pruthuvaip pOla kadai kELu
viShNu dAsan hanuman pOl kadai kELu
viShNu muraLIdharan kadai kELu
Hear the stories! Hear the stories!
Always hear Sri Hari’s stories!
From the one who tells Katha with absolute devotion and dis-passion,
Listen with sincerity and devotion.
The story of Lord Sri Rama – the personification of Righteousness
The stories of the Divine Plays of Lord Sri Krishna
The stories of the various incarnations of Lord Sri Hari
Listen to the stories of the great devotees of Lord Sri Hari
The real fruit of the eight-fold path of Yoga
You will attain without fail
Problems would wheel away, wishes would be fulfilled
Hear to to the glories of the Lord without wasting time
Worries would disappear, peace would prevail
Hapless state will vanish, bliss shall be bestowed
Would enable a dis-heartened one jump in joy
Listen to the story of the Coral-lipped One
Reminisce and dwell upon the story that was heard
Contemplate it in the heart and sing
Knowledge, pure love and dis-passion would grow
the final destination will be attained very fast
Hear katha like VishnurAthan
Hear katha like the King Prithu
Hear katha like Hanuman – the devotee of Lord Vishnu
Hear the katha of Sri Muralidhara (Lord Krishna)
Nithya Balasubramanian, CA
Excerpts from Sri Ramanujamji’s discourse on Brahma Sthuthi
Illustration by Jayashree Balan – 9 yrs, Richmond , Virginia