i While the Lord is praised through His many names, the name of Govinda has special merit, said Padur Rangarajachariar. Since Lord Narayana supported the Manthara mountain on His back in Koorma avatara, He is Govinda. ‘Go’ also means Earth. Since as Varaha, He rescued Bhooma Devi from the clutches of the asura, He is Govinda. Since He measured the Earth in three steps, He is Govinda. ‘Go’ also means cow. Since as Krishna, He was a cowherd, Krishna may also be referred to as Govinda. He is Govinda because He gives us the power of speech. It was Lord Narayana who suggested to Indra that he fashion the Vajrayudham from Dadichi’s backbone. The Vajrayudham is also called ‘Go’. Hence the Lord, upon whose suggestion Indra made the ayudham, is called Govinda.

Govinda is the name we must utter before we eat anything. The story of Kshatrabandhu shows the significance of the Govinda nama. Kshatrabandhu was a cruel man, who robbed those who passed through the forests. But when he learnt the name Govinda from a sage, he was saved. Tondaradippodi Azhvar celebrates this incident in his Tirumaalai.

When Draupadi is disrobed by Dushasana, she cries, “Govinda, Pundareekaksha, raksha maam saranaagatam.” Thus she is saved by uttering the name Govinda. Pillai Lokacharya observes that it was the Lord’s name that saved her. Adi Sankara in his Bhaja Govindam, shows us the importance of worshipping Govinda.

Nammazhvar says that we must always serve the Lord who resides in Tirumala, and we must do so without a break, and without expecting anything in return. Andal in Her Tiruppavai describes Him as “kurai ondrum illaada Govinda” — Govinda the blemishless One. She refers to Govinda in three verses of the Tiruppavai. Again in the Nachiar Tirumozhi, Andal dreams of union with Govinda.

The name Govinda brings to our mind Lord Srinivasa of Tirumala. Tirumala is mentioned in ancient Tamil works like Silappadikaram, and also in Puranas like the Bhavishyothara Purana and Varaha Purana, attesting to the antiquity of the place.

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