Sri Krsna's Vrindavan Associates – Sridama,
Part Eight


Krsna and the Gopas
Jammu/Kashmir, c. 1700
[ Click for large version ]

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:

    Text 13

    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.

    Text 14

    evam sri-rama-krishnabhyam
    malleshu nihateshu ca
    seshah pradudruvur malla
    bhayarta jivanecchaya

    After many wrestlers were thus killed by Krishna and Balarama, the others, terrified and intent on staying alive, fled.

    Text 15

    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 on.

    Text 16

    rama-krishnau saharbhakaih
    viharantau vikshya range
    visismuh pura-vasinah

    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.

    Text 17

    kamsam vina sarva-mukhaj
    jaya-sabdo vinirgatah
    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 drums sounded.

    Text 18

    svasyajayam vikshya kamso
    varjayitva turya-ghosham
    praha prasphuritadharah

    Seeing his own men defeated, Kamsa will filled with anger. Stopping the turya drums, he spoke, his lips trembling.

    Text 19

    kamsa uvaca

    durbuddhi-yuktau vasudeva-nandanau
    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.

    Text 20

    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.

    Text 21

    sri-narada uvaca

    evam vikathamanasya
    kamsasya yadu-nandanah
    sahasotpatya tam mancam
    aruhat krodha-puritah

    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:

    Rasa-kridayam sankhacuda-vadhah
    The Killing of Sankhacuda During the Rasa-dance Pastime

    Text 42

    grihitva tam harir dorbhyam
    bhramayitva bhujaujasa
    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.

    Text 43

    sankhacudas tam grihitva
    pothayam asa bhu-tale
    evam yuddhe sampravritte
    cakampe bhumi-mandalam

    Then Sankhacuda grabbed Krishna and threw Him to the ground. As they fought in this way the circle of the earth shook.

    Text 44

    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.

    Text 45

    taj-jyotir nirgatam dirgham
    dyotayan mandalam disam
    sridamni sri-krishna-sakhe
    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.

    Text 46

    evam hatva sankhacudam
    bhagavan madhusudanah
    mani-panih punah sighram
    ayayau rasa-mandalam

    Thus killing Sankhacuda, Lord Krishna, the jewel in His hand, returned to the circle of the rasa dance after a long time.

    Text 47

    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

    Text 28

    atha radham virahinim
    jnatva krishno harih svayam
    sridamna saha vaideha
    tan-nikunjam samayayau

    O king of Videha, aware that Radha was suffering in His separation, Lord Krishna went with Sridama to Her forest.

    Text 29

    nikunja-dvari sampraptam
    sa-sakham prana-vallabham
    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.

    Text 30


    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?

    Text 31

    sri-narada uvaca

    iti srutvatha bhagavams
    tan-nikunjam jagama ha
    sri-krishna-mitrah sridama
    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.

    Text 32


    paripurnatamah sakshac
    chri-krishno bhagavan svayam
    golokeso virajate

    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.

    Text 33

    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.

    Text 34


    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


    anukulena krishnena
    jatam manam subhe tava
    tasmad bhuvi parat krishnat
    paripurnatamat prabhoh

    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.

    Text 37

    sri-narada uvaca

    evam parasparam sapat
    sva-kritad bhaya-bhitayoh
    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.

    Text 38

    sri-bhagavan uvaca

    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.

    Text 39

    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.

    Text 40

    bhuvo bharavataraya
    kalpe varaha-samjnake
    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.

    Text 41

    sridaman chrinu me vakyam
    amsena tv asuro bhava
    vaivasvatantare rase
    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.

    Text 42

    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.

    Text 43

    sri-narada uvaca

    evam sapena sridama
    pura punyajanalaye
    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.

    Text 44

    sankhacuda iti khyato
    dhanadanucaro 'bhavat
    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.

    Text 45

    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)


The Sun News Editorials Features Sun Blogs Classifieds Events Recipes PodCasts

About Submit an Article Contact Us Advertise

Copyright 2005, 2011, All rights reserved.