Krishna proceeds to Vrindavan to graze cows! – PurappadugindrAn Kannan
Last month, we enjoyed the go-charana (cow grazing) leelas of Lord Krishna with his friends. This month, we shall enjoy the leela of the Lord on one such day when he gets ready to leave for the forest to enjoy a picnic (Vana-bhojana) with his friends. In Bhagavatham, this episode comes just before the killing of the Aga-sura demon (python).
Sri Swamiji has described this leela in a Madhurageetham, “Purappadugindraan Kannan..”. The leela as narrated in Srimad Bhagavatham by Sri Shuka to Parikshith can be relished through this Madhurageetham as well. We shall enjoy the relevant slokas from Srimad Bhagavatham and the lines from Madhurageetham together.
One day, Krishna woke up with a desire to enjoy a picnic with his friends. Even though everyday Krishna and Balarama had their lunch with their friends, that day was special because Krishna had specifically instructed his friends on what dishes to bring. So, he was eagerly looking forward to the picnic.
On waking up, he blew his bugle and called out to his friends(prabodhayan shringa-raveNa chAruNA) and stepped out on the streets with the calves in front of him(vinirgato vatsa-pura: saro hari:). Sri Swamiji too starts the Madhurageetham saying Krishna is proceeding to Brindavan to graze the cows…(Purappadugindran kannan…..maDukanDru meytthiDa….)
As everybody watched, the little boys came out of their homes (tenaiva saakam pruthukA:…) and joined Lord Krishna with their respective cows and calves. They all looked attractive and carried beautiful lunch bags, sticks, bugles and flutes (snigdhA: sushi vetra vishANa veNava:) In the Madhurageetham, we see Sri Swamiji too describes that Krishna was standing surrounded by his friends (eTTU thozhargaL puDai sUzha), wearing a silk turban(paTTu munDAsu talaiyil paLapaLakka), carrying his lunch bag and stick (kaTTU sAdam kaTTiya kolgaLuDAn)..
The boys had been decorated with various ornaments made of glass, gunja-beads, precious stones and gold (kAcha gunjA maNI svarNa bhUshithA:). Yet, when they went to the forest, they loved to decorate themselves with the fruits, leaves, branches, flowers, peacock feathers and other objects (phala prabAla stavaka sumana: piccha dhAtubhi:..). In the second charana of the Madhurageetham, Sri Swamiji too whose eyes seem to be beholding only Krishna describes his beauty and the ornaments he is adorning.
Thus, the boys proceeded to Vrindavan teasing and playing with each other. Sri Swamiji has described this in the third charana.
Sri Shuka describes in detail how they teased each other and played with each other.
mushnanto anyonya shikhyAdIn jnAtAn aarat cha chikshipu: |
tatrayAsh cha puna: dUrAt hAsanta: cha puna: dadu: ||
They stole and hid one another’s lunch bags. When one boy came to know that his bag was stolen, the others threw it further away. They laughed and teased and then eventually return the bag.
yadi dUram gata: Krishna vana-shobekshaNAya tam |
aham pUrvam aham pUrvam iti samprshya remire ||
If Krishna went to some remote part of the forest to enjoy its beauty, the boys followed Him saying, “I will be first”, “I will be first”. Thus, they revelled in bliss by simply touching him.
Sometimes they would play the flute (kechid veNun vAdayantau…) or blow their bugles. Sometimes, they would imitate the sounds of the bees or the cuckoos or dance like the peacocks, or run after the shadows of the birds that are flying or sit quietly like the swans and the ducks. Sometimes, they would follow the monkeys and jump from one branch of the tree to another. Other times, they would imitate a frog jumping and splash right into the water and laugh as they became wet! Krishna too, who was the Supreme Lord of the Universe, joined them in their play, like an ordinary boy.
Thus, these little cowherds of Vrindavan enjoyed the Supreme Bliss (….ittham sathAm brahma sukhAnubhUtyA). Sri Swamiji too concludes the Madhurageetham saying the boys enjoyed Supreme Bliss! (…brahmAnubhavam peTranarE Ayar siRuvargaL)
This Madhurageetham reminds one of the Brahmotsav celebration that happened a few years ago in Madhurapuri Ashram. Sri Swamiji along with the little gopas and gopis, did anukarana of this leela. Bedecked with garlands of flowers and leaves, adorning a silk turban, carrying a bugle, stick and a flute, Krishna and the gopas started their journey to graze the cows. Ashram was verily the forest of Vrindavan that day and the little gopas imitated the various birds and animal calls and played various games. In addition to the gopas who took part in the anukarana, all the devotees who witnessed this leela that day in Ashram too enjoyed the same Bliss the cowherds of Vrindavan enjoyed with Sri Krishna in Dwapra Yuga.
The lyrics and the meaning of the song are presented below.
puRappaDuginDrAn kaNNan aNNan balarAmanuDan
mADukanDru mEytthiDa brindAvanatthiRku || pu ||
ODi vanda gOpiyar avanazhagai kaNDu
viyandu nayandu magizhndanarE || pu ||
eTTu thozhargaL puDai sUzha
paTTu muNDAsu talaiyil paLApaLakka
kaTTU sAdam kaTTiya kolgaLuDan
maTTillA magizhcchiyil bANDeera vanatthirku || pu ||
suruL suruLAna kEsam munneTriyil vanduvizha
karumEgam kaNDADum mayiliRagu thalaiyil asaindADa
nIruNDa mEgam vaNNam koNDa thirumEniyil
arumaiyAna mutthu mAlaigaL asaindasaindADa || pu ||
oruvarai oruvar sINDi koNDum
siRuvar palar sErndu viLaiyADik koNDum
karumaiyAna kaNNan kuzhalUdi mayakkiDa
brahmAnubhavam peTranarE Ayar siRuvargaL || pu ||
Krishna is proceeding along with his brother, Balarama
To Brindavan to graze the cows
The Gopis who came running to watch
Stood spell-bound at his beauty enjoying themselves immensely
Surrounded by eight friends
Wearing a shining silk turban on his head
His lunch tied to a stick
With happiness, (he) walks towards Bandeera forest
His curly locks falling on his forehead
With the feather of a peacock that dances seeing the rain-cloud, adorning his head
With the body the color of the rain bearing cloud
Adorned with pearl necklaces
Teasing each other
Playing with each other
With the dark colored Krishna enthralling them with his flute
The cowherd boys enjoyed the experience of Brahman!
Sowmya Balasubramanian, CA
Illustration by Thaman Sai Arepalli, Virginia