Poetry Uncategorized

The Most Intelligent Petitioner

Anxiety attacks and breakdowns are a normal part of human life. No matter how sagacious, equipoised, tranquil, unimpassioned, silent and serene we appear on the outside, we all know that the world and its ruthless ways will one day drive us crazy and unsettle our minds to let all hell break loose.

The Śrīmad-bhāgavatam (10.1.17 – 18) tells us that Mother Earth too once experienced a great anxiety attack when she was overburdened with demoniac kings who were hell bent on exploiting her resources. Taking the form of a helpless cow, she approached Lord Brahmā for protection.

The poet Harisūri is never tired of asking the most important question — Why?

Why did Mother Earth approach Brahmā? She is in fact one of the consorts of Lord Viṣṇu along with Lakṣmī devī. Why did she not directly approach her husband? What benefit would she gain by approaching Lord Brahmā?

Harisūri composes a beautiful verse to intelligently answer his own question. His verse is as follows:

प्रेयानप्यनिशंवशोऽपिनितरांशान्तोऽपिकान्तःसुतं
द्वारीकृत्यतदन्तरङ्गमिहसंप्रार्थ्योनजातुस्वतः।
सत्स्त्रीलक्षणमेतदित्यविकलंप्रख्यापयित्रीतदा
धात्रीसात्मभुवंययौप्रथमतस्तत्साधुमन्यामहे॥

(Sing like ṣaḍ-gosvāmy aṣṭakam):
preyān apy aniśaṁ vaśo ‘pi nitarāṁ śānto ‘pi kāntaḥ sutaṁ
dvārīkṛtya tad-antaraṅgam iha saṁprārthyo na jātu svataḥ
sat-strī-lakṣaṇam etad ity avikalaṁ prakhyāpayitrī tadā
dhātrī sātma-bhuvaṁ yayau prathamatas tat sādhu manyāmahe

Translation: [Mother Earth thought], “Although Lord Viṣṇu is my beloved husband; although he is extremely calm in nature and submissive to all my desires, yet [Brahmā is born from his navel and thus he is like a son to him as well as to me. Therefore, it would be wise to] keep our affectionate son in front of me to speak on my behalf instead of praying directly to the Lord.”

I [Harisūri] think that Mother Earth showed the characteristics of an extremely intelligent woman when she first approached Brahmā in this manner.

— Bhakti-rasāyanam of Harisūri on Śrīmad-bhāgavatam (10.1.17). Translation by Hari Pārṣada Dāsa.

PS: In other words, there is always a small chance that even a well-natured husband may deny a request made directly by the wife to him. However, when the child comes to his father and narrates the pain of his mother, the father feels an additional pressure of living up to the expectations of the son as well as the wife and the chances of refusing the request is almost nullified. What then to speak of a child who will narrate the distress of his mother through his four mouths?  It was thus a wise strategy for Mother Earth to narrate her distress through the via-medium of Lord Brahmā.

 

All the best,

Rukmini Walker