Bhaktavijaya: Stories of Indian Saints

by Justin E. Abbott | 1933

This is the English translation of Bhaktavijaya which is a Marathi poem written by Mahipati in 40,000 lines. The text documents the legends of Indian saints from various backgrounds and extensively covers figures like Ekanath, Tukaram, and Ramadasa, highlighting their contributions to scholarship, philosophy, poetry, and social reform. The Bhaktavi...

14.7: Krishna undergoes a penance

114. Having said this, the God of gods made the following request to the Brahmans, ‘Put aside all your doubts in your feelings.

115. Let us, bhaktas of Vishnu, you and all of us, hasten to the Chandrabhaga river, and I will accept whatever penance you may prescribe for Me.[1]

116. The Husband of Rukmini, who enjoys the drama of His own lila (acts), the loved Ornament of His bhaktas, accomplished before His bhaktas marvellous deeds of Maya.

117. Then Vanamali (Krishna), taking Nama’s hand and pressing it against His lotus-heart, hastened to the Chandrabhaga river with a crowd following.

118. Men and women came there to see the marvellous deed. Indra and Brahmadev [Brahmadeva] and the other gods stood by looking on.

119. The Holder of the disk (Krishna) with a crowd of saints walked in front of the procession, and the noble Brahmans hastened along in the rear.

120. In this way the Lord of the heaven Vaikunth [Vaikuntha] arrived at the Chandrabhaga and made a namaskar to Pundalik, and the servants of Vishnu shouted aloud God’s name.

121. Krishna then walked around the noble Brahmans and began the bathing prescribed in the scriptures. He whom the Husband of Mridani (Shiva) is unable to contemplate. He took in his hand til seed, the sacred darbha grass and flowers.

122. As the Brahmans repeated the mantras prescribed in the Vedas, He rubbed on Himself cowdung and ashes. Then the Life of the world, Wearer of the yellow robe, showed a wonder to His servants.

123. He let down His curled hair on His back. With very wide and lotus-eyes, the Lover of Rukmini, the One dear to His bhaktas, showed them a marvel.

124. This Life of the world, the Dweller upon the sea of milk, for whose sake many forms of austerities and postures in yoga are practised, He lovingly took the penance.

125. He whose name alone destroys faults and delivers His bhaktas from rebirths, the Giver of the promise to Pundalika, the Lord of the world, even He gladly took the penance.

126. One might search through the Vedas and Shastras and yet not understand His power—even to that blameless One it was that the Brahmans gave the penance.

127. He from whose big toe the holy Ganges started, Him they stood in the water and gave Him the penance.

128. He who is the Immoveable, the Changeless, the Eternal, the perfect One, the Pervader of the Universe, the Mass of Intelligence, they gave Him the penance of being rubbed over with cowdung and ashes.

129. The Dweller in Vaikunth [Vaikuntha], Hrishikeshi (the Lord of the heart), the Ornament of His bhaktas, ths Lord of the world, although blameless, was charged with sin and given penance.

130. After having properly bathed He clothed Himself with the yellow garment. He drank the water in which the Brahmans’ feet were washed, and in love bowed His head to them.

131. The Lord of the world then worshipped His bhaktas, and having bathed and worshipped He thus finished the regular ceremonies.

132. After worshipping the Brahmans, he gave them gifts according to the prescribed rules, and then the Life of the world said to the Brahmans, ‘You have now patronised Me.

133. I have accomplished your most cherished desire. From now on, never bring into your minds any doubtful thoughts regarding Me.

134. I have accomplished all you have asked Me to do. Now consider Me as yourselves.’* Listen to what the eagle-bannered One did after thus speaking.

Footnotes and references:


Three different readings are found in the Bhaktavijaya, Ch. XIV 134, as follows:—

(1) ātāṃ agatyarūpa mānā maja—. This is the reading in all printed editions, and would appear to be quite meaningless.

(2) ātāṃ ātmarūpa mānā maja—This reading is found in the Taharabadkar and Naik Mss. and is translated as ‘Now consider Me as yourselves.’

(3) ātāṃ agatyarūpa nāmā maja—This reading is adopted by Lakshman Babu Gokhale in the Induprakash Edition of 1888, and may be translated as ‘Now Nama is the most essential thing to me.’

(4) ātāṃ ātmarūpa nāmā maja—This is a fourth possible reading and it is tempting to regard it as correct in accordance with the widely accepted principle in dealing with ancient documents, viz., the unusual reading is often the correct one. This reading would be translated, ‘Now Nama is My own Self.’

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