Sri Krsna's Vrindavan Associates – Sudama,
BY: SUN STAFF
Demigods Offering Flowers and Prayers to Krsna
May 27, 2016 CANADA (SUN) A serial presentation of Sri Krsna's transcendental Vrindavan associates.
Having established the transcendental identity of Sri Krsna's priya-sakha friend, Sudama, in terms of his classification amongst the sakha associates, today we offer a few descriptions of his personal identity, appearance and pastimes in Vraja and Caitanya-lila.
Sudama is described as having a handsome complexion that is somewhat fair. He is decorated with jeweled ornaments and wears blue garments. His father's name is Matuka and His mother is Rocana-devi. He is very young and fond of playing many kinds of games. Sudama has a younger brother, Vidagda, and a sister named Susila-devi. (Sri Sri Radha-Krsna-Ganoddesa-Dipika by Srila Rupa Goswami, Part Two, Text 40-41, 62)
The Sanskrit name Sudama means 'giving well', and of course, Sudama exemplified perfection in giving service to his friend Krsna in the mood of fraternal love. Lord Balarama is also known by the name, sudaam-saukhya-dayaka, meaning 'who delighted Sudama'. (Sri Balabhadra-sahasra-nama from Garga-samhita).
The identity of Sudama sakha during Lord Caitanya's lila is disclosed in Sri Gaura Ganodesa Dipika by Kavi Karnapura, and this verse (127) is also cited in Caitanya-caritamrta Adi lila 11.23. In his purport, Srila Prabhupada gives many details about Sudama's appearance as Sundarananda:
Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Adi 11.23
"Sundarananda, another branch of Sri Nityananda Prabhu, was Lord Nityananda's most intimate servant. Lord Nityananda Prabhu perceived the life of Vrajabhumi in his company.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura writes in his Anubhasya, "In the Caitanya-bhagavata, Antya-khanda, Chapter Five, it is stated that Sundarananda was an ocean of love of Godhead and the chief associate of Sri Nityananda Prabhu. In the Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika (127) he is stated to have been Sudama in krsna-lila. Thus he was one of the twelve cowherd boys who came down with Balarama when He descended as Sri Nityananda Prabhu. The holy place where Sundarananda lived is situated in the village known as Mahesapura, which is about fourteen miles east of the Majadiya railway station of the eastern railway from Calcutta to Burdwan. This place is within the district of Jessore, [which is now in Bangladesh]. Among the relics of this village, only the old residential house of Sundarananda still exists. At the end of the village resides a baula [pseudo Vaisnava], and all the buildings, both the temples and the house, appear to be newly constructed. In Mahesapura there are Deities of Sri Radhavallabha and Sri Sri Radharamana. Near the temple is a small river of the name Vetravati.
"Sundarananda Prabhu was a naisthika-brahmacari: he never married in his life. Therefore he had no direct descendants except his disciples, but the descendants of his family still reside in the village known as Mangaladihi in the district of Birbhum. In that same village is a temple of Balarama, and the Deity there is regularly worshiped. The original Deity of Mahesapura, Radhavallabha, was taken by the Saidabad Gosvamis of Berhampur, and since the present Deities were installed, a zamindar family of Mahesapura has looked after Their worship. On the full-moon day of the month of Magha (January-February), the anniversary of Sundarananda's disappearance is regularly celebrated, and people from the neighboring areas gather together to observe this festival."
We find numerous references in Vaisnava literature to the pastimes of Sudama. In Srila Jiva Goswsami's Sri Sankalpa-kalpadruma, one of Sri Krsna's famous pastimes with Sudama is mentioned:
"...who on the pretext of playing with Sridama, Sudama, Bhadrasena, Arjuna and the others, arranged for the killing of Pralambasura..." (65)
In the Sri Krsna-vijaya by Sri Gunaraja Khan, Krsna is described in this way:
"Above Him is a beautiful full moon. He is accompanied by sixteen beautiful gopis, among whom Radha is the first. On His left is Radha. On His right is Candravali. On every side are group after group of beautiful gopis. Behind Radha's beloved Krishna is a great cintamani jewel palace with four gates. The four gates had four gopa gatekeepers, each one charming and handsome like Lord Krishna Himself. At the western gate the gatekeeper is Sridama. At the eastern gate the gatekeeper is Sudama. At the northern gate the gatekeeper is Dama. At the southern gate the gatekeeper is Kinkinika. Within the gates is Vrindavana, where Krishna enjoys many blissful pastimes. Millions and millions of gopa boys assist Subala and the other gatekeepers in protecting the cintamani jewel palace."
(Sri Krsna-vijaya, Sri-raga (Lord Krishna and His Associates in the Spiritual World of Vrindavana), Text 5-12.)
There is a beautiful passage found in Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur's Sri Sri Raga Vartma Candrika, in which the qualities of Sudama's pure fraternal love for Krsna is described. Sudama's affections are unwavering, even when he observes Krsna's prowess, which would inspire a mood of awe and reverence were it not for the agency of madhurya jnana:
"Now follows the description of the devotees who are fixed in their conception of Krishna as the Supreme Lord (aishvarya jnana nistha bhaktah). Vasudeva tells Krishna and Balarama in Srimad Bhagavatam: "You are not our sons, but You are directly the Supreme Personality of Godhead." And when Arjuna sees Krishna's Universal Form in Bhagavad Gita chapter 11, he says: "O Krishna! Please forgive me for whatever I may have said to You in the past due to love and bewilderment!"
From these examples we can see that their respective feelings of parental and fraternal love towards Krishna were slackened after seeing His divine prowess. This is called aishvarya jnana. And madhurya jnana is that mood which does not cause a heart attack or even the slightest feelings of awe after seeing some display of his prowess, because feelings of intimacy are already firmly established in the heart. For example, the gopis described Krishna as follows in Srimad Bhagavatam 10th canto chapter 35, when He returned to the village after herding His cows in the forest: " Krishna is being praised by demigods who surround Him and worship Him with songs and flowers" and "on the way Brahma and other demigods praise His feet."
Despite the fact that Sridama and Sudama and the other cowherd boys saw the demigods offering prayers and flowers to Krishna, there was not the slightest slackening of their pure fraternal love for Him visible in them, and the beautiful girls of Vraja remained fixed in their sweet romantic feelings for him despite hearing about His prowess. In the same way the pure parental love of Mother Yashoda was not diminished even slightly despite Nanda Maharaja's consoling words to Vrajvasis. Her love for Krishna rather increased and thoughts like: "I am blessed that my son is the Supreme Lord Himself" appeared in her heart. Even a mundane mother whose son becomes the ruler of the world still shows her motherly love for him.
The intimate moods of the cowherd boys, who may think: "We are blessed that out friend is the Supreme Lord," and the gopis, who may think: "we are also blessed that our beloved is the Supreme Lord," are rather strengthened when they hear about Krishna's divine prowess."
(Sri Sri Raga Vartma Candrika, Dvitiya Prakasha (Second Diffusion), Verse 5)
When this series resumes, we will continue to explore the pastimes of Krsna in Vrindavan with his confidential priya-sakha friend, Sudama.
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