Yashoda and Krishna – who doesn’t understand the bond between them? They stand as an example of the mother-child relationship and its innate divinity. Its interesting that we seldom mention Krishna’s birth mother Devaki as His mother. Motherhood is indeed far more than bearing a child in one’s womb.
What kind of mother was Yashoda? She loved her little Krishna, that goes without saying. She was strict at times, tying Him down when he was especially naughty. She turned a blind eye at other times, ignoring the butter He stole with his friends. She was supportive when needed, defending Him against the complaints of the other ladies of the community. And she let Him leave her and go far away when it was time to undertake what He needed to do. In effect, she was a mother like most mothers.
Did she know He was the Lord? How could she have missed it? He performed miracles like slaying demons when He was just a babe, showing the world in His mouth when she demanded to see if He was eating butter, by multiplying Himself to dance with all the Gopis. So she knew and yet she didn’t know, for when He behaved as a child, she treated Him as a child. That then is Maya, the illusion which we all suffer on earth. The same Maya which makes us ignore the divinity of each soul around us and the presence of God everywhere.
Yashoda is often cited as the epitome of Vatsalya Bhakti Bhava. Hindusim defines five forms of Bhakti or devotion to God. These are called Bhakti Bhavas. They are
शांत Shanta – Peaceful or placid devotion
दास्य Dasya – Servile devotion
साख्य Sakhya – Friendly devotion
वात्सल्य Vatsalya – Parental devotion
माधुर्य/कान्त/शृङ्गार Madhurya/Kanta/Shringara – Romantic devotion
How reassuring to think that one can love God in the same manner as one loves one’s child! Today I present a song which celebrates this maternal love. It is also a commentary on Maya because even Yashoda was blinded by it.
Purandaradasa (1484-1564) writes ‘Yashoda played with the Lord of the Universe, thinking Him to be her son’. The song is written in Kannada and is set to Raga Kapi. If you would like to know more about this raga, click here. The song was made famous by the great vocalist M.S.Subbulakshmi. Today I present an instrumental version by the Saxophone Maestro, Kadri Gopalnath in a jugalbandi with Pravin Godkhindi on the Bansuri (flute).
Now listen to this rather modern vocal rendition by Bombay S.Jayashri whose voice is a great gift from God to us listeners.
Post Script: It has been a long time since I posted this but today I came upon this soulful live rendition by T.M.Krishna and felt that it too should be included in my post. There are songs which I like in a female voice and others in a male voice but for this song, I cannot quite make up my mind!
Footnote (Lyrics) :
jagadOddAraNa ADisidaLe yashOde
jagadOddhAraNa maganendu tiLiyuta
suguNAnta ranganA AdisidaLe yashOde
nigamakE silukada agaNita mahimana
magugaLe mANikyana ADisidaLe yashOde
aNOraNIyana mahatO mahImana
apramEyana na ADisidaLe yashOde
parama puruSana paravAsudEvana
purandara viThalana ADisidaLe yashOde
Yashoda played with the Savior of the world.
Thinking that the Savior of the world was her son, Yashoda played with embodiment of all great qualities.
The one whose greatness is infinite and beyond measure, Yashoda played with the gem amongst children.
The one who is smaller than the atom and bigger than infinity, Yashoda played with him.
The one who is the supreme being, son of Vasudeva, the Vitthala of Purandara (note: the composer’s signature), Yashoda played with him.
Click here for notation.