Sri Krsna's Vrindavan Associates – Sridama,
Part Three


Krsna and the Cowherds
Bhagavata Purana, Uttar Pradesh, c. 1550

Jun 20, 2016 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of Sri Krsna's transcendental Vrindavan associates.

Today we continue our study of Sridama sakha, Sri Krsna's topmost confidential friend amongst the twelve most important gopas. Having discussed Sridama's classification as a sakha associate, and some of his personal qualities and characteristics, we now offer some of the many references to Sridama made in the context of describing the identity of Krsna Himself.

    "Just like we give identification by giving the name of father, mother, similarly, Krsna's identification is that He is son of Vasudeva or son of Nanda Maharaja, friend of Sridama, Sudama, lover of Radharani. In so many ways He has got hundreds of thousands of names."

    (Lecture on SB 1.1.1, London, August 7, 1971)

Given the fact that there is relatively little information available in Vaisnava sastra about many of the Lord's transcendental Vrindavan-lila friends, it is all the more enjoyable to learn about these personalities by seeing the ways in which Krsna Himself is described in relationship to them. It is, after all, their relationship with Krsna that truly defines them.

In the Garga Samhita there is a description of Sri Goloka-dhama, where Krsna is found in the close company of His transcendental companions:

    "Bowing down to offer respects, the demigods entered the Lord's personal forest grove, which was a thousand-petal lotus that was a great circle of light. (49)

    Above that was a sixteen-petal lotus, above that an eight-petal lotus, and above that a long path decorated with three stairways. (50)

    There all the demigods saw, sitting on a splendid throne studded with beautiful kaustubha jewels, and accompanied by Sri Radha, Sri Krishna, . . . (51)

    . . . who was accompanied by eight splendid gopi friends headed by Mohini and served by eight gopas headed by Sridama, . . . (52)

    . . . who was served with diamond-handled camaras glorious as swans and millions of parasols like millions of moons, . . . (53)

    Very happy, as if plunged in an ocean of bliss, by seeing Him, and their eyes now filled with tears, with folded hands and bowed heads the demigods offered their respectful obeisances to Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead." (57)

    (Sri Garga Samhita, Chapter Two)

Sri Krsna is often described in the company of His dearmost friends in Vraja:

    "Glory, glory to the Lord whose form is dark like a new raincloud and who is the ecstatic friend of Sridama, Sudama, Subala, and Arjuna! Glory to the Lord who was the dear and glorious companion of Balarama and a host of gopa boys! Glory, glory to the Lord who now manifests a fair form charming and peerless!"

    (Padavali, Song 3, Gauri-raga, by Sri Govinda dasa Thakur)

In one of his early unpublished poems, Srila Prabhupada also mentions the prominent personality, Sridama:

    Glory to Radha and Krsna in Vrndavana
    Equally to Govinda Gopinatha and Madana mohana.
    Syamakunda Radhakunda hilly Govardhana
    Kalindi Jamuna river and forest Mahavana.

    Kesighata Bansibata and dozens of garden
    The places of pastimes by Nanda's son
    Glory to Nanda Yasoda and cowherdsmen
    Sridama and friends who follow amen.

    Glory to Vrisabhanu his wife beautiful
    Glory to the full moon and the town of bull.
    Glory to Gopisvara at Vrndavana fixed
    Glory to the Brahmin who Krsna mixed.

    Glory to Ramaghata and Rohini's son
    Glory to all who reside Vrndavana.
    Glory to the Brahmin's wife and mermaid
    Who in devotional service respects paid.

    Glory to the arena where dance performed
    Radha and Syama who bumper stormed.
    Glory to the zest of excellent mellow.
    Paramorous feeling in-trance of kilo.

    It's Krsnadasa poet who chants
    Lotus feet of Jahnava he remembers.

    Glory To Radha and Krsna in Vrndavana (Jaya Radhe Jaya Krsna Jaya Vrndavana), written in English by HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada)

There are various pastimes Sridama took part in with Krsna that will be described in the segments to come. In some of these pastimes, Sridama's particular qualities and personality are disclosed to the reader. One kind of service Sridama is known for offering to Krsna is that of rubbing his friend's back. This is described by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur in his Sri Sri Gita-mala:

    "Krsna is most grave, gentle, forgiving, peaceful and forbearing, self-composed, carefree and joking, the best lover, proud and restless, and the hero of all women. He is always surrounded by five kinds of eternal servants: 1) ceta (spies), 2) vita (dressing attendants), 3) vidusaka (clowns headed by Madhu-mangala), 4) pitha-marda (back-massagers like Sridama), 5) priya-narma-sakha (close friends)." Sri Sri Gita-mala - Song 13, 'The Qualities of Sri Krsna, the Crown Jewel of All Heros' by HDG Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur)

Until next time, when we begin to consider the many pastimes Sridama sakha has with Krsna and the gopas in Vraja:

    "May Srila Gopaladeva, who showers transcendental bliss, who shares lunch with His friends, who gives them Govardhana Hill, the crest-jewel of mountains, and who shines with friendship for Sridama, appear in my heart."

    Sri Gopaladevashtaka by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti.


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