Adhenna Pazhama – Part 2
We shall relish, little by little, the rasa in Sri Madhurageethams, compositions of HH Maharanyam Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji, in the form of ‘questions to relish’, which we call as a ‘quelish’, as shared by his disciple Sri Ramanujamji.
(These quelishes are being shared regularly in a whatsapp group dedicated to enjoying the rasa of Sri Madhurageethams. To join this group, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Last month as part of our first quelish- What is unique in the way Sri Swamiji describes Sri Krishna lifting Govardhana Maharaj, we enjoyed the rasa and the poetic wonderment that is laden in the first line of the Madhurageetham “adhenna pazama” in exclamation to the Lord lifting the Govardhan Maharaj mountain.
Now, we shall now move on to savor the richness of the implied meaning, hidden analogy that is very beautifully embedded in this first line.
“adhenna pazhamA illai ilaiyA illai mayilpeelithAnA
chaTTena orukaiyAl oru kaNatthil thUkki gOkulam kAtthanaiyE!”
“Is that a fruit? Or a leaf? Or a peacock feather?
Lifting it so effortlessly, in a second, with a single hand, you protected Gokula!”
Nowhere in this line, or in fact, nowhere in the entire song, does Sri Swamiji directly mention what the object is, that is being compared to a fruit or leaf or peacock feather. Yet we know right from the beginning that he is speaking of Govardhan Maharaj. This is the beauty of the hidden analogy.
Govardhana Giri Maharaj is extolled by the Gopis in Venu Gitam (SB 10-21-18) as the jewel among great bhagavathas. Mahatmas revere him as a dAsA of dAsAs, as he not only serves Lord Krishna but also His dear friends and devotees. Every blade of grass in him offers itself in humble servitude to the Lord. The sweet cool water gushing from his waterfalls supplies Krishna and Balarama, his friends and calves with water to drink and wash Their feet and mouths. Govardhan Maharaj’s fresh and succulent grasses nourish the cows with fodder and the cows happily produce honey-sweet milk. This great devotee also provides tasty edible roots to eat , mirror-like stones and glittering rocks with which Krishna and his dear friends string beads of necklaces fondly decorating themselves. The nice flat boulders on his body serve as resting spots for Krishna and His dear friends. His soft soil preserves the divine imprints of Lord Krishna’s lotus feet. Bearing the divine marks of the Lord’s feet all over his body and housing Him in the caves of his heart, this great Haridasa is jubilant and ecstatic.
The direct meaning conveyed in the pallavi of the madhurageetham is that Govardhan Maharaj is not light, but Bhagavan lifted him playfully as though he were a very light object – like a fruit or leaf or peacock feather and these specific comparisons of ‘light’ objects befit our great bhagavata Shri Govardhan Maharaj.
The highest divine poetry has a property called ‘dhwani’ – implied meaning – which needs to be discerned by rasikas. It would not be apparent to the normal eye.
Here an implied meaning is – Govardhan Maharaj is hailed as ‘rasa poorna’ – embodiment of rasa (nectar) by the Gopis and it is this juicy nectarine fruit that Sri Swamiji implies in the word ‘pazhama’, while referring to Govardhan Maharaj. The lovely “pachchai maa malai” – green gigantic mountain form of Govardhan Maharaj is implied in ilai (leaf). Another implied meaning for ilai is that, for a Krishna bhakta, leaf verily is Tulasi Devi, hence implying Govardhan Maharaj’s immense purity too. Gopis in their Venu Gitam extoll Govardhan Maharaj as ‘haridAsa varyo’, a jewel among devotees, ‘Bhagavata Shiromani’. Hence a jewel on the crown is implied by the last word ‘mayil peeli thaana!’ – peacock feather which is indeed the lone prestigious jewel on Lord Sri Krishna’s crown.
In Srimad Bhagavatam, Sri Shuka uses an example of mushroom, to depict how effortlessly Bhagavan lifted Govardhan Maharaj. Sri Swamiji’s soft heart however embellishes this comparison with something more delicate and sweet in his madhurageetham. Offerings that are worthy of Bhagavan are ‘patram pushpam phalam thoyam’ (leaf, flower, fruit and water offered with love, as He Himself says in Bhagavad Gita). Hence Sri Swamiji says – ‘Oh Giridhara Gopala, like you pluck fruits for your friends or high-growing leaves for the calves, or pick up a peacock feather for your crown, in the same way, You lifted Govardhan Maharaj in just a moment with one hand to save Gokula!’ (chattena orukaiyAl oru kaNatthil thUkki gOkulam kAtthanaiyE!)
Such is the lovely poetic embellishment of the hidden analogy in this Madhurageetham. Let us now relish this song again along with the ‘rasas’ that we have partaken.
adhenna pazhamA illai ilayA illai mayil pIlidhAnA
saTTena oru kaiyAl oru gaNatthil thUkki gokulam kAtthanaiyE
gopAla gopAla giridhara gopAla
kuLir mazhaiyAl unai thEDi oDi vandha gopa gopiyaraiyum
Avinam kanDraiyum aravaNaitthu un thiruvaDiyil vaitthu kAtthanaye (gopAla)
devar kONum naDunADungi pathapathaitthu thiruvADiyil vandhu vizhundhanane
than thavaTTrai thAne uNarndhu mannittharuLa veNDinane (gopAla)
AkAsha gangaiyAl airAvathamum kAmadhenuvum pAlai pozhiya
devargaL sUzhndhu govinda govinda enDru muDi sUTTinare (gopAla)
Is that a fruit? Or a leaf? Or a peacock feather?
Lifting it effortlessly, in a second, with a single hand, you protected Gokula!
O Gopala, Gopala, Giridhara Gopala
Suffering from the cold weather and rain, the Gopas and Gopis came searching for you,
Embracing the cows and calves, you sheltered them under Your Feet and protected them
Trembling with fear, the Lord of the Devas (Indra), came and fell at Your Feet
Having realized his mistake, he begged for forgiveness.
With the Akasha Ganga from the heavens carried by Airavata, and Kamadhenu showering milk
The Devas coronated You as “Govinda”, as they chanted Govinda Govinda
Nithya Balasubramanian, Pleasanton, CA
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