The Padma Purana

by N.A. Deshpande | 1951 | 1,261,945 words | ISBN-10: 8120838297 | ISBN-13: 9788120838291

This page describes devotees of krishna born in gokula as cowherdesses which is chapter 72 of the English translation of the Padma Purana, one of the largest Mahapuranas, detailling ancient Indian society, traditions, geography, as well as religious pilgrimages (yatra) to sacred places (tirthas). This is the seventy-second chapter of the Patala-Khanda (Section On The Nether World) of the Padma Purana, which contains six books total consisting of at least 50,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

Disclaimer: These are translations of Sanskrit texts and are not necessarily approved by everyone associated with the traditions connected to these texts. Consult the source and original scripture in case of doubt.

Chapter 72 - Devotees of Kṛṣṇa Born in Gokula as Cowherdesses

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

The lord said:

1-6a. O you beautiful goddess, listen with a concentrated mind: There was a sage, named Ugratapas who was firm in his vow. He, performing rites in honour of Agni, ate (i.e. subsisted on) fire, and practised a very wonderful penance. He muttered the great hymn, fit to be muttered and having fifteen letters, bound together by a desire-yielding hymn, securing desired objects from one giving the desired boon, with the word Kṛṣṇāya (to Kṛṣṇa), along with the word Svāhā (offered to), and giving great prosperity. He meditated upon the dark Kṛṣṇa, mad with dance, eager to grant a boon, having put on a yellow garment, with a flute put at his lower lip, endowed with fresh youth, and dragging his beloved with his hand. Thus, the great sage, engaged in meditation, cast his body after the end of hundred kalpas and was born as the daughter of the cowherd by name Sunandā.

6b-11. She was called Sunandā and held a lute in her hand. There was another sage named Satyatapas practising a great bow. He ate (i.e. subsisted on) dry leaves and muttered a great hymn, ending in devotion, bound by ten letters having the seed of desire. The best sage meditated upon Viṣṇu who put on a variegated dress, who held the creeper-like arms of Ramā, bright with bracelets, who was dancing, getting mad, repeatedly embracing (Ramā), laughing loudly, and having waves of joy in the sky (i.e. cavity) of his belly, holding the flute, who was decorated with the necklace reaching his knees, whose face with folds on his forehead was wet with the drops of sweat.

12-19a. Again and again, casting his body, the great sage, after ten kalpas, was born here from Nandavana, as the daughter of the cowherd named Subhadra, and known as Bhadrā. On her back is seen a divine fan. There was a certain sage named Haridhāman. He practised a difficult penance and always ate leaves only. He muttered a hymn of twenty letters, giving the fruit quickly. Then from the (hymn having) the seed of desire, he got upon it only (obscure!). There was Māyā; in front of her were water, swans, saffron and bright moon. Then, recollecting and with a salutation (he muttered the hymn) with ten letters and in the charming bower of the jasmine-creeper he meditated upon the lord who was lying on his back on the beautiful bed of leaves, whose expansive chest was being repeatedly covered by a cowherdess who was greatly overcome with passion and whose eyes were red, with her pair of breasts, who (i.e. the lord) was being kissed on his cheeks, and whose lips were being gratified, who, the wonderful one, was with a smile holding his beloved with his arms.

19b-28. That sage, having cast many bodies was born after three kalpas as the daughter having auspicious marks, of a cowherd named Raṅga. She was known as Raṅgaveṇī. She was skilled in drawing pictures. On her teeth were variegated marks of red colour. There was (also) a sage named Jābāli, a teacher of the Vedas. He, engaged in austerities, roamed over this earth. Once, by chance, he went to a great forest extending over a myriad of yojanas. There he saw a very beautiful well which had on all sides crystal-walls, which was full of sweet water, which was cooled with breezes fragrant with blooming lotuses. In the region to its west, at the root of a banyan tree he saw a female ascetic who was practising a severe penance, was endowed with youth, was of an extremely beautiful form, whose lustre was like the lunar rays, all of whose limbs were beautiful, who had put her left hand on her waist, and made the position of the fingers of her right hand as practised in religious worship, whose eyes were steady, who had given up food and enjoyment, and who had remained steady. The excellent sage desiring to know her (to know who she was) remained there for a hundred years. At the end of that (period) the sage raised her, and politely said to her who was walking (away).

29-30a. He asked her: “Who are you of a wonderful form? What will you do? If it would be proper (to tell me), then please tell it to me.” Then the young lady, who was extremely emaciated due to the penance, slowly said (to him):

30b-33. “I am the matchless knowledge of Brahman, who am sought after by best meditating saints. That I, meditating upon the supreme spirit, have been practisi ng in this fierce forest for a long time penance with a desire for Viṣṇu’s lotus-like feet. I am full of the joy of Brahman. My mind is pleased with that joy. Yet, I am looking upon myself to be lonely for want of Kṛṣṇa’s love. Now I am extremely dejected, and desire to cast this body in this auspicious well here only.”

34-46. Hearing these words of her the sage being extremely amazed and with great love fell at her feet and asked her about the auspicious rite of the service of Viṣṇu after having abandoned dislike for the self. Having known (i.e. learnt) the hymn told by her he went to the Mānasa lake. Then he practised an amazing penance very difficult to practise. Standing on one leg and looking at the sun unwinkingly he muttered a great hymn of twenty-five letters. With great devotion he meditated upon Kṛṣṇa who was of the form of joy, who was moving along the streets of Vraja with a strange and sporting gait, who was making a jingling sound of his anklets with charming steps, who attracted the minds and bodies of the beautiful women of Vraja with the knots of their garments loose and suddenly embracing him, with various sports of love and side-glances accompanied by a smile, and with the charming golden flute called Sammohana, having the fifth note, and kissing (i.e. touching) his bimba-like lower lip, who had put on divine flowers and garments, and who had smeared divine sandal (to his body), who enticed the three worlds with the mass of the lustre of his dark body. Thus having worshipped the lord of the world with many hymns he was born in Gokula at the end of nine kalpas as a daughter having divine form, of a very famous cowherd named Pracaṇḍa. The girl of an auspicious face was well-known as Citragandha and delighted the ten directions with the various fragrances of her body. See her, the auspicious one, who drinks sweet drinks from Vṛnda, who, being full of passion takes her husband on her body. Necklaces strike her breasts while in contact with them, while fragrances of lovely aloe-wood etc., fall out from them.

47-54. Other great sages whose minds are always pure and who eat (i.e. subsist on) air, muttering a great (i.e. very sacred) hymn,practised penance: ‘A recollection to (i.e. of) Kṛṣṇa, having the skill of destroying passion.’ Having recited the hymn of fifteen letters the great sages meditated on the figure of Kṛṣṇa, along with Agni’s wife, the image which was having divine ornaments, whose fleshy waist was covered with a beautiful silken garment, whose crest was covered with peacock’s feathers, whose earrings were bright, who had put the right lotus-like foot on the left shank, who, after having folded his charming lotus-like hands, was wandering, who had put the flute with its cover moving at his waist-region, who gave delight to the eyes and minds of the cowherdesses, who had very wonderfully entered the hall that was filled (i.e. covered) with showers of flowers on all sides by the cowherdesses. Then having cast their bodies at the end of the kalpa they are now born here. On their ears are-seen large ear-rings shining with gems. Round their necks are jewelled necklaces, and in their braids are (put) flowers.

55-59. There was a sage named Śuciśravas. There was also another sage named Suvarṇa. They, proficient in the Vedas, were the sons of Kuśadhvaja. With their feet put up (in the air i.e. standing on their heads), they practised a severe penance with a three-lettered hymn. With their minds controlled, they muttered (the hymn) saying ‘Hrīm, Haṃsa’. They meditated upon Kṛṣṇa (living) in Gokula, a child ten years old, and constantly enticing the beautiful women looking at him, with his figure like Cupid and with his charming youth. At the end of the kalpa they, having cast their bodies, were born in Vraja as the extremely beautiful daughters of the cowherd Suvira. In their hands were seen two parrots of auspicious sounds.

60-66a. There were four sages—Jaṭila, Jaṅghapūta, Gḥrtāśī and Karbu—who were blessed and were desireless here and in (i.e. for) the next world. With single devotion they sought the refuge of (Kṛṣṇa) the lover of the cowherdesses. Plunging themselves into water, they muttered a hymn having ten letters with a recollection (of Kṛṣṇa) at the beginning and end, and put together by the triad of Ramās. As cowherdesses, they with deep devotion meditated upon (Kṛṣṇa) who was wandering in every forest, who was valuing the charming, whose entire body was smeared with sandal, who had put on a China rose as an ear-ornament, who had undergone a change due to a garland of lotuses, and was covered with blue and yellow garments. At the end of three kalpas they were born in Gokula (as cowherdesses) of auspicious marks. Those charming ones with curved eyebrows are seated in front. Round their forearms are lovely bracelets supported by (i.e. decked with) gems etc. and divine pearls etc.

66b-73. In the former kalpa a sage name Dīrghatapas was the Vyāsa. His excellent and very intelligent boy, always remembering the feet (of Kṛṣṇa), abandoned his father, mother etc. and meditating on Kṛṣṇa went to a forest. There he, night and day, without eating anything, worshipped god Viṣṇu who had taken up the form of a cow(-herd). With great devotion, muttering the hymn of eighteen letters put together by Ramā, he reflected upon Hari who was seated in a golden pavilion upon a golden seat, who was holding a golden flute with the tips of his golden hands, who was whirling a golden lotus with his right hand, who looked charming due to his body clasped by his dear beloved of a golden complexion, who was laughing with great joy and who was looking at his hermitage. He, full of tears due to joy, with his body decked with horripilation, loudly saying, ‘O lord, be pleased’, and trembling, fell on the ground to salute the creator of the world with a prostration.

74-79. Saying loudly ‘I am fatigued’, Viṣṇu with his eyes full of joy, holding the hands of him who desired devotion, who had prostrated himself (before him) like a staff, touched him and spoke to that Śuka, who had obtained the form of his beloved: “O good one, you are my beloved. Thinking of my form, and having become the abode of my love, stay by me.” Two cowherdesses are chief, are of the same age, and auspicious. They are practising a steady vow, are of a firm devotion, and are named after the same constellation. One is bright like heated gold and the other has the lustre of lightning. The eyes of one are sleepy, (while) the eyes of the other are pleasing and long (i.e. broad). He worshipped with great devotion the left and right sides of Viṣṇu; and at the end of the kalpa, he, having cast his body, was born as Upananda’s daughter, resembling in beauty the petal of a blue lotus, in Gokula of that magnanimous one.

80-9la. That one is Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s wife who had put on a yellow garment, who is covered with a red bodice, whose breasts are like golden pitchers, who has put on her entire body the veil of red lead, whose cheeks are shining with golden ear-rings, and who is very beautiful. She is adorned with the garland of golden lotuses, and her stout breasts are smeared with saffron. In her hand there is something to be chewed, given to her by Hari. She is very skilled in playing upon a flute and (other) musical instruments; she is the attendant of Keśava (i.e. Śrī Kṛṣṇa), and some time is engaged by the delighted Kṛṣṇa in singing. An auspicious string of guñjā fruits shines round her conch-like neck. (She is) afflicted by love due to Kṛṣṇa’s charm even in his absence; (Kṛṣṇa) causing this young lady to dress as he likes, would make her, singing extremely melodiously, dance, when her friends are playing upon musical instruments. Again and again, she devoutly embraces and kisses Govinda. She is dear to all cowherdesses and is also very dear to Kṛṣṇa. (Then) there was the son of Śvetaketu. He had mastered Vedas and Vedāṅgas. Giving up all this, he resorted to great penance. He constantly muttered the eleven-lettered hymn, meditating upon her who had served the feet of Kṛṣṇa, who was resonant like the sweet Gaṅgā, who was a dear power of Govinda, who was inaccessible to Brahmā, Rudra etc., who was devoutly resorting to the charming glory of (Kṛṣṇa). Making everybody laugh, and keeping himself on sylvan paths, and settling the world all round with smiling lustre, always thinking about the meaning of the hymn, he lived in the spring.

91b-100. He too, after a couple of kalpas attained perfection, and was born here. This girl of a thin body, having bud-like breasts, with a necklace of pearls shining round her neck, having put on a pure silken garment, having anklets, bracelets, armlets, and rings inlaid with pearls, acts like a child. She put on divine ear-rings which were oozing nectar and were auspicious. She had (a mark) like the dot of red lead in her braid that was dressed with musk. On her forehead she had a mark along with (sectarian) marks of sandal. That same tranquil one was seen to worship the highest position (i.e. Brahman). There was a handsome royal sage by name Candraprabha. By Kṛṣṇa’s grace he got a son with a charming figure. He was known as Citradhvaja and was a devotee of Viṣṇu from his childhood. The king taught the great eighteen-lettered hymn through a brahmaṇa to his good son who was handsome, well-composed and twelve years old. When the boy was being sprinkled with water full of the nectar-like hymns, he, that moment only, full of tears, saluted the king. That day the guileless boy of a pure heart, wearing a spotless garment, adorned with necklaces, anklets, strings, neck-ornaments, armlets and bracelets, having touched (i.e being full of) devotion to Viṣṇu, went to the temple of Viṣṇu, remained (there) all alone, and thought:

101-107a. ‘How shall I worship him who is worshipped (by his devotees), who fascinates the cowherdesses and always sports with them on the sand-bank of Kālindī and in the forest.’ The boy thinking like this and with his mind very much perturbed, obtained a very great lore and also had a dream. Before him there was the figure of Kṛṣṇa. It was beautiful. It was made of stone. It was (placed) on a golden seat. It was marked with all (good) characteristics. It was dark like a blue lotus. It was having glossy beauty. It was adorned with peacocks’ feathers. It was having charm due to three folds; it was gladly playing upon the flute which was made of gold and was put to his lower lip. It was served by two beautiful damsels standing on its left and right sides. It aggravated their passion with kisses. embraces etc. Citradhvaja, having seen Kṛṣṇa having a sporting attire like that, was abashed in his mind, and bent his head before him.

107b-116. Hari, laughing, said to the beloved on his right side: “O you lotus-eyed one, having produced a divine, wonderful form of a young lady, resembling you and being very bashful and seated on your body, look upon it as non-distinct from your body. Touched by the lustres in your body it will have your form.” Then that lotus-eyed one went near Citradhvaja, and remained thinking his body to be non-different from her body. Then the lustres from her body filled his body. From the lustre of her breasts, too charming, stout breasts were produced. From the lustre of her buttocks, charming, round hips were produced. From the lustre of the hair, ornamented hair was produced. From (the lustre of) her two hands, hands were produced. Thus, everything—ornaments, garments, garlands etc.—was well-accomplished. And with fragrance inside, she became skilled in arts. Seeing, as one lamp (is lighted) from another, that fortunate girl on the earth, named Citradhvajā, who was charming with a smile and was beautiful, she, by her arms, seized her with love and gladly took her away. And having embraced the woman standing by Govinda’s side, she said: “This is your female servant. Give her a name. With love tell her, the beloved, liked by you, (what) service (she should do to you).”

117-129a. Then, as she liked, she named her Citrakalā, and said: “For serving the lord of our life, full of virtues, you take the flute, always remain near him, and sing in various notes. This is the practice enjoined upon you.” Then Citrakalā, obeying the order saluted Mādhava. Having seized the feet of his beloved and having taken the dust-particles from his feet (on her head), she sang very sweet songs, giving joy to both of them. Then Kṛṣṇa, the embodiment of joy, embraced her with love. When she was fully (merged) in the ocean of joy, she woke up. Citradhvaja, overcome with great love, and intent on remembering that (Kṛṣṇa) only, the highest joy, wept with a free voice (i.e. freely). Since then, giving up food and pleasures, he, who was weeping, though talked to by his father etc. did not say any word. Resorting to Kṛṣṇa at night, he remained in his house for a month. (Then) going out (of the house) to a forest, he (there) practised a penance, difficult to be practised by sages. After casting his body at the end of a kalpa, that great sage, only due to his penance, was born as the auspicious daughter named Citrakalā, of a cowherd named Vīragupta. On her shoulder, a charming lute, adorned with the seven notes, was always seen. On (her) left (shoulder) a wonderful golden pitcher (decked) with jewels, remained. In her right hand, (she had) a jewelled spittoon. (Then) there was a sage, Kaśyapa’s son, named Puṇyaśravas, who knew all duties. His father was a devotee of Śiva, and everyday praised the lord of gods, the lord of the universe (i.e. Śiva) who loves his devotees.

129b-134a. Śiva along with Pārvatī was pleased with him. He granted him a boon at midnight on the fourteenth day (of a fortnight): “Even as a child, your son will be a great devotee of Kṛṣṇa. Having performed his thread-ceremony in his eighth year, teach him the twenty-one-lettered hymn which (will) be told (to you) by me. This hymn, called Gopāla-vidyā (lore of Gopāla), gives the power of (getting whatever is expressed by) words. On the tip of the tongue of him who accomplishes this, the wonderful account of Kṛṣṇa remains. The figure of the Infinite one himself, granting boons, comes (to him). Beginning to recite the hymn with the words Kāmamāyā Ramākaṇṭha Sendrā Dāmodarojjvalā (i.e. the bright Dāmodara with Indra etc.), then reciting the ten-lettered (hymn) in the middle, he should again refer to them.

134b-147. I shall tell you the meditation with the sages etc. expressed by ten letters. He should remember the island full of light of the full treasure of nectar, and surrounded by Kālindī, (and) he should reflect on him in the grove of Vṛndāvana. It is covered with trees and creepers dropping flowers in all seasons, and (resounding) with the cries of dancing and intoxicated peacocks and the crying cuckoos and (humming) bees. In it is a great Pārijāta-tree which is a hundred yojanas tall and has the expanse of branches and twigs. At its spotless foot, the young cowherds holding flutes and syringes have formed a circle, surrounded by a circle of cows. Inside it there was a charming circle of the beautiful women of Vraja, who had many presents in their hands, whose minds were overcome with ardent passion, who had joined the palms of their hands (in obeisance); it was a circle of them who had put on white garments, who were adorned with bright ornaments, whose hearts were overcome with love. He would think about the dear words of the daughters of Śruti (i.e. sacred ordinance). Then on the jewelled altar he would think about Hari, covered with a silken garment, lying on the breasts of Rādhā on a portion of a plantain tree, and looking at her beautiful face with a charming smile on it, with his left foot slightly bent, embracing his beloved with the left hand holding a flute, touching her chin with his right hand, having the brightness of pearls, having large eyes like white lotuses, having put on a yellow and spotless garment, with his head shining with a load (i.e. mass) of peacocks’ feathers, charming due to a necklace of pearls, having ear-rings of the shape of crocodiles shining on his cheeks, having a Tulasī-garland (hanging) up to his feet, having the ornaments like bracelets and armlets, adorned with anklets, rings and a girdle, being very delicate, being of the age of a child; the worship is said to be of ten letters only. The initiatory rite is marked with the scriptures.

148-154. Saying so the lord vanished; so also the goddess, daughter of the (Himālaya) mountain and his chaste wife. The sage having come (to his) son taught him like that. Puṇyaśravas, after having vanquished all the sages, described (in) various (words) him who was having wonderful marks like form, beauty, cleverness and charm. Then the boy, delighted at heart, went out of his house. Eating (i.e. subsisting on) air, he practised penance for three myriad kalpas. At the end of it he was born in Gokula, in the house of Nanda’s brother. Her name was Lavaṅgā. She observed (i.e. knew) the internal thoughts of Kṛṣṇa. In her hand is seen the mechanism with which the face was washed. I have thus told you about certain principal beloveds of Kṛṣṇa. That man, who devoutly reads or causes to read this chapter full of many pleasures of Kṛṣṇa along with the excellent girls in Vraja, having charming and smiling eyes, goes to the abode of the lord Śrī Vāsudeva.

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