Sri Krsna's Vrindavan Associates – Sridama,
BY: SUN STAFF
Krsna and the Gopas
Jammu/Kashmir, c. 1700
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Apr 11, 2011 CANADA (SUN) A serial presentation of Sri Krsna's transcendental Vrindavan associates.
Yesterday we discussed Sri Krsna's dearmost friend, Sridama sakha, and the pastimes in which he assisted Krsna and Balarama in defeating the demons Pralamba and Dhenuka. Sridama's participation in both these pastimes is mentioned in both Srimad Bhagavatam 10th Canto and in Krsna Book.
Another of the demon-killing pastimes that Sridama was involved in was the killing of the demon Kamsa, although Sridama is not mentioned by name in either the Bhagavatam or Krsna Book narrations. Likewise, Sridama's involvement in the death of Sankhcuda is mentioned in some Vaisnava sastra, but not in Krsna Book or the 10th Canto.
Where we do find mention of Sridama in association with the Kamsa and Sankhcuda pastimes is in the Sri Garga-samhita, which has often been quoted in this 'Vrindavan Associates' series. Although the Garga-samhita is not considered to be a primary text for the Gaudiya Vaisnavas, it has been cited numerous times by our Sampradaya Acaryas. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur has referred to it in several of his purports and tika commentaries, including Sri Amnaya-sutra and Navadvipa-dhama-mahatmya (3.19). It is also mentioned by Srila Sanatana Gosvami in his Dig-darsini commentary on Brhad-bhagavatamrta (1.1. 21-23):
"The confidential science of pure devotional service is taught explicitly only in a few Vedic scriptures little known to the public. Amongst these rare texts are the Gopala-tapani Upanisad, the Narada-pancaratra, the Garga-samhita, the Visnu Purana, the Hari-vamsa Upapurana, the Uttara-khanda of the Padma Purana, and the Bhagavata Maha-purana."
In Garga-samhita 5.1.8 we find a narration of Kamsa-vadha - the killing of Kamsa. After Krsna and Balarama had defeated many of Kamsa's wrestlers, who fled the arena in fear, Krsna began to have a mock fight with Sridama sakha and some of His other gopa friends to entertain the onlookers:
ete nipatita range
sadyo vai nidhanam gatah
tesham jyotimsi vaikunthe
vivisuh pasyatam satam
As the saintly people of Mathura looked on, the effulgent
souls of the wrestlers killed in the arena entered the spiritual
world of Vaikuntha.
malleshu nihateshu ca
seshah pradudruvur malla
After many wrestlers were thus killed by Krishna and Balarama,
the others, terrified and intent on staying alive, fled.
sridamadin vayasyams ca
gopan akrishya madhavah
taih sardham yuddham arebhe
sarvesham pasyatam satam
Then, calling Sridama and His other gopa friends, Krishna
began to fight with them as the saintly people of Mathura looked
viharantau vikshya range
As Krishna and Balarama, wearing crowns and earrings, played
with the gopa boys in the arena, the people of Mathura gazed at
Them and became filled with wonder.
kamsam vina sarva-mukhaj
sadhu sadhv iti vado 'bhun
nedur dundubhayas tatah
From every mouth, except Kamsa's, came the words
Victory!" and "Bravo! Bravo!" Then all the dundubhi
svasyajayam vikshya kamso
Seeing his own men defeated, Kamsa will filled with anger.
Stopping the turya drums, he spoke, his lips trembling.
prasahya nihsarayatasu mat-purat
harantu sarvam vraja-vasinam dhanam
badhnita nandam sahasati-durmatim
Kamsa said: I order that the two fools that are Vasudeva's sons should at once be thrown out of my city. The wealth of
Vraja's people should be plundered. Wicked-hearted Nanda should
be bound and imprisoned.
adyograsenasya pituh ku-buddheh
saureh siras casu hi chindhi chindhi
kau yatra tatrapi tathatra vrishni-
jatan suramsan kila sudayadhvam
Ugrasena, my foolish father, and foolish Vasudeva should
both be beheaded. Wherever they are on this earth, the Vrishnis,
who are incarnations of the demigods, should be killed.
sahasotpatya tam mancam
Sri Narada said: As Kamsa was speaking in this wild way,
Lord Krishna, filled with anger, suddenly jumped into his box.
(Garga-samhita, Canto Five, Volume One, Chapter Eight)
Just as Sridama is mentioned in the Garga-samhita narration of Kamsa's defeat, we find that Krsna's sakha friend is also featured in the story of Sankhacuda's liberation. This pastime was mentioned in a previous segment on the priya-sakha cowherd boy, Sudama. According to the Brahma Vaivrata Purana and Siva Purana, two Sanskrit texts not purported by our Sampradaya Acaryas, after his Vraja-lila pastimes with Krsna, Sudama's next incarnation was as the personality Sankhacuda.
As we noted in the Sudama article, there appears to be a contradiction between the story as told in the 'Life of Tulsi Devi', which is based upon these two Sanskrit texts, and the story of Sankhacuda as presented in Krsna Book. Of course, given that mundane chronological timelines do not apply to transcendental pastimes, there may be only the appearance of contradiction, not an actual difference. But again, because these texts were not purported by our Sampradaya Acaryas, we cannot be sure.
As we are about to see in the following passages, Sudama is not the only Vrindavan cowherd boy to play a major role in the Sankhacuda pastime. Sridama sakha is also involved, as described in Sri Garga-samhita 2.3.23. Krsna fought with Sankhacuda after the demon spirited the gopis away from the rasa dance, thinking he deserved to have their association all for himself. But Krsna quickly came to their defense and thwarted the demon's plans:
The Killing of Sankhacuda During the Rasa-dance Pastime
grihitva tam harir dorbhyam
patayam asa bhu-prishthe
vatah padmam ivoddhritam
Grabbing him with His powerful arms, Krishna whirled the demon around and threw him to the ground as a hurricane uproots and throws a lotus flower.
sankhacudas tam grihitva
pothayam asa bhu-tale
evam yuddhe sampravritte
Then Sankhacuda grabbed Krishna and threw Him to the ground. As they fought in this way the circle of the earth shook.
mushtina tac-chiras chittva
tasmac cuda-manim harih
jagraha madhavah sakshat
sukriti sevadhim yatha
With a great punch Krishna severed the demon's head. Then, as a pious man takes the great treasure he has earned, Krishna took the jewel from the demon's crown.
taj-jyotir nirgatam dirgham
dyotayan mandalam disam
linam jatam vraje nripa
O king, an effulgence left the demon's body and for a long time lit up the circle of the directions until it finally entered Sri Krishna's friend Sridama, who was born in Vraja.
evam hatva sankhacudam
mani-panih punah sighram
Thus killing Sankhacuda, Lord Krishna, the jewel in His hand, returned to the circle of the rasa dance after a long time.
candrananayai ca manim
dattva tam dina-vatsalah
punar gopi-ganaih sardham
rasam cakre harih svayam
After giving that jewel to Candranana-gopi, Lord Krishna continued His rasa dance with the gopis.
Sri Garga Samhita Canto Two, Volume Three, Chapter Twenty-three )
As we see in the last sloka above, when Krsna defeated Sankhacuda and stole his jewel, he did not present it to Lord Balarama, but rather gave it to Radha's friend, Candranana-gopi. This is a different story than we find narrated by Srila Prabhupada in Chapter 34 of his Krsna Book:
"The demon's name was Sankhacuda because on his head there was a valuable jewel resembling a conchshell. Just as the two sons of Kuvera were puffed up over their wealth and opulence and did not care for Narada Muni's presence, this Sankhacuda was also puffed up over material opulence. He thought that Krsna and Balarama were two ordinary cowherd boys enjoying the company of many beautiful girls. Generally, in the material world, a person with riches thinks that all beautiful women should be enjoyed by him. Sankhacuda also thought that since he belonged to the rich community of Kuvera, he, not Krsna and Balarama, should enjoy the company of so many beautiful girls. He therefore decided to take charge of them. He appeared before Krsna and Balarama and the damsels of Vraja and began to lead the girls away to the north. He commanded them as if he were their proprietor and husband, despite the presence of Krsna and Balarama. Being forcibly taken away by Sankhacuda, the damsels of Vraja called the names of Krsna and Balarama for protection. The two brothers immediately began to follow them, taking up big logs in Their hands. "Don't be afraid, don't be afraid," They called to the gopis. "We are coming at once to chastise this demon." Very quickly They reached Sankhacuda. Thinking the brothers too powerful, Sankhacuda left the company of the gopis and ran for fear of his life. But Krsna would not let him go. He entrusted the gopis to the care of Balarama and followed Sankhacuda wherever he fled. Krsna wanted to take the valuable jewel resembling a conchshell from the head of the demon. After following him a very short distance, Krsna caught him, struck his head with His fist and killed him. He then took the valuable jewel and returned. In the presence of all the damsels of Vraja, He presented the valuable jewel to His elder brother Balarama."
(Krsna Book, Chapter 34)
The timeline and details of these stories remain something of a mystery. Sudama sakha, after his Vraja-lila with Krsna and the cowherds, may next have incarnated as Sankhacuda. Then, upon the demon's death, his effulgence entered the body of Sridama, who was born in Vraja. Sudama and Sridama were gopas together with Krsna in Vraja… but of course, Sri Krsna's transcendental pastimes go on eternally, and are inconceivable. Nonetheless, we present this last passage on the matter, again from Garga-samhita 2.3.26, which explains a little more of the background behind this pastime:
The Story of Sankhacuda
atha radham virahinim
jnatva krishno harih svayam
sridamna saha vaideha
O king of Videha, aware that Radha was suffering in His separation, Lord Krishna went with Sridama to Her forest.
vikshya manavati bhutva
radha praha harim vacah
Seeing that Krishna, who is more to hear than Her own life, had come with His friend to to door of Her forest grove, Radha became filled with jealous anger. She spoke the following words to Lord Krishna.
tatraiva gaccha yatrabhut
snehas te nutano hare
nadi-bhuta hi viraja
nado bhavitum arhasi
kuru vasam tan-nikunje
maya te kim prayojanam
Sri Radha said: O Krishna, go where Your love is. Viraja has become a river. You become a river also. Why would You want to stay with Me in this forest?
iti srutvatha bhagavams
tan-nikunjam jagama ha
radham praha rusha vacah
Sri Narada said: Hearing these words, Lord Krishna went to Viraja's forest. Then Krishna's friend Sridama angrily spoke to Radha.
chri-krishno bhagavan svayam
Sri Sridama said: Sri Krishna is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is the master of countless universes. He is the master of Goloka.
tvadrisih kotisah saktih
kartum saktah parat parah
na vinindasi radhe tvam
manam ma kuru ma kuru
He has many millions of transcendental potencies. He can do whatever He likes. He is greater than the greatest. O Radha, please don't, don't criticize Him.
he mudha pitaram stutva
mataram mam vinindasi
rakshaso bhava durbuddhe
golokac ca bahir bhava
Sri Radha said: O fool, you praise your father and criticize Me, your mother. Fool, leave Goloka and become a demon!
Texts 35 and 36
jatam manam subhe tava
tasmad bhuvi parat krishnat
sata-varsham te viyogo
bhavishyati na samsayah
Sri Sridama said: O beautiful one, even though Lord Krishna was kind to You, still You were angry and jealous. Therefore You will go to the earth and for a hundred years be separated from Sri Krishna, the original Supreme Personality of Godhead. Of this there is no doubt.
evam parasparam sapat
ativa cintam gatayor
avirasit svayam prabhuh
Sri Narada said: When they had thus cursed each other they became anxious and frightened. At that moment the Lord appeared there.
vacanam vai sva-nigamam
duri-kartum kshamo 'smy aham
bhaktanam vacanam radhe
duri-kartum na ca kshamah
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O Radha, I have the power to negate My own words and throw them far away, but I do not have the power to negate and throw away the words of My devotees.
ma socam kuru kalyani
varam me srinu radhike
masam masam viyogante
darsanam me bhavishyati
O beautiful one, don't lament. O Radha, please hear the blessing I give to You: After many months, when the period of Our separation is over, You will see Me again.
bhaktanam darsanam datum
gamishyami tvaya saha
At the time of the Varaha-kalpa, I will go with You to the earth to relieve the earth's burden and allow the devotees to see Me.
sridaman chrinu me vakyam
amsena tv asuro bhava
helanam me karishyasi
O Sridama, hear My words. By a partial expansion of yourself you will become a demon. During the Vaivasvata-manvantara you will fight with Me.
mad-dhastena ca te mrityur
bhavishyati na samsayah
punah sva-vigraham purvam
prapsyasi tvam varan mama
You will then die by My hand. Of this there is no doubt. By My blessings You will again attain the form you had before.
evam sapena sridama
sudhanasya grihe janma
lebhe rajan maha-tapah
Sri Narada said: O austere king, because of this curse Sridama took birth among the yakshas in the home of Sudhana.
sankhacuda iti khyato
tasmac chridamni taj-jyotir
linam jatam videha-rat
He was named Sankhacuda and he became a follower of Kuvera. O king of Videha that is why the spark of light from Sankhacuda entered the body of Sridama.
svatmaramo lilaya sarva-karyam
svasmin dhamni hy advitiyah karoti
yah sarvesah sarva-rupo mahatma
citram nedam naumi krishnaya tasmai
I glorify Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead who is one without a second, for whom nothing is surprising, who has the power to assume any form, who is self-satisfied, who enjoys transcendental pastimes, and who stays in His own abode.
(Garga-samhita - Canto Two, Volume Three, Chapter Twenty-six)
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