Govinda, the Beautiful One
Govindanukku Aatpatta Kudumbamamma… #1
(Family beholden to Govinda!)
This series was originally published in Tamil MadhuraMurali monthly magazine in India, as a 12-part series. Based on Sri Swamiji’s Madhurageetham, “Govindanukku Aatpatta Kudumbamamma Engal Kudumbam”, it speaks beautifully of how the family members of our satsang lead / need to lead their lives.
This is the translation of the first article in this series. We shall see each of the following parts in the coming issues.
Our Krishna is the embodiment of beauty; His Name is also beautiful; His voice, flute, His lotus feet are all beautiful indeed! Our Guru Maharaj sings of this in his Madhurageetham:
needhAn azhagenDrAl un peyarum azhagO
(O Krishna, You are beautiful! And so is Your Name!)
(un) peyar thAn azhagenDrAl un kuralum azhagO
(Your Name is indeed beautiful! And so is Your voice!)
kural thAn azhagenDrAl un kuzhal Osaiyum azhagO
(Your voice is indeed beautiful! And so is the music of Your flute!)
1. Urum azhagO un leelaiyum azhagO, mEytthiDum pasuvum kanDrum azhagO
(Your abode is beautiful, Your leelas are beautiful! The cows and calves You graze are indeed beautiful!)
2. bhaktarum azhagO paripAlippadum azhagO, azhagan un thoDarbAl anaitthum azhagO
(Your devotees are beautiful, the way You guide them is also beautiful!
O Beautiful One! Simply through association with You, everything is indeed beautiful!)
An Acharya’s nectarine heart, filled with Krishna rasa, sang, “madhurAdhipate akhilam madhuram…” (O Lord of Sweetness, everything about You is indeed sweet!); while our Guru Maharaj’s heart that is overwhelmed by Krishna’s beauty, sings, “azhagan un thoDarbAl anaitthum azhagO!” (O Beautiful One, simply through association with You, everything is indeed beautiful!) like that of Rukmini Devi’s heart which sang, “Bhuvana Sundara…” (He who makes the world beautiful!)
Which name of this Beautiful One would Sri Swamiji have meant, when he sang, “un peyarum azhagO?” (Your name is also beautiful!) No doubt, it is that name that tastes sweet to the tongue – Govinda!
Has our Guru Maharaj not sung sweetly, “Govinda, undhan nAmame azhagu…” (Govinda, your Name itself is so beautiful!)? This is the name that the Gopis, the epitomes of bhakti, enjoy the foremost.
Damodara is the name that shows Krishna’s immense bhakta vatsalyam. Did that Krishna not allow Himself to be tied to the mortar purely due to the love of His mother?
Govinda is the name that shows Sri Krishna’s empathy for His devotees, and His resolve that “I will do anything for my devotees who have surrendered to Me!” and “It is My everlasting vow that I will embrace and protect My devotees.” It is inspired by the surrender of these Gopas and Gopis that Bhagavan Sri Krishna said –
“gOpAye svAtmayOgEna sOyam mE vrata Ahitah” (Srimad Bhagavatam 10:25:18)
– and became Govardhana Giridharalal.
It was Madhava who blessed the great prema bhaktas, the Gopis, and our swamini Sri Radha Rani, with the beautiful prema leelas in Brindavanam.
The first of these leelas was Damodara leela, then Govinda’s Govardhana leela, and then Madhava’s rasa leela. Still, this name of Govinda is the most beautiful among the beautiful; the sweetest of the sweet. This is why the Gopis sing, “Govinda, Damodara, Madhava” in that order.
Sri Andal, who did anukaranam of our Gopis’ vratha (paavai nonbu), sings only the Govinda nama three times in her pasurams:
“kUDArai vellum seer gOvindA”
“kurai ondrum illAda gOvindA”
“iTTrai parai koLvAn anDru kAN gOvindA”
It is this Govinda whom our Guru Maharaj sings as “needhAn azhagenDrAl un peyarum azhagO.” (O Krishna, You are beautiful! And so is Your Name!). Towards the end of that same song, he sings, “bhaktarum azhagO paripAlippadum azhagO, azhagan un thoDarbAl anaitthum azhagO!” (Your devotees are beautiful, the way You guide them is also beautiful! O Beautiful One! Simply through association with You, everything is indeed beautiful!)
It is not that Govinda protected His devotees only on that day. He protects them always – on that day, this day, and forever. Isn’t surrendering to Him and doing His bidding the way for us devotees to be connected with Him? When we are like that, He takes care of us beautifully and makes our life also beautiful.
The Beautiful One wished to listen to a beautiful song glorifying the beauty of His love for His devotees and the beauty of His devotees’ lives. So He made a Madhurageetham rise in the heart of our Guru Maharaj and received it joyfully.
That most wonderful Madhurageetham is only “gOvindanukku ATpaTTa kuDumbamammA engaL kuDumbam…” (Ours is a family beholden to Govinda!). This Madhurageetham celebrates, dances, and sings lovingly of the beauty of Bhagavan’s care for His devotees. With our Guru’s grace, shall we enter into this Madhurageetham?
(Govinda’s beauty will continue to shine further…)
Sri M. K. Ramanujam, Chennai, India
Originally published in Tamil MadhuraMurali magazine, May 2020 issue