Sri Krsna's Vrindavan Associates – Sridama,
Part Four


Krsna and the Gopas

Mar 29, 2011 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of Sri Krsna's transcendental Vrindavan associates.

Today we continue with our discussion of Lord Krsna's priya-sakha Vrindavan friend, Sridama dasa. Just as Sridama's personality, characteristics and pastimes are disclosed in sastra by passages identifying Krsna's association with him, so the gopa Sridama is mentioned in relationship to Lord Balarama and Srimati Radharani.

Sridama is very famously known as the elder brother of Radharani, described by Srila Raghunatha dasa Goswami in his Sri Sri Radhika-astottara-sata-nama stotram, which praises the glories of Sri Radha:

    [Sri Radha is…] "Damodar's unrivalled queen who bestows fame on the Kartika month, the crestjewel of Mukunda's ladyfriends

    bhaskaropasika varsabhanavi vrsabhanuja
    ananga manjari jyestha sridama varajottama

    Who worships the sun, Who belongs to King Vrsabhanu, Who is born from King Vrsabhanu, Ananga Manjari's older sister, Sridama's younger sister, The greatest…"

    (Sri Sri Radhika-astottara-sata-nama stotram, Verses 8-15, by Srila Raghunatha dasa Goswami)

In the Sri Visakhanandabhidha-stotra, 'Prayers with Names that are the Bliss of Visakha', we find another description of Radha as the sister of Sridama:

    "She expands the fame of Maharaja Vrsabhanu's dynasty. She is a faithful worshipper of the sun-god. She is a valuable jewel taken from the mind known as Kirtida-devi. She is very beautiful. Her beauty defeats the goddess of fortune.

    She is Ananga-manjari's elder sister. She is Sridama's younger sister. She brings great happiness to him. She is the granddaughter that is nectar for Mukhara's eyes. She is Mukhara's shelter."

    (Sri Visakhanandabhidha-stotra, from Srila Raghunatha dasa Goswami's Sri Stavavali, Verses 9-10)

Sridama is also mentioned in the following instructions for the worship of Lord Balarama:

    "Then, chanting the word namah before each one, and putting each word in the dative case, one should worship Lord Balarama's conchshell (with the mantra sankhaya namah), disc (cakraya namah), club (gadayai namah), lotus (padmaya namah), sword (asaye namah), bow (dhanushe namah), arrows (banebhyah namah), plow (halaya namah), club (musalaya namah), Kaustubha jewel (kaustubhaya namah), forest garland (vanamalayai namah), Srivatsa mark (srivatsaya namah), yellow garments (pitambaraya namah), blue garments (nilambaraya namah), flute (vamsyai namah), stick (vetraya namah), chariot marked with the flag of Garuda (garudanka-rathaya namah), chariot marked with the flag of a palm tree (talanka-rathaya namah), and His associates Daruka (darukaya namah), Sumati (sumataye namah), Kumuda (kumudaya namah), Kumudaksha (kumudakshaya namah), and Sridama (sridamaya namah)."

    (Sri Balarama-paddhati-patala, Sri Garga-samhita, Canto Eight, Vol. II, Chapter Ten, Text 22)

Sri Krsna enjoyed countless pastimes in the company of His dearmost Vraja associate, Sridama sakha. It will take us many more segments to cover them all. First let us offer a few sastric descriptions of Sri Krsna's pastimes in which Sridama is mentioned. These generally fall into the categories of cowherding activities, pastimes with the gopis, and pastimes killing the demons.

In a song from Padavali we read:

    "Surrounded by His cows, Lord Krishna enjoys pastimes on the Yamuna's banks. The powerful boy-hero Krishna is surrounded by Dama, Sridama, Sudama, and the boys and cows."

    (Padavali by Srila Govinda dasa Thakur - Song 82 (Saranga-raga), Verse 1)

In a similar passage from Srila Sanatana Goswami's Sri Brhad-Bhagavatamrta (1.7.42-43) we read:

    "As He walked, herding the cows, Krishna saw the ocean. Thinking it the Yamuna, He happily called His friends (to come and) play:

    "Where are My friends? Sridama! Subala! Arjuna! Everyone happily run here! We will make the cows drink from the Yamuna, and then We will play as We like! We will dive into the river flowing with sweet, pure, cool water!'"

There is mention in Sri Radha-rasa-sudha-nidhi by Prabodhananda Sarasvati of Sridama's participation in a pastime where Krsna is discussing Radha's presence in the woods:

    "Sridama, Subala, Vrsabha, Stokakrsna, Arjuna, what did you see? My frightened eyes would not enter that forest."

    "A goddess who flooded all the worlds with Her beauty robbed our dear friend of everything He owned." (228)

There are several verses in Srila Jiva Goswami's Sri Sankalpa-kalpadruma which mention Sridama's participation in various Vraja pastimes with Krsna:

    [Describing Sri Krishna, the son of Nanda,…]

    "...who, imitating the bees and other creatures, played with Balarama, Sridama, and other friends in beautiful Vrndavan forest..." (37)

    "...who on the pretext of playing with Sridama, Sudama, Bhadrasena, Arjuna and the others, arranged for the killing of Pralambasura..." (65)

    "...who in the summer called one by one His gopa friends, eager to play with Him, who delighted them by saying... (77)
    ..."Stokakrishna! Amsu! Sridama! Subala! Arjuna! Visala! Vrsabha! Ojasvi! Devaprastha! Varuthapa!"... (78)
    "...who after calling them joked about the exalted position of the unmoving trees of Vrndavan..." (79)

    (Sri Sankalpa-kalpadruma - The Kalpadruma Tree That Fulfills All Desires, Chapter One by Srila Jiva Goswami)

Sridama sakha's transcendental identity as Krsna's dearmost friend and one of the topmost gopas is evident in this nectarian passage from Srila Rupa Goswami's Uddhava Sandesh:

    "O Uddhava! To those beautiful cows who upon hearing the sweet song of My flute became restless and leaving aside their calves, rushed to Me with tears gushing from their eyes.

    You kindly go close to them and sing My glories loudly and inquire with great love how they are. (93)

    When Brahma had stolen their calves, I had taken the form of those calves and drunk the sweet milk of those cows. You please offer My obeisances again and again to my mothers (cows). (94)

    When I would go to the forest to see the flowers, Sridama and My other dear friends would come rushing happily to touch me, shouting: "I will be first, I will be first." (95)

    Taking My name and inquiring about their well-being, affectionately embrace them over and over on My behalf." (96)

Until the next week when this series resumes, we end our meditation on Sridama sakha with a final passage from Uddhava Sandesh"

    "That most merciful Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, Who enjoys childhood pastimes with Sridama and the other cowherd boys, Who dances with the young beautiful gopis and also playfully destroys many demons, should be remembered, for He will deliver you to the other shore of the ocean of birth and death." (131)

    (Uddhava Sandesh by Srila Rupa Gosvami)


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